The weekly meeting of the Board of Selectmen was held on Monday evening, February 10, 2003 at 7:30 p.m.
Present: James F. Morey, Chairman; James M. Hardy, Clerk; Eric W. Greene
Michael Botelho, Executive Secretary
Karen Grabau, Adm. Assistant
Marcia Weidenfeller, Town Clerk, met with the Board to discuss her request to shorten the polling hours for Annual Town Election in April.
Mrs. Weidenfeller explained that she could save between $1,500 and $1,700 in her budget by having polls open 8 hours instead of 12 hours. Suggested the hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. or 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Stated that she would like the Board to vote on new hours this evening, so that she can advertise the new hours. Mrs. Weidenfeller also noted that any resident that can not vote during the poll hours, can vote by absentee ballot by coming to the Town Clerk’s office and requesting an absentee ballot.
Mr. Greene suggested that as there are many persons who work in retail, that the hours of 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. would be better hours. Mrs. Weidenfeller had no problem with these hours.
M/Greene, s/Hardy, a unanimous vote, move to authorize the Town Clerk to change and post new polling hours for the Annual Town Election of 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Southeastern Regional Vocational School Supt., James Hager met with the Board for an update on school. At this time, Mr. Greene left the dais to sit with Mr. Hager as the Town’s School Committee Representative for Southeastern District.
Mr. Hager explained new programs the school has instituted to assist students regarding MCAS testing. Have an aggressive appeals process, which has resulted in highest number of appeals granted; Project Pass for students with low marks in English and math, gives students additional help in these areas so that they can pass these subjects. Homework Program assists students to complete homework assignments, use tutors and assistants. Other programs are High Schools that Work – using data to make decisions; Literacy-Literacy-Literacy.
Mr. Hager noted that his concerns with the state budget; hopes to see the governor’s budget February 26; this will enable the committee to set the assessment fees for each town; will hold at least two budget hearing in March and will have budget to town by end of March.
Mr. Greene noted that the assessment has risen in last two years; as soon as the committee has the state numbers and the assessments, the budget amount for East Bridgewater will be available.
Mr. Hager presented the Board with an article for the town meeting, which would change the assessment formula back to the original regional agreement. This would mean that each member community assessment would be based on number of pupils. Noted that the article must be passed in all member communities in order to be instituted.
Mr. Hager also reported that students from the school were working in town hall on the 3rd floor conference room. HVAC students have been putting in the heating/air conditioning and the carpentry students will start shortly on the room. Work will be completed by end of this school year.
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Mr. Greene presented a second article, which would change the committee from an elected committee to an appointed committee, with the Selectmen and Town’s School Committee appointing the Regional School Committee member. Would allow School Committee and Selectmen to interview candidates and make decision in the best interest of the Town.
Mr. Morey noted that the articles will be placed on the proposed warrant, which the Selectmen will go over and approved articles for inclusion for town meeting.
Mr. Hager thanked the Board and invited Board members to drop by the school to see the students at work.
Board met with Town Counsel, John Stuebing relative to his review of the Government Review Study Committee.
Mr. Stuebing announced that we have successfully negotiated with the state of New York’s Insurance Commissioner regarding a default of a bond for a roadway and that he has received a check in the amount of $63,657 which will be given to the Planning Board.
Mr. Stuebing congratulated the Government Review Study Committee for their hard work. Noted that many hours the committee members put into the study and noted that town should appreciate their work.
Mr. Stuebing went over several of the recommendations presented in the Government Review Report as follows:
1. Retain Open Town Meeting – unique to New England
2. Recall – should be brought to Town Meeting; then needs to be submitted for Special Legislation; problems with cost involved to hold special elections, etc., effects on community can be positive or negative; in own opinion not good for town.
3. Town Administrator – aligns title with duties now performed by Executive Secretary; gives person ability to work with departments without need to come back to Board for approval; more effective negotiations, etc. Process: C41,S23a allows Selectmen to appoint a Town Administrator; need job description, need to list what will be delegated to position; or can pass a by-law, at Annual Town Meeting, which lists functions/duties of Town Administrator.
