SANDWICH — Three board members of the Sandwich Economic Initiative Corp., a state-chartered economic development group consisting of nine volunteers from the Sandwich business community, resigned Tuesday, according to Richard Johnson, the group’s president.
Johnson confirmed the resignations of Robert Prol, Matt Schimmel and Nanette Perkins from the nine-member committee, which come two days before the group planned to provide an update on current projects before the Sandwich Board of Selectmen, including a proposal for artist shanties, a strategy for wastewater treatment and plans for a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly village center in South Sandwich Village. Those items were discussed during a regular meeting Monday.
“I was surprised,” Johnson said of the resignations. “(Monday’s) meeting was frustrating. I only wished they would have waited until Thursday night.”
The SEIC was established by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature in 2009. Three of its members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen and represent different areas of business, such as economic development, finance, real estate and retail, Johnson said. The board’s professed goals include expanding the tax base, providing new services and creating jobs while “recognizing the importance of maintaining Sandwich’s historic character.”
Prol, who joined the SEIC only recently as a board member and announced his resignation on the Sandwich News Facebook page Tuesday, said the group hasn’t accomplished anything during his time on the board.
“There’s no budget, no real authority and it’s without the support of the town,” Prol said. “People can talk about wanting economic development but I just don’t see that as viable.”
Susan James, chairwoman of the Sandwich Board of Selectmen, said she was aware of the resignations Tuesday through an email Prol sent to Johnson.
She said other than its members serving periodic terms on the SEIC, the Board of Selectmen has nothing to do with the economic development group.
“I don’t really have a comment,” James said. “The SEIC is a completely differently entity and an entity unto itself. I’m sorry that those three people have resigned because they were very good people and very professional.”
When reached, Perkins said she didn’t realize Prol and Schimmel had also resigned, but suspected they harbored similar feelings about the board.
“Over the years and months, in passing we’ve discussed how frustrating it is to get things accomplished,” she said.
Schimmel did not respond to a message sent Tuesday afternoon seeking comment.
— Follow Tanner Stening on Twitter: @tsteningCCT.