2010 Meeting Minutes and Agendas
- Approved Minutes Dec 16, 2010
- Approved Minutes Dec 15, 2010
- Approved Minutes Dec 8, 2010
- Board of Assessors Minutes Dec 2, 2010
- Approved Minutes Dec 1, 2010
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- Unsealed Nonpublic Minutes Nov 1, 2010
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- Approved Minutes Sep 15, 2010
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- Approved Minutes Aug 4, 2010
- Approved Minutes Jul 21, 2010
- Approved Minutes Jul 7, 2010
- Approved Minutes Jul 6, 2010
- Approved Board of Assessors Minutes Jun 28, 2010
- Approved Non-Public Session Minutes Jun 28, 2010
- Approved Board of Assessors Minutes Jun 21, 2010
- Approved Minutes Jun 16, 2010
- Special Town Warrant Jun 14, 2010
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- Approved Minutes Apr 27, 2010
- Approved Minutes Special BOS Meeting Apr 23, 2010
- Approved Minutes Apr 21, 2010
- Approved Minutes Special BOS Meeting Apr 13, 2010
- Approved Minutes Apr 7, 2010
- Approved Minutes Special BOS Meeting Mar 31, 2010
- Revised Draft Minutes of Special Meeting Mar 24, 2010
- Goals & Priority Order Updated on March 24 - 2010 Mar 24, 2010
- Approved Minutes Mar 17, 2010
- Approved Non-Public Minutes Not Sealed Mar 15, 2010
- Approved Minutes Organization Meeting Mar 15, 2010
- Approved Board of Assessors Minutes Mar 4, 2010
- Approved Minutes Mar 3, 2010
- Approved of Assessors Feb 24, 2010
- Approved Minutes Feb 23, 2010
- Approved Non-Public Session Feb 23, 2010
- Approved Minutes Feb 17, 2010
- Approved Work Session Minutes Feb 12, 2010
- Approved Minutes Feb 3, 2010
- Approved Minutes Jan 26, 2010
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- Approved Minutes Jan 20, 2010
- Approved Budget Hearing Minutes Jan 18, 2010
- Approved Bond Hearing Minutes Jan 18, 2010
- Approved Minutes Jan 8, 2010
- Approved Minutes Jan 6, 2010
- Approved Minutes Jan 5, 2010
Board of Selectmen
Revised Draft Minutes of Special Meeting Mar 24, 2010
TOWN OF LITTLETON
BOARD OF SELECTMEN'S SPECIAL MEETING
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2010
LITTLETON COMMUNITY HOUSE, HEALD ROOM
Present: Town Manager Chuck Connell, Chairman Ron Bolt, Vice Chairman Ed Boynton, Selectman Marghie Seymour, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings
Others Present: Chief Joe Mercieri, Jeff Whitcomb, Bill Sencabaugh, Tommy Stephens, Jim Daly, Mary Daly, Don Craigie, Jan Edick, Jerry Sorlucco, Robert Blechl, Richard Massimilla, Linda Massimilla, Eddy Moore, Lt. Jim Pineo, John Lofgren
Chairman Ron Bolt called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM.
Bolt said the first order of business is to pursue a grant for a tanker truck.
Approval to Pursue Fire Grant (Tanker Truck)
Chief Joe Mercieri said that several months ago he put together two in house committees for the purpose of studying and researching the feasibility of the fire department to purchase a new tanker truck through the Federal Fire Act Grant Program. They decided at that time they would like to replace their tanker truck. The reason is the tanker is one of the older trucks in the fleet. It is an old plow truck chassis that was built by the fire department ten years ago. Mercieri said that one committee was in charge of the specifications as far as the type of truck they would need. The other committee was to develop the narrative of the very important segment of the grant process. Mercieri said the reason he was here this morning was to bring the board up to date on their progress and to answer any questions the board might have about The Fire Act Grant and the Vehicle Acquisition Program.
Mercieri said they would be coming back before the board some time in the near future asking for the board's approval to submit the grant application. Mercieri then provided the board with some background on the grant program and the Vehicle Acquisition Program. Mercieri said last year they awarded two hundred and twenty eight (228) departments with vehicles for a total of just over forty-five million dollars. Mercieri said the program itself is a 95/5. Mercieri said the federal government pays for 95% of the cost of the vehicle and the remaining 5% is the town's share of the expense. The reason it is a 95/5 is because Littleton is classified as a rural community. Mercieri then asked Lt. Jim Pineo to explain the specifics of the tanker truck they have chosen to purchase.
Lt. Jim Pineo explained the type of tanker truck they had decided to purchase.. Pineo said they decided to go with thirty-five hundred gallons. The truck that they are proposing is called a vacuum tanker. It's similar to a sewer truck. Pineo said it does a couple of things different for you; it pressurizes the vessel so it offloads the water very efficiently. The other thing it does for you it creates a vacuum in the tank so that you are able to fill the tank much quicker. Ed Boynton thanked Lt. Pineo for the information and said he would highly support this tanker.
Chairman Bolt asked what would this cost. Mercieri said that right now we are looking at a price range of between two hundred and sixty-eight to two hundred ninety thousand dollars. Mercieri said that could change because there have been significant changes in prices because of the new 2010 emission standard. Vehicle prices have gone up close to eighteen thousand dollars. Jim Pineo said he could give the board a real quick ballpark figure. In 2009 the truck they were looking at was eighty six thousand dollars. This year the same truck is one hundred three thousand dollars due to the emission standards. Pineo said that is for the cab and chassis alone. Pineo said they are looking at a price of one hundred twenty three thousand dollars for the cab and chassis alone. The rest of the cost is for the vacuum tank, the fire pump and the vacuum pump. Bolt asked if that includes any additional training. Bolt said he heard the chief say they were already pretty well trained up asked if there would be additional costs for training on this. Mercieri said the cost for training would be in-service training. The manufacturer or who ever we buy the truck from would provide the training as part of the package. They will train our firefighters on the use of the vehicle. Bolt then asked what would be the disposition of the current tanker truck. Mercieri said there are a couple of things they can do. Because of the NFPA Standard and because the tanker truck is not compliant the truck would be taken out of service and sold. Pineo said they would not allow you to sell it to another fire department because of the problems. Marghie asked what kind of condition is it in other than the fact that it is not compliant. Mercieri said it is in tough condition. Over the years it has seen it's share of rust and it has quite a few miles on it. Marghie asked the chief if he thought they would get thirteen or fifteen thousand dollars for it. Mercieri said he could not foresee that happening. He could see it being used in an agricultural or construction environment but they won't get much for it. Marghie then asked if they would be able to get four or five thousand for it. Mercieri said no.
Bolt said his last question was for the Town Manager assuming this would occur and it came to pass before town meeting next year was there any money in a capital reserve fund or any generic fund in a line of the operating budget that they could obligate to the fire department in good faith. Connell said the town share would be between thirteen thousand and fourteen thousand five hundred. Connell said there might be some money in the vehicle reserve account that they could tap into and since we are having the good fortune of having ninety five percent of the truck being funded and paid for they would find a way but it would have to come from current year funds.
Bolt asked if there were any other comments. Jerry Sorlucco said that he was involved in writing the cistern grant it has not been forgotten by FEMA it is in the hands of their attorney. Jeff Whitcomb said with the last grant that they didn't receive there was a time frame and his question is what is the time frame on this type of grant. Mercieri said it is three hundred sixty days that you have to spend the grant funds. Tom Loughlin said he thinks it is a good investment and protection for the town and commended the chief for working on this. Mercieri said it was the committees who should be commended. Bolt asked if they need a motion or just consensus. Connell said that he thought the board would add more strength to their position by making a motion and acting on it. Bolt then asked for a motion. Ed Boynton made the motion to approve the chief to pursue the Federal Fire Act Grant Program. Marghie Seymour seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0.
Bolt then moved to the next item on the agenda.
Modification to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (AFSCME)
Connell said this idea came forward because everybody has been challenged to think creatively. Connell said the full time firefighters and the call firemen who are qualified to work within the requirements of the collective bargaining agreement that goes into effect April 1st all went to the chief making the suggestion to make some relatively minor changes to the agreement that Captain Whitcomb would explain. Connell said the change would double our ability to improve the overtime position. Connell said this was not discussed during the negotiations. Jeff Whitcomb said with all the problems in the overtime they came up with giving 50% of our shift coverage in overtime to the call company. Whitcomb said that if one of us takes time off it was agreed that part time people would cover overtime. There is a lot of confusion whether our call firefighters are part time. The contract went through and was signed. Whitcomb said he was looking at it and shame on him for not looking at the whole thing before he signed off on it. Whitcomb said that in looking at the list of certifications it disqualified about 98 or 99 percent of the part timers that work for us. Whitcomb said that prevented them from being able to cover some of the shifts. All the certifications that they are looking for most of those people are qualified to do. Whitcomb said they just don't have this piece of paper that says they are certified. In the way we operate just by looking at the list of certifications, this is the stuff that we train on month to month and all year long. Whitcomb said that just because they don't have the paper with the certification on it from the Fire Academy, they are qualified to do it because they are trained with us. We train as a group so we are all qualified together. Whitcomb said they want to make an addendum to the contract that includes our own people to be able to resolve this issue.
Jeff Whitcomb provided the board with a copy of the addendum to Article Seven on the overtime section of the contract. Whitcomb said the changes to be made were italicized. Section a. deals with the fire department only. Whitcomb explained the changes and read the most significant change in Article Seven Section Two Part A as follows:
Call company personnel, being employees of the Littleton Fire Department and are knowledgeable with the Fire Department operating procedures and equipment are eligible to cover overtime shifts and shall possess the following qualifications; Firefighter 1, CPS/AED, Incident Command System, Hazardous Materials Operations, CDL-B with tank endorsement and possess the ability to conduct interior firefighting operations.
Whitcomb said the only other changes were made to numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. That change being where it says part-time we added /call company personnel. Whitcomb said they don't want to exclude anybody what we are trying to do is to keep all of our personnel as part of one team. Without this change to the contract we were going to drive a wedge and that was the last thing we want to do. Whitcomb told the board that if they agreed to the amendment it would take care of a lot of the problems. Ed Boynton asked how many call personnel are qualified to do this. Mercieri said they had ten. Ron Bolt thanked Jeff Whitcomb or anyone else for noticing this flaw. Whitcomb said everybody noticed it but it was just him that spoke about it. Bolt said he would like to ask Bill Sencabaugh if he is in favor of this. Bill Sencabaugh said he is very much in favor of it. It was driving a wedge between the call company and the firefighters. Ron Bolt asked Connell if there is an administrative procedure to approve the amendment that it is not yet in effect. Connell said the union reps and the Town Manager have the authority to make the change. Connell said that they wanted to bring it before the board and to the public eye that we were making the change. Connell said the sheet the board was provided with is the agreement by the full time firefighters. Connell said it also says that on a fire scene if Captain Whitcomb is going inside of a building states that he is confident that they are the people that can do the job. Connell said that also a homeowner, resident or business owner in this town would know that these people are who they need on the scene in a situation to protect both life and property. Bolt asked if there were any questions from the public. Ed Boynton said he had one question and asked what legal ramifications could come of this. Jeff Whitcomb said they did not change the contract we are making an addendum to it. Boynton said you are reopening the contract. Whitcomb said no they are not reopening the contract. Ron Bolt then asked if there were any further questions. No further questions were asked. Bolt then asked for a motion. Ed Boynton made the motion to accept the addendum to the Article Seven for the overtime as written. Marghie seconded the motion. Connell said Captain Whitcomb or Todd McKee would sign the document and append this to the bargaining agreement. The motion passed 3-0. Bolt said the next thing on the agenda is the Town Manager's Performance Review.
Town Manager's Performance Review:
Bolt asked Connell if all they had to do was sign the review. Connell said they have to clarify it first. Connell said the BOS met with him to discuss his performance over the last year. Connell said this is the first evaluation he has received since he came to Littleton on October 21, 2007. The review was completed by all of the selectmen and Mr. Moore. The group empowered the chairman to commit their comments in writing and to then make those comments on the form the town uses. The agreement was that this would then be brought back to the board of selectmen for their review and concurrence before it was accepted. Connell said he accepts the performance review that was completed by the board and the comments that were on the performance evaluation. Bolt asked the other two selectmen if they had a chance to review it. Both said yes. Bolt asked if they were in agreement with it. Ed Boynton said yes. Marghie said she did not know what to say. Bolt jokingly said that's right you have only known Chuck for two days. Marghie said she would weigh in on the next one. All three BOS members signed the performance review at this time. Bolt then moved onto the next item on the agenda.