4. DPW – C41, S69C – 69F covers DPW; Town Warrant would have article to accept this provision; statute sets DPW functions; statute becomes effective with next election. Mr. Greene requested further information regarding establishing a Department of Community Services, what statutes are involved.
5. Expand Board of Selectmen to five members – requires certain mechanisms to set up; C41,S72
6. Reconfigure Boards – C41,S1B sets standards for Board of Assessors
7. Town Planner – appointed position
8. Town Clerk – C41,s1B could be an appointed position; in his opinion as an elected official, perception of being independent from the political components of town; majority of work deals with town meetings and town, state and federal elections.
1. Charter Commission – complicated issue; initiative petition to place question to establish Commission on town election; suggested bringing in one of his counterparts George Kane, who deals with this type of issues.
2. Purchasing Department – good idea; goes along with C30B.
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Mr. Morey requested Atty. Stuebing to layout the mechanisms needed to implement the various recommendations, so that the Board can discuss them.
David Walsh, member of the Finance Committee and Government Review Study Committee stated that he was upset by comments at a recent department meeting. Cautioned that the town departments need to take a unified approach to the finances of the Town; need a long-term plan; need to show patience and wait until the figures are in from the state; need a team effort; reminded everyone that they need to give factual data when discussing the budgets/finances.
Mr. Morey agreed and noted that at this time no one knows the state figures; there are no final figures yet; need to have all the information so that the voters can make a good decision; need to be unified and move forward.
Mrs. Sally Feeney, Finance Committee member stated that as a tax payer she is looking to the town to come up with a strategic plan; don’t want to see a short term solution; worried not about this year or 2004 but worry about financial conditions in 2005 to 2007.
Mr. Greene agreed as noted that town needs to stay with a multi-year solution; a quick fix will not solve problems, they will be worse.
Mr. Morey noted that all departments and officials need to work for the well being of the Town as a whole.
Mr. Hardy asked that Mr. Samia prepare an impact statement regarding town department budget cuts for next week. Noted that the Governor’s budget won’t be seen by town until end of February.
Mr. Walsh noted that the Finance Committee will begin their meetings on Wednesday, February 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Open Forum closed
M/Hardy, s/Greene, a unanimous vote, move to approve the minutes of the February 3, 2002 meeting.
M/Hardy, s/Greene, a unanimous vote, move to appoint as Special Police Officers for the Town of East Bridgewater the following Permanent Police Officers of the Town of Bridgewater:
Dave Randall Thomas LaGrasta Rank Administration
Dennis Smerz Robert Bailey
Gary Lemoine Anne Schuster Chief George K. Gurley
Mark Battisini George Zanellato Lt. Michael Bois
Robert Rae Deane Feroli Lt. Kevin Chiocca
Michael Botelho Stephen McGinn Sgt. Robert Irving
William Lemanski Willis Griffiths Sgt. William Nicolas
Carl McDermott Phil Rand Sgt. Thomas Schlatz
Daniel Brophy Matthew Lynch Sgt. Christopher Delmonte
John Hobson Robert Gray Sgt. Robert Lincoln
Dennis McLean Steven Kingsley
Robert Fernandes Lisa Mitton
Lawrence Bresciani Edward Querzoli
Joseph DeMoura Kelly Robson
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Executive Secretary Report
1. ABCC Letter re: waiting for return call from ABCC on reasons for outcome
2. Historical Commission/43 Central Street – met with Atty. Stuebing tonight
3. Police Officers Appeal Hearings – sent letters to all parties regarding Board’s vote; spoke with Dept. of Human Resources; they only want copy of hearing vote if suspension is for more than 6 months.
Carver Dam Meeting – Tuesday, February 11, 7 p.m.
Rep. Kathy Teahen Office Hours – Thursday, February 13, 7-8 p.m.
Town Hall closed – Monday, February 17
Mr. Morey stated that he would attend the Carver Dam Meeting as his colleagues were unable to be there.
M/Hardy, s/Greene, move to close Open Session and go into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing non-union contracts, collective bargaining and pending litigation with Board of Assessors and will not be returning to Open Session.
VOTE: Yes – Greene, Hardy, Morey; a unanimous vote in favor.
Meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
Board of Selectmen