Following the directives set by the town council, the harbormaster search committee quickly narrowed the field of 18 applicants to a field of potentially seven by eliminating five out-of-town applicants and others who do not currently have a captain’s license. But the quick and drastic reduction in the number of applicants prompted the town council to have a change of heart regarding those eligibility requirements.
While residency is a policy that was set by a previous town council, possession of a valid U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license with a 25 ton or greater endorsement is a matter up for consideration by this council. With two applicants expecting to complete their license requirements in March, and others in the process of renewing expired licenses, the council reconsidered its stance toward the licensing requirement.
Town solicitor Andy Teitz offered his perspective on the discussion.
“If there’s a reasonable likelihood that you can meet the qualifications once you need to be out on the water,” Mr. Teitz said, you should be up for consideration. “You can run for president of the United States when you’re 34 years old, as long as you’re 35 when you take the oath of office.”
Search committee chairman, David Barboza, agreed with the town council’s decision to loosen its strict requirement on captain’s license possession.
“I don’t think anyone expected that the pool would get as low as it did as quickly as it did,” Mr. Barboza said.
Without knowing how many of the remaining applicants will meet the eligibility requirement, Ms. Parella kept the council’s options open.
“If it drops down to five, to expand the applicant pool, candidates outside Bristol who are willing to relocate to Bristol should be considered,” she said.
The harbormaster search committee will meet again on Thursday, Feb. 21 to continue the vetting process, looking to present the final three candidates who will be interviewed.