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Brookline needs a Sustainability Director now

Did you know that Brookline has been without a Sustainability Director for months? And, the job has not yet been posted? The Sustainability Director position is critical for the Town to address important climate priorities.

  • Sign your name below to show your support for hiring a new Sustainability Director ASAP. 
  • After you sign, you’ll receive an email that includes the full text of the letter and a link so you can encourage your neighbors to sign it as well.
  • Please share the link to sign our letter with 3 neighbors!
  • A letter with all signatories will be delivered to the Select Board and Town Administrator Carey. Sign today!

(Note: Tracie Burns, Co-Coordinator of Brookline Mothers Out Front, read this letter from Brookline Mothers Out Front and Climate Action Brookline to the Select Board on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. We’re now collecting additional signatures to demonstrate the broad community concern on this issue.)

Town Administrator Carey and Members of the Select Board:

We are writing to express our disappointment at the Town’s lack of progress in identifying and hiring a new Director for Sustainability Planning. We urge you to expedite filling this vital post as soon as possible.

The position is critical for Brookline to address important climate priorities. The lack of a strong and effective Director has significantly slowed the Town’s progress on meeting existing climate goals; planning for mitigation, adaptation, and resilience; and responding to emerging climate issues. Given the rapid and accelerating pace of climate change, it is critical to address these needs immediately. The work cannot and will not take place until we have a new Director of Sustainability Planning.

We are aware that there has been discussion at the Select Board and by the Town Administrator about how to best situate this position within Town Hall, but we are concerned that this process is taking longer than expected. Despite the importance of this position, the job opening has not been posted, although the position has been vacant since July. The delay in taking even this first step is notably concerning.

Multiple efforts to move Brookline forward on climate action have been left hanging. Prior to his departure, the  Director of Sustainability Planning was working to update the town’s 2018 Climate Action Plan (CAP), and had hired a consultant to help with updating and re-assessing priorities. Since his departure, no further progress has been made.

In addition, Brookline received funds from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to hire a consultant to train energy coaches; this work must be completed within a two-year window. This is a crucial need for Brookline, yet there is no way to launch this vital project without a Director of Sustainability Planning to manage it. Beyond this effort, which has already been funded, Brookline is missing out on opportunities for other grant support.

Before the most recent Director was hired, the town suffered an 18-month-gap between the departure of Brookline’s first Director and Mr. Barasso. Every day that this role remains unstaffed is a day that Brookline falls further behind in addressing the greatest crisis of our time.

We need to move forward rapidly and aggressively to recruit a strong and qualified candidate for this job, and we need to support our new Director of Sustainability Planning in a way that will enable the person to remain in this role.  Brookline has a large community of devoted and skilled volunteer climate activists who can assist in supporting the new Director once the position is filled.

We urge the Town Administrator and members of the Select Board to rapidly resolve all remaining issues related to the nature of this role, to post the job, and work to install a new town Director of Sustainability Planning as soon as possible.