In a letter sent yesterday to the Select Board via town manager Richard Montuori, Eric Ryder resigned from the Tewksbury Planning Board effective immediately. Ryder cited an ongoing work conflict that left him unable to attend meetings on the Monday nights when the Planning Board convenes.
Ryder was elected in 2020. His unexpired term will run through 2025.
In his letter, Ryder informed the Select Board that his work role has changed since being elected and that he is now required to attend the Town of Hudson’s Select Board meetings, which are held on the same Monday evenings as the Tewksbury Planning Board’s meetings. Ryder contacted Planning Board chair Stephen Johnson to see if the board could change the meeting dates to alternate Mondays, so he could balance both work and his position on the Planning Board, but that request could not be accommodated.
“Unfortunately, the Planning Board could not accommodate the change in the meeting dates,” Ryder wrote. “This result has left me with no other option but to resign immediately as a Tewksbury Planning Board member. Please accept this letter as my official notice.”
He did express disappointment and an interest in continuing to serve on the Elementary School Building Committee, which he has sat on for a number of years.
In a comment to the Carnation, Planning Board chair Stephen Johnson said that the remaining 2022 meeting dates have been set for some time, the Board is not in a position to change its day of the week and that many petitioners schedule attorneys and other experts well in advance.
“When we meet affects when other boards meet,” said Johnson. “The ultimate goal is to try to be as accommodating to all the members’ schedules, with the goal of having a full board as often as you can, and also making sure that it’s fair to the petitioners and in the best interests of the town.”
“The loss of Eric’s expertise is incredibly unfortunate for the board and the town,” he added.
Johnson says the seat will be filled at a future date in a joint meeting with the Planning Board and Select Board, with the person being selected serving until the next town election. In 2023, someone will be elected to fill the remainder of Ryder’s term. Johnson said that anyone applying for the seat should be aware of the workload and time commitment.
“Anyone who’s interested is welcome,” he said. “But they should be aware of what serving on the Planning Board means.”
For his part, Ryder was widely seen as a source of expertise and expressed regret at not continuing.
“I am disappointed that I am leaving the Planning Board, as I have enjoyed serving the past four years and had hoped to continue,” he wrote. “I am proud of our accomplishments as a board and wish the members all the best in the future.”