Retirement Board takes Falmouth, RMV to court
By: Brent Runyon
Falmouth Retirement Board filed for a court injunction against the Town of Falmouth and the Registry of Motor Vehicles on Monday to keep the RMV out of the Edward Marks Jr. Office Building on East Main Street in Falmouth.
“What the public needs to understand is that we are paying rent on this space,” said retirement board Chairman Paul D. Brodeur yesterday from the meeting room of the Marks building, the same space where the proposed RMV Express office would be located.
The retirement board is independent of the town, pays more than $14,000 in rent to the town each year, and has paid rent through December 31 of this year, he said.
The injunction hearing will be at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on August 31.
Falmouth Retirement Board has a 10-year-lease on the entire first floor of the Marks building, which does not expire until 2014, he said. The lease can also be renewed by the retirement board for 20 years after that, he said.
“We are not against the RMV,” said Mr. Brodeur, who is also chief of Falmouth Fire Rescue. “This is a legal issue. We pay rent on this space, and the registry wants to use the space rent free.”
However, the retirement board is open to negotiating with the town, he said. “Everybody is open for discussion,” he said.
Falmouth Retirement System has two full-time employees and is currently the sole occupant of the Marks building. It has offices in less than half of the first floor, which is more than 2,400 square feet, according to town property records.
Falmouth Retirement Board holds its monthly meetings in the other half of the first floor, where the RMV office would be located. The meeting yesterday was attended by 11 people, including financial advisors, staff, board members, and an attorney.
The retirement board manages over $70 million in assets, and also deals with individual employee issues such as injuries, disability, and retirement of the employees of the Town of Falmouth.
The retirement board includes Town Manager Robert L. Whritenour Jr., Mr. Brodeur, Town Accountant Mary Ellen Alwardt, Firefighter Russell R. Ferreira, and Cambridge Retirement System member Ellen K. Philbin.
Mr. Whritenour does not vote on issues related to the RMV, but did address the board on the topic at their July 15 meeting.
He told the board that the RMV office in Falmouth is a regional issue that is an enormously high priority for the entire legislative delegation.
Falmouth Board of Selectmen has also publicly voiced its support for the RMV, he said, and the Marks building is the only location the RMV is interested in.
Mr. Whritenour said that there was so much political momentum that not much could be done to stop the RMV from moving in.
After much discussion, the remaining board members voted unanimously to seek a court injunction to stop the RMV from moving in.
Town Counsel Frank K. Duffy Jr. will represent Falmouth in the case, but would not comment on the specifics of the case yesterday, because he had not reviewed that information.
The preliminary hearing will be held at Suffolk Superior Court because the RMV is named in the suit, he said, and any lawsuit involving a state agency must be located in Boston.
Registrar Rachel Kaprielian chose the Marks building as an ideal spot for an express branch, because it had plenty of parking and is in a central location to town, after the full-service branch on Davis Straits closed last August.
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