Marblehead names new yard sale sign chief

MARBLEHEAD – Listen up, hombres. There’s a new yard sale sign culler in town.On the recommendation of Town Administrator Tony Sasso, Selectmen have unanimously named Dexter Gillis as the town’s new volunteer in charge of asking local residents to remove their yard sale signs when the sale is over.His duties began this month, as the yard sale season began to wind down, and the appointment will continue through next May. The job does not carry a salary, but the sign culler is eligible for a senior work-off program stipend, a partial write-off on his property tax bill.Gillis, a former engineer with the Eastman Gelatine Co. of Peabody, chairs the town’s elected Cemetery Commission. He has served on the commission since 1994, when he topped a four-candidate race, and he also serves on the Traffic and Safety Committee.His predecessor, John Read, created the job five years ago, but resigned last spring due to the cost of gas. He said the $750 stipend he received wasn’t enough to cover his costs at the pump and, when he asked the selectmen to increase it to $1,500, they balked.Read characterized the job as a kinder, gentler public service. Although he arrived at yard sales armed with an official letter, “I usually left people with a smile,” he said. However, the job expanded and Read found himself working a lot of extra hours by 2006, removing business signs and signs for lost pets.Gillis said Monday he is expecting to work during the week pulling signs down if needed. Any signs posted on utility poles or trees are illegal under the town bylaws and cannot be left hanging, although the town makes an effort “to bend a little” on signs posted by residents.

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