School Board Member Code of Ethics
Bolt said he noticed at a school board meeting that they actually do have a code of ethics dealing with how the board relates to each other and how they handle information. Bolt said he thought it was a good practice and they sign off on it once a year. Bolt said that what he is suggesting is that over the next several weeks we develop a parallel of the code of ethics for our behavior as members of the Board of Selectmen. Bolt asked the other board members for their input. Ed Boynton said he had never seen the school board's code of ethics but he would like the time to look it over. Both Ed and Marghie said this was not included in their meeting packets. Connell said they could get copies it is not something that you are going to do today. Bolt said he thinks it is a good practice. Basically it addresses things like everyone on the board is free to express their opinion. We are to oblige ourselves to getting up to speed on issues and to fairly treat every issue that comes before the board. Bolt said it is pretty standard stuff and he thinks it would be useful to make it a regular practice. Tom Loughlin asked if this would also include conflicts of interest. Bolt said yes and that he has an outline of what might be in it for conflicts of interest. Bolt said that one of them pertained to multiple memberships on committees, boards and commissions. Bolt said another was how we should be respectful to the audience and to each other. Ensuring that we have a welcoming environment at our meetings and obviously doing our due diligence. Bolt said others were not campaigning for certain results and not trying to influence the voters. Going the extra mile when there is any question of impartiality and allowing public input. Bolt said it was going to have those kinds of things in it.
John Lofgren said that when he views all the different committees we have around the town you notice that they all tend to be the same people. John said that is normal in towns because only about ten percent of us volunteer. John said he has a concern for people being on a committee for an extended period of time with no breaks for ten or fifteen years. John said there is nothing wrong with that because they are the people doing the job but sometimes they don't change or keep an open mind. They tend to not entertain new ideas if they are confronted with the same issues over and over again. John said he was curious if there would be an issue if we were to have term limits especially for the chairman of a committee. Bolt asked John to hold that thought because they actually have that on the agenda. Richard Massimilla asked Bolt to read the section about campaigning again. Bolt said there is no section it is just a concept at this point. Bolt then moved onto the next agenda item.
Update to Goals & Objectives
Bolt said this is something we started last year. In part to give some sense to what the board thought were the more important issues that were facing the town. Bolt said this also is to help the Town Manager with his time management. After we did the list the Town Manager went through it and came up with some objectives. The copy the board had was the list that was last reviewed in November of last year. The board then reviewed the new order of the list based on priorities. Bolt said they have asked the Town Manager to head off on four of the six pledges that we made to the budget committee and then to the public in general. Bolt said they are making some budget accounting adjustments, looking for more efficiency, sharing services and looking for additional streams of revenue. Bolt said there are two others he would like to add immediately and one is to look at our staff size and the organization to see if it is right or whether some adjustments could be made and defining an "acceptable" level of service.
Marghie Seymour said she had a question from when she reviewed all the paperwork for the payroll and the expenditures. Seymour said that she noticed that there is no accounting for what the overtime is being spent on. Seymour said the report shows the total number of hours for each department but there is nothing that states why there was overtime. Seymour said that she personally thinks especially when times are so tough that they should see what overtime is being spent on in each department. Seymour said she would like to see a monthly report from each of the department heads. Seymour said it does not have to be anything elaborate, it could be something like four accidents on the highway or two fire calls etc. Ed Boynton said he would bring in a report he had from October 2008 from Chief Mercieri. Boynton said he went down to see Chief Mercieri at the fire station because the overtime that month was 504 hours. Boynton said that Chief Mercieri came up with a report that showed the breakdown of the overtime. Boynton said they found out there were numerous ambulance calls and shift coverage. Boynton said the highway department has a worksheet with a code number that tracks everything they do. Boynton said the fire department does not have that and he does not understand why the fire department can't do that too. Boynton said he talked to George Chartier and was told it only takes five minutes to generate the report and it shows what they do during the day. (These comments were initially removed and then replaced by a decision of the board on April 27th.)Seymour said she wants that and hopes there is a way to work it out. Seymour said that when people say to her "what the heck is with all this overtime," she could not give them an answer. Boynton said the last time he had a report was three or four months ago. Boynton said it came out with firefighter one, two so on. Boynton said the report did not give you the individual's name. Boynton said it only listed the hours of overtime, that tells him absolutely nothing. Seymour said she agrees. Bolt said he thinks we are verging on micro managing our departments here. Boynton said that somehow we have to have accountability. Bolt said accountability is fine but he does not think you need to know the individual's names and what they did during their eight-hour day. Bolt said he would be happy with a summary and he thinks we have summaries now to some degree. Boynton said not really. Bolt said he did not want to get too deep into the operations of each department and certainly not down to the individual person that is the role of the town manager. Bolt said that if we are getting complaints about excessive overtime we should direct them to the town manager. Boynton gave an example of a meeting he had with Chief Mercieri regarding the overtime and one individual's time sheet. Boynton said they were discussing exactly what Seymour was just talking about. On the time sheet the person was going off shift and they had four hours of overtime. Boynton said he asked the chief what the overtime was for and the chief said he did not know and that he did not have a clue. Boynton said the chief told him he would check with the individual as to what the overtime was for. Boynton said he was concerned why the chief did not know what the overtime was for because the timesheet was for that very day. (Chief Mercieri wanted to go on the record that he satisfied Boynton's questions regarding the overtime. The decision to include the parenthetical statement was made by board consensus on April 27th. Chairman Bolt said he still objects to the passage in the comments.) Seymour said she thinks they can come up with something that does not require micro managing or knowing the names of the individuals. Boynton said he is not trying to micro manage anything he just wants accountability. Seymour said she just wants something more than just the number of hours of overtime we want accountability. Boynton said he agrees. Connell said that one of the minor challenges that can be overcome is predominantly there are three departments that generate overtime. There is the potential for others to do so and those are treated by exception. Connell said each of the three departments reports their overtime in a different way. Connell said he could commit to them that they can come up with a summary. The first one would cover the first quarter of 2010 in a standard format so that you know you are looking at the same thing that characterizes how many hours of overtime in a particular activity or event. Connell said he would have that to the board of selectmen by the end of April and also the April report. Seymour and Boynton were agreeable to Connell's suggestion. Connell asked for clarification that they want overtime only and not daily activities. Boynton said he wants accountability and would like to know where it is all going. It seems to him that certain individuals are garnering all of the overtime. Jerry Sorlucco said that just as an observation it is not right to suggest that someone is garnering all of the overtime because he is available and he is working harder, he could be employee of the month. Jerry said that should not be questioned. Boynton said nobody is questioning the fact that they are not earning it. Boynton said right now there is no accountability. Bolt said they should move on. The last of the six pledges is defining an acceptable level of service. This is going to be the most challenging and could take several months.
Bolt said the next thing on his list is establishing the Opera House Management Commission followed by a refocused Town Building Committee and to revisit moving the town offices. Next on the list is the Master Plan and the Capital Improvement Plan. The Retaining Wall Study, Riverwalk II, Five Year Plan for the Roads, Emergency Management, Main Street Renovation Phase II, Wrap up of the Police Facility Project. Bolt said the next was Encourage Land Use Management, Firefighting Water Supply, the Curran Bridge and the Review of Road Maintenance Policies. Bolt said that is the order he is suggesting. The list eliminated some of the projects that have already been completed. Marghie Seymour asked which bridge is the Curran Bridge. Connell said the Curran Footbridge is the suspended bridge at the end of Saranac Street. Bolt asked what the board thought about this his idea to get the four of us acting as a management team. Bolt thought they should go down the list and make assignments to the board members to be the primary go to selectperson for that particular goal or objective. For instance Ed Boynton is already on the Riverwalk Committee and the Stone Wall Task Force. Bolt said he would take on TransCanada, the six pledges since he came up with them, the Master Plan the CIP and the joint meetings with the Budget Committee and the School Board. Bolt said that Marghie could take on the Opera House and the Encouraging Land Use Management and since she is new that's all she will get. Bolt said those are just some suggestions so we have a go to person on the board. Bolt asked Ed and Marghie what they thought about that idea. Marghie said she thinks she should have more. Marghie asked what about the Main Street Phase I. She then asked what has to be done on that. Connell said the sidewalks and the punch list have to be done. Marghie said she would take that on. Marghie's assignments are Main Street, Opera House, and relocation of the Town Office, Opera House Commission and Main Street Phase II. Connell told Bolt that he left one project off and that is Grove Street. Marghie said she would do that one too. A citizen asked if this list was going to be made public so that when he goes around town he could see the progress. Connell said the list should go onto the website. Connell said that in addition there should be a periodic update at a BOS meeting on the status of the twenty-one items on the list. Bolt asked Connell to put comments beside each one of the goals or priorities as he had done in the past before for the April 7th meeting.
Looking Ahead List
Bolt said that when they had our organizational meeting a week ago he talked about some things he would like to do is be a little more forward by looking ahead. Bolt directed the rest of the board to a list he provided. Bolt read the list stating they had already done the first thing on the list which was to update the goals and objectives list, the next thing on the list was coming up with a mission statement for the Opera House Management Commission; coming up with a comprehensive plan for the town building to include occupancy; renovations and maintenance; Committee, Board, Commission membership approvals; set up the first out of cycle joint meeting with the Budget Committee; Special Town Meeting because of the TransCanada Settlement; set up a joint meeting with the School Board which used to be done years ago; Completion of the Main Street Renovation; Deadlines for the Master Plan and the CIP; Begin work on the other two pledges; Set up a meeting with the Parks & Recreation Commission; the last item is what he is calling the creation of selectmen's handbook. Bolt said it could be a variety of things such as an ethics policy, how we go about appointments, what our duties are on Election Day, what our policy is on emailing, our procedures for running a meeting and various other things and the duties of the selectmen and the chairman. Bolt said that it would seem to him that when you come on board it would be handy to have something in writing on what our existing policies and procedures are. Marghie asked Bolt if he knew if there is something like this is already available. Marghie Seymour asked Bolt if he has already checked to see if something like this is already available like through the LGC. Seymour said that she could not believe that we are the first town in the state to do something like this. Bolt said he had not checked with the LGC. Connell said one of the things that he has not had a chance to discuss with our new selectman is the Selectmen's Academy. Connell said he highly recommends it. Connell said that he thinks what Ron Bolt is describing may well be a first. Seymour volunteered to see if she could track something down. Seymour said we don't have to adopt it lock stock and barrel but there is no point in us reinventing the wheel. Connell suggested they start out in expanded circles you might find something in our neighboring towns to see if they have something like that. Connell said the LGC would be a good first place to go and that he would provide Seymour with the contact details. Bolt said he was thinking mostly in terms of this board and what our policies are. Seymour said she understood but she does not think that we are that much different than other boards. Seymour said there is no sense in writing it from scratch. Mary Daly said she thinks this kind of information Bolt is talking about would be useful for the general public and should be made available to the general public should you come up with one.
Bolt then talked about the Opera House Management Commission. Bolt provided a copy of what he thinks the set up would be and said it is close to the similar one set up in 1999. Bolt said he was going to see Bob O'Conner tomorrow to advertise it. He then explained the mission statement and asked the secretary what the status was on advertisement on all of the open positions. The recording secretary said it was advertised in today's edition of the Caledonian and on the web page.
Tom Loughlin said he had a concern as a member of the Opera House Committee, which had not met in over a year. He had noticed the bricks are pealing and the roof is leaking. Tom asked if the contractor could repair these things at his cost. Connell said this is the first time he has heard of the roof leaking. Connell said with regard to the bricks that issue was raised last fall but no one has ever mentioned the roof leaking. Bolt said they were waiting to see what happened over the winter and he has not heard the roof was leaking either. Connell said he has been up there in the attic and has not seen any evidence of the roof leaking. Tom said he has heard it from several knowledgeable people in the town and he thinks it should be checked out thoroughly. Ed Boynton said he had talked with Joe Wiggett and Joe told him there was no leak. Tom said an expert should check the roof. Boynton said they discussed the bricks last fall when the contractor did the pressure washing. Tom asked what was the outcome of that. Bolt said that Tom raised a good point and we will look into the roof. Connell said there are a couple of other issues that need to be addressed with Hebert Construction because the warranty runs out in May. Connell said the outcome was there was nothing that could be done in the winter it would have to be done in the spring. Jan Edick told Bolt that he is calling this an Opera House Management Commission. Jan said there is a statute on what commissions are allowed to do. Jan then asked would the commission have the status in the state. Connell said the Town Building Committee is responsible for things such as the bricks. Connell said the Opera House Commission only deals with the performing venue within the town building. The Opera House Restoration Committee which Tom Loughlin is currently a member is a responsible body for instance for the bricks. Connell said the commission has nothing to do with the building. Connell said this is a commission that was established in 1999 by a warrant article passed at Town Meeting for maintaining the performing venue. The commission while it is inactive the legislation to create the commission is still viable that is why the BOS are reactivating it. Connell said it does not take the place of the Opera House Restoration Committee. Jan asked does that commission have the ability to handle it's own funds. Bolt said yes. Marghie Seymour said it could not be disbanded by a vote of the selectmen such as a committee could. Another citizen asked wouldn't it make more sense to streamline this you have five different entities and too much bureaucracy. You should have one panel or commission that can guide the completion of the project. There are just too many pieces to the pie. Connell said that what we are discussing today is a snapshot of what exists today. The committee, which exists to deal with the whole building, also exists. Connell said that in the interest of efficiency and effectiveness we have to start with what we have today.
Bolt then gave an outline of the town building renovation committee. Mary Daly said one thing that should also be looked at is what the parking requirement would be and how it would be met. Bolt said it is not just parking it is also access to the building. Tom Loughlin said he had one last point in driving past the Opera House he noticed there is a lot of black top laying around and there is a piece of tree starting to grow out of the Opera House. Tom thought that probably the highway department could clean it up. Connell said that at former BOS meeting he requested a temporary storage area and submitted the plan to the DHR seeking their approval to proceed. We met yesterday with them they were there to look at the progress the Chamber was making. Connell said he has verbal approval to establish the storage area. Moore told Connell he should be careful when you say temporary. Connell said the application is temporary and defined as one to five years. Connell said to put in permanent storage it would be about $3,000 to $4,000. Connell said that is a very rough estimate because it has to be up to fire code. Ed Boynton said that last Friday during our recount of the reval the point being ironically voter turnout was brought up. Boynton said turnout has been larger at the Opera House then at the fire station. Jan Edick had one comment about the best use of the building, it is a real estate term "Highest and Best" and it is misleading. It should be changed to most appropriate use. Parking at the Opera House was then discussed at length. Town Manager Connell requested to be dismissed to attend another meeting regarding Redington Street Bridge. Bolt then moved onto the next item on the agenda.
Board Position on Reappointments & Filling Vacancies.
Bolt said he was trying to come up with a consistent approach to this. Bolt said one thing they should discuss is the size of the boards, commissions and committees. The Planning Board is set at seven, that's six plus one ex-officio selectman member plus one alternate. Bolt said they are going to appoint Marghie Seymour to the Planning Board as an alternate. The Zoning Board is five with one alternate. The Littleton Water and Light Commission is three. The Conservation Committee is set at three to seven with up to five alternates. The Opera House Management Commission will be set at three. Bolt said that committees should consist of no fewer then three members and no more then seven. Bolt said that once you go past seven it becomes cumbersome. Bolt said they have a number of committees that are over seven and he suggests they reduce them down to seven either by attrition or by having some of them become alternates. Bolt said he is a big fan of alternates because it gives you a chance to follow up on the issues so you can stand in when necessary. Bolt then addressed appointments and reappointments for openings resulting from a resignation, a removal or an expired term shall be advertised widely for a period of at least two weeks. Interested individuals shall be encouraged to submit a self-nomination to the board containing pertinent information. Also the chairman of the committees will submit their recommendations to the board. Bolt said things that might be considered are the value of having served previous terms versus the being there indefinitely which could lead to complacency. Relative experience and performance in the relative areas that the committees or boards are responsible for should be considered. Bolt said they should avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, for instance family members on the same commissions or boards, or on any boards or complimentary boards. Bolt said they should be avoiding nepotism and serving on too many groups. Bolt said he thinks that the selectmen should not serve as the chairman of any other group. Ed Boynton said he does not think it is fair that the chairmen of a committee could not pick their own people. If we start going to these committees and start dictating who could be chairman he does not think it is appropriate. Bolt said it is our choice. Boynton said that is micro managing. Bolt said that if we don't nominate people then they are running totally independent. Marghie said she just heard Bolt and Boynton say two different things. Seymour asked Boynton if he just said the board should not be telling the committees who should be chairman. Boynton said the BOS should not be choosing who is the chairman for the boards. Boynton said he did not agree with the statement that a selectmen should not serve as a chairman to another board. If the person brings experience to the board and the members of the committee choose that individual then they should be able to serve as chairman. Seymour said that is two different things it is not like the selectmen are saying who is going to be chairman, but the selectmen can certainly set policy.
Boynton said he does not agree with the philosophy. Jerry Sorlucco said he does agree with the policy. Jerry said the selectmen have a unique role and you shouldn't empower this person to be chairman of this and chairman of that. Jerry said you wind up with an overuse of authority. Boynton said the point he is trying to make is the committees choose the chairman not this board. Jerry Sorlucco said you are choosing the members of the committee not telling them whom to select as chairman. Jerry said he thinks the use of over authority is a problem in the town of Littleton. Bolt said there are situations where a board could make a decision and an appeal is made and then that appeal comes to the BOS. Bolt said that if the same person was chairman of those two boards then there is a problem. Jan Edick said that in the RSA's under the land use boards there are certain designations that a selectman is prohibited from being a chairman. Jan said this is not something that has been made up this is something that has been thought of at the state level. Boynton said he would like to see that RSA. Marghie Seymour said she would bring a copy of the RSA in. Linda Massimilla said she concurs with everyone, that the chairman should not be the chair on any committee. Marghie Seymour said it sets up a situation where as a selectman you wouldn't be able to review your own decision from another board because of a conflict of interest. Don Craigie said there are situations where the Zoning Board and the town are in court fighting each other. Eddy Moore said it could happen. Seymour said there is an RSA that specifically lists what positions are not compatible with others. Seymour said that the way the law is set up in this state is that towns can make the decision to make things more restrictive than the state. Seymour said that we could make stronger regulations. Even though we may be allowed by state law to have someone be a selectmen and the chairman of the Zoning Board for example. We as a town can decide that we don't want to do it that way. Seymour said she agrees with Ron Bolt. Seymour said it would be better to simply say that some people are not entitled to be a chairman. Seymour said that if someone wants to be the chairman of a board then they shouldn't be a selectman. Eddy Moore asked to give the board an example. He is the chairman of the Water & Light Department. He is also the chair of the Zoning Board. Moore asked the board if they would vote against that. Moore said he would be happy to resign from both. Bolt said he was talking about a selectman. Moore said he had a legal opinion on it because of what he was doing as a selectmen too. Bolt said he was not saying it was illegal. Tom Loughlin said it definitely raises suspicions. Marghie said it gives the appearance of impropriety. Don Craigie said he does not see any conflict with Eddy being chairman of the Water & Light Commission and if he is elected chairman of the ZBA. Bolt said the only other thing he has in the proposed policy was the removal from office, which would be rare. Bolt said that is based on an RSA. Bolt said the terms are inefficiency, neglect of duty, and malfeasance of office and lastly a conflict of interest. Bolt said that was the general guidelines he was proposing on appointments and reappointments.
Marghie said that she had been on a number of municipal and non-municipal boards and she would like to see an automatic off the board after several non-excused absences. Marghie said that keeps personality conflicts out of it. If it is automatic there is a way to set it up when someone is not doing the job. Marghie said this is regularly done on boards and committees and she wants to make sure it is specified. Marghie said she would find the wording for it. Marghie asked if they should vote on this policy. Boynton said it is not drafted yet. Bolt said it would be good if they could agree on this with any modifications because he was going to see Bob O'Conner tomorrow to give the public the details. Marghie noted that she added the part about self-nominations and the part about automatic removal under certain circumstances. Marghie said that no matter who makes the decision there should still be a mechanism for automatic removal after a number of absences so it's not left in the hands of someone who has to make the decision based on whether they like the person or not. Tom Loughlin said he agreed with Marghie, it is clear and concise and that is the rule. Bolt said it sounds like we are in general consensus here and the board would work out the details and make it a formal board policy maybe at our next meeting. Jan Edick said that he cautioned limiting the Zoning Board to one alternate. Eddy Moore said that as far as the ZBA goes it takes many years to learn the position. Moore said we have a couple of green members now and they have been on the board for six years and they still don't know everything. Moore said it is going to take at least ten years before they can actually do anything. Moore said it takes as long as it does to be a lawyer. Marghie said that only takes three years. Ed Boynton made the motion to adjourn. Marghie Seymour seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. The meeting adjourned at 11:04 AM.
Littleton has functioned as a Board of Selectmen/Town Manager form of government since 1976.
The Littleton Board of Selectmen meets the 2nd Monday and the 4th Monday of each month at 5:00 PM at the Littleton Community House - Heald Room.
If you would like to be put on the agenda for an upcoming Selectmen's meeting, please contact Ceil Stubbings. Please be prepared with all information needed for the Selectmen to make a decision no later than the Friday before the Selectmen's meeting
G. Michael Gilman, Chairman
Milton T. Bratz, Vice Chairman
Marghie M. Seymour, Selectman
Selectmen's Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Secretary for the Board of Selectmen
125 Main Street
Littleton, NH 03561
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The Town of Littleton prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, marital or family status. The Town of Littleton is an equal opportunity employer.