The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 28, 2000


Willard named ConsCom administrator

Carlisle has a new conservation administrator who probably knows the town's roads, woods and waterways as well as any Carlislean. Twenty-seven-year resident Sylvia Willard, who resigned from the conservation commission March 24 to become eligible for the appointment, was selected from a field of 19 candidates, six of whom were interviewed by the commission over the past three weeks.

Willard completed her master's in environmental studies from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell this past year, more than 30 years after receiving a bachelor's in mathematics with a biology minor from the University of Rochester. With support from her husband Bert, she pursued the recent graduate degree in a three-year stint while caring for a family and helping keep the Carlisle Mosquito aloft as advertising manager until her resignation earlier this year. Willard has been an active member and researcher on the Carlisle Conservation Restriction Committee since early in 1998 and has served in numerous local and regional conservation efforts since the early '70s.

Competition for the administrator post was stiff, but on Monday night had boiled down to two strong candidates, Linda Fasciani, a seven-year part-time conservation agent from Townsend, who offered considerable field experience, observable professionalism and strong recommendations, and Willard, who presented an impressive academic and research background, a lifetime record of dedication to environmental issues and intimate knowledge of the town and its government.

The commission's decision proved difficult, consuming almost two hours of intensive deliberation that caused at least one member to resort to a mathematically weighted list of factors that, to his chagrin, produced a dead tie. In the end, Willard's immediate availability, infectious enthusiasm and presentation of concrete objectives for the position brought a unanimous vote in her favor.

In the material that accompanied her resume, Willard offered suggestions for the orientation of new commission members and a proposal for a step-by-step approach to a long-postponed revision of Carlisle's admittedly inadequate wetland protection bylaw. A question from commissioner John Lee as to how she would feel, if forced to confront a neighbor about a wetland violation, brought a characteristic reply. Agreeing that the issue of enforcement is "tough for anyone," she observed that timely monitoring of projects and an effective program of public education should reduce inadvertent transgressions and discourage deliberate flouting of the law.

Commenting on her appointment, Willard said, "I'm excited and a bit awed by this opportunity and responsibility. Although it was challenging being back in school, I can't think of a better way to make use of all that hard work and I certainly can't beat the commute."

For those Carlisleans who do not know the new administrator and would like to meet her in her favorite surroundings, be on the Concord River almost any clear morning around 6 a.m. with a boat and oars. She'll be there to greet you.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito