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Peterborough

Mini Mall remains mainstay in town

  • Peterborough residents sift through the Recycling Center's Mini Mall.  The Mini Mall will not be affected by a directive from the Public Works Department.
  • Peterborough residents sift through the Recycling Center's Mini Mall.  The Mini Mall will not be affected by a directive from the Public Works Department.
  • The Peterborough Recycling Center can no longer save      requested items for residents.  Previously, someone could ask the staff to keep an eye out for a particular item.
  • The Peterborough Recycling Center can no longer save      requested items for residents.  Previously, someone could ask the staff to keep an eye out for a particular item.
  • The Peterborough Recycling Center can no longer save      requested items for residents.  Previously, someone could ask the staff to keep an eye out for a particular item.
  • The Peterborough Recycling Center can no longer save      requested items for residents.  Previously, someone could ask the staff to keep an eye out for a particular item.

In the Mini Mall at the Peterborough Recycling Center, Tracy Tomic-Craig and her children, Jack and Kate, rummaged through knick-knacks in boxes and on shelves, while another woman dropped off trinkets she was through with.

This swap program in a converted storage shed at the Peterborough Recycling Center will not be affected by a recent directive set forth by the town.

Town Administrator Pamela Brenner said on Wednesday that Recycling Center employees are only no longer permitted to “pick” through junk while they are working and being paid by the town. However, Brenner said other than this directive, “nothing has changed at the facility.” Brenner said this directive could extend itself to the staff not being allowed to accept requests for a particular discarded item. In the past, this included anything from a secondhand bicycle, to fencing, to used three-ring binders.

Director of the Public Works Department Rodney Bartlett emailed this directive effective immediately to the supervisors at the Recycling Center in July.

Bartlett and Brenner said that any member of the staff who is a Peterborough resident can continue to “pick” when they are not working as long as they adhere to the policies for “pickers.” The public can only pick for 30 minutes at a time.

Brenner said the town issued this directive because of a concern that was voiced to her about this practice’s “fairness.” She said some of the items that come through the Recycling Center are commodities that are “very valuable.”

“We just want to make sure, based upon a complaint lodged with me, that all our practices are fair to all concerned. I’m not saying they aren’t,” Brenner said.

Bradford said he couldn’t elaborate more on the “incident” that spurred this directive. Bartlett was it was a “personnel matter” he couldn’t openly discuss.

Brenner indicated the Select Board will address this concern more at its Sept. 2 meeting. She said the board has not spoken about this matter yet, and couldn’t say how they would rule. They might change nothing, she said. They might change a lot.

This practice was never permitted, according to Bartlett, but until recently the staff was performing it regularly. Bartlett also said this practice led some level of “special treatment.” But, he said the solution is for the public to “pick” themselves.

On Tuesday, in the Mini Mall, Tomic-Craig also said asking employees to “pick” for you and save an item was a “little bit of a Cadillac service.”

“Get in here,” she said to the public. “These guys work hard enough.”

In the Mini Mall on Wednesday, Linda Dubreil of Peterborough said she had asked the staff to look for fencing for her. She is a foster parent for about 75 rescued dogs.

She could see the town being concerned about favoritism too. But, she said this practice connected the staff with the community.

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