Meetings are held remotely. Go to provincetown-ma.gov and click on the meeting you want to watch.
Thursday, Dec. 17
- Public Pier Corp., 4 p.m.
- Zoning Board of Appeals, 6 p.m.
As of Dec. 15, Provincetown had three active cases of Covid-19, 39 cases considered recovered, and one death.
Vouchers for Babysitting
The select board on Dec. 14 agreed to spend $50,000 on vouchers to reimburse parents for child care expenses. The parents must be eligible for the Provincetown Schools early education toddler program, which has been closed due to Covid-19 since March.
Parents will have to show proof of payment to be reimbursed. But unlike earlier versions of the voucher plan, the money may be used to reimburse parents for any child care, not simply for payments to licensed child-care facilities.
Acting Town Manager Charlie Sumner said the voucher program was originally conceived at the beginning of the pandemic as a way to help parents when care centers were shuttered. Now, he said, some centers are open, but many with reduced capacity, so expanding the program to babysitters honors the original concept.
The school has identified 14 children between 18 months and three years who are eligible for the vouchers. Though most of Provincetown’s birth-to-kindergarten early education program is operating, toddlers are not allowed back because they are said to be unable to reliably wear masks or stay socially distanced.
The vouchers are available regardless of family income. Since it is a small community, schools administrators will reach out directly to the eligible families, Sumner said.
Long Road to ‘Kinder and Gentler’
It didn’t seem to matter much that vice chair John Golden of the select board admitted to cursing at the board’s meeting on Nov. 23. Though he apologized for uttering the F-word under his breath in frustration over an alarm going off on his phone, eight speakers (seven women and one man) still dominated the public comment period on Dec. 14, complaining of a culture in Provincetown where women are “shut out” and told to “shut up,” as one woman identifying herself as Michelle said.
Many people erroneously thought that finance committee member Mark Del Franco had used two curse words (one a vulgar term used against women). Select board member Lise King said it really was Golden, and she thanked him for his apology. But “a case of mistaken identity” is not surprising because the finance committee has a history of distasteful behavior, she said.
The board’s Louise Venden and Golden both acknowledged that there is a problem that must be addressed.
“I agree with Louise,” said Golden. “We really need to work together as a whole to make this a kinder and gentler place and it’s going to take some work. We have a long road ahead of us.”
The board stopped short of attempting to censure or do anything else about the alleged bad behavior by the finance committee chair, Mark Hatch. Hatch has said he has stopped posting on social media, though he reserves his right as a private citizen to do so.