The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 25, 2002


Attorney Roy Watson appointed to ConsCom

The Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom) has gained a welcome, and by the record versatile, colleague in Attorney Roy J. Watson, who took his seat at the Clark Room table on January 10. Recommended by the commission following introductory visits to their bi-weekly meetings, he was appointed by the board of selectmen to fill the post left vacant by the untimely death of former commissioner Eric Jensen.

Roy Watson
(photo Lois D'Annunzio)
A four-year resident of Carlisle, Watson is already well-known to fellow firefighters, with whom he has served as both auxiliary fireman and emergency medical technician (EMT) since 1998. His experience as an EMT licensed in wilderness medicine with the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) led him to volunteer. "I am proud to be a member of the Carlisle Fire Department. They're a wonderful group of guys, and I hate to miss a single meeting," was one of the first comments he offered in a recent interview.

Mention of the AMC was also a clue to Watson's motivation for joining ConsCom. Although he grew up in Dorchester, he spent vacations in Arkansas, where he hiked and hunted in the summer while rising to Eagle Boy Scout during winters in Boston. A long-time leader in the AMC, this wilderness seeker has scaled all the Four Thousand Footers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and has all but two to his credit in the Green Mountains of Vermont. However, deep appreciation of the natural world was not the only magnet drawing him to the conservation commission..

Early in our conversation, Watson spoke of his desire to use his education and skills to contribute to the town's on-going deliberations about its future. With a bachelor's degree in economics from Brandeis and a law degree from Boston College, Watson found these disciplines coming together as he later worked toward a masters in public administration at the Kennedy School of Government. "There I learned the value of combining economic principles and computer modeling to alert government policy makers to the true cost of promising proposals and to distinguish the real versus the intended consequences of their decisions," he explains. So energized was the erstwhile student that he developed a course in "Economics for Public Administrators" that became a core curriculum item in Northeastern University's program for public administrators. "I would like to contribute to a longer-range planning approach here and help reduce our tendency to run from one thing to another, trying to handle short-term problems," he declares.

Troubled by what he terms "the Balkanization of conservation lands," Watson is convinced that education of the public is crucial to the work of a conservation commission. Applying that credo to the local board's effort to strengthen the town's Wetland Protection Bylaw, he says, "People don't like surprises, so they need to be made aware, over time, of the rationale behind restrictions." He gives the local board credit for its increasing efforts in this direction.

In his highly specialized law practice, Watson assists corporations that employ highly educated immigrants to comply with changing and extraordinarily complex federal laws and regulations. If necessary, he is eligible to represent them before federal courts in Massachusetts and on up to the Supreme Court of the United States..

Asked the nearly inevitable question of how a practicing attorney, who has long been active in both state and federal bar associations and has edited and contributed to numerous professional publications, can find the time and energy to contribute so actively to town affairs, Watson has a ready answer. Single until his mid-forties, he says he had a lot of time for career, travel and a variety of interests, but once he and his wife Marysela and their two young children settled in Carlisle, he resolved to spend more time with his family and cut back sharply on hours spent in his Boston office.

Characterizing his present hometown as "a gem," he adds, "It's hard to believe there's a place as beautiful and quiet so close to Boston." With some of the time he has freed up, he hopes to teach his four-year-old son Roy Ernan and six-year-old daughter Chely Jewel to share his love of the natural world. A quote from his application for the ConsCom post sums up his outlook: "Carlisle is a very special place, but it will remain special only if we are committed to protecting and preserving it, if not for ourselves, then for our children."

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito