Rochester appoints policeman, makes quarantine life easier

Apr 6, 2020

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Board of Selectmen appointed a new police officer on April 6, approved a place to sanitize cloth coronavirus masks using UV light and a number of other measures that would make life easier for residents during social distancing. 

Selectman Paul Ciaburri said that the town has an ultraviolet decontamination cabinet that sanitizes cloth masks for town employees. 

Right now, Ciaburri said the town has a good supply of masks and health safety equipment. It has some masks ordered that will hopefully arrive in a week or so. The town also has hand sanitizer, but is still working on wipes. 

The Police Department plans to fill two positions, and unanimously appointed Rochester native Austin Alves to one of those positions.

The Old Rochester Regional graduate has a bachelor’s in crime and justice studies from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and is working with a nearby department. 

“He did an excellent job in our testing,” Police Chief Robert Small said. 

Asked for an update on his department, Chief Small said “Everything else is going well, knock on wood. Our strategy for dealing with the public has really not changed very much, other than limiting physical distance where possible.”

Selectmen also voted to delay the due date for real estate taxes to June 1. 

Selectmen reappointed Interim Town Clerk Paul Dawson through the day after Rochester’s election, which was postponed from April 8 to an unknown date that will be publicized 20 days in advance. 

Dawson said that he will make early voting ballots available and encourage residents to use them. There is already some information on the town website on the process. 

“There will be an election, but I expect people will be a little bit leery about being in large crowds,” Dawson said. Any early ballots will be tallied after the election is held. 

Selectmen appointed Town Counsel Blair Bailey as a backup Town Administrator, just in case Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar contracts coronavirus and cannot work. 

As of now the town only has one case, Szyndlar said. 

“Feeling good?,” one of the Selectmen asked Bailey, jokingly. 

“Yes, I’m feeling fine,” he replied with a laugh. 

Town censuses will not be mailed until after non-essential businesses are allowed to open, as the company that sends them out was labeled non-critical.