Council on Aging starts citizens' petition to fund director position
The Council on Aging board plans to bring a citizens’ petition before voters at the spring Town Meeting to fund the council's full-time executive director. In the past, funds for the position have been difficult to obtain.
The petition requests $80,000 to pay a full-time director. The Council on Aging board is made up of volunteers appointed by selectmen.
Missy Dziczek has served as Wareham's Council on Aging Director since 2016 after the state budget for 2017 included a $55,000 grant for a full-time director. She is currently paid through grant funds to work five hours a week.
Before that, the position was vacant since 2014. Budget cuts were made to the Council on Aging in 2014 and since then, the council runs on grants on a year-to-year basis.
Dziczek said she doesn't plan to stay on as the Council on Aging Director full-time, but would stay in the position until a full-time director can be found.
"I am a firm believer that this is something the town needs," Dziczek said. The director's job is to take care of issues that arise for aging people, including health care options, transportation, offering educational programs and exercise classes or anything else the senior population requires.
The citizen's petition requires a certain number signatures and the first person to sign the petition acts as the advocate who will talk to voters at Town Meeting about it. A citizen's petition does not need approval from any town officials, but goes on the Town Meeting agenda if it gets the signatures required.
The Council on Aging board submitted the petition on Feb. 8.