Breaking: Two Planning Board Members, Including Former Chair, Resign

Photo: (left) Barbara Fiacco; Liz Allison

Former Chair Liz Allison and member Barbara Fiacco suddenly resigned from the Belmont Planning Board since Monday, Oct. 23.

The departure of the pair comes less than a fortnight after associate member Raffi Manjikian angerly resigned on Oct. 13 due to a “hostile work environment” created by newly-elected Chair Charles Clark. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, the board has three members – Clark, Karl Haglund, and newly appointed Stephen Pinkerton – efficiently making it redundant to make decisions as it needs a fourth member. It will be up to the Board of Selectmen to appoint replacements.

Allison, Fiacco, and Clark could not be reached at this time. The article will be updated if they decide to respond. 

Allison and Fiacco’s letters – received on Monday, Oct 23 and Tuesday, Oct. 24 – were brief statements that did not elaborate the reason for their decisions.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with some very fine people and served a fine town,” said Allison.

Fiacco was more specific for her resignation, noting her “current workload and travel schedule. I am unable to dedicate the time necessary to address … challenges [facing the board] effectively this year.”

Allison and former member Manjikian were accused by Clark of abuse of power in September after it was revealed the pair had advocated moving the Belmont Public Library to a public/private Waverley Square development to revitalize the once-vibrant business center. The scheme, dubbed the ‘Big Idea,’ turned controversial when supporters of the library said they were never informed of the project or the move.

In the past month, a group of residents submitted a citizens’ petition to be heard at the Nov. 13 Special Town Meeting to consider changing the Planning Board from an appointed to an elected body.

Professionally, Allison is a noted economist who has served on the town’s Warrant, and Finance committees and Fiacco is a partner at the Boston law firm Foley Hoag.