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2008 - Minutes of May 16, 19, 30 Meetings

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
May 16, 2008

4:30 PM:        Open meeting; Village School.
Quorum present: Curt Wilton (CW), Chair; Tina Skorput Cooper (TSC), Michael Kirchner (MK). Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA). Berkshire Record reporter present.

This being the first meeting following the annual election, Chairman Curt Wilton discusses the re-organization of the Board. CW nominates Tina Skorput Cooper to be Chairperson with MK as Secretary and CW as Clerk to the Board. MK seconds the nomination. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. MK and CW welcome Tina as new Chairperson.

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.

Board had previously signed warrants.

Other Business:
Following a discussion, Board agrees to increase full-time Police Officer hourly rate from $15.40 to $17.50. An employment contract is being negotiated with the full-time officer and will take effect on July 1, 2008. The increase in hourly rate reflects completion of full-time police academy training.

Board reviews ZBA Special Permit allowing Rouge to expand its restaurant business to include the next door building.

Board discusses the most recent letter received from Whiteway Construction regarding Police equipment, which suffered water damage during the Village School reconstruction. Board will continue to hold final payment until the matter is resolved. Copies of all correspondence go to CMS, the Town’s project manager.

Board approves a Village School request from CHP to use the facilities on Tuesday mornings. This is an extension of their previous approval.

Mill Pond aquatic weed removal will begin next Tuesday.

AA relates a discussion held the Rehms and Rob McDermott concerning the new Council on Aging van. Since the Executive Office of Transportation grant application award for a new van has been pushed off by the agency for another eight months, the Selectmen are considering turning down the grant and buying the van through a previously approved town meeting appropriation. An updated quote received this week ($39,752) is down from the quote received last September ($41,754). Rob McDermott, who has professional contacts in the handicap van business has agreed to check this new quote with other vendors and to make sure this quote is for a vehicle that is exactly what the COA is expecting. Rob will report back in a week.

5:00 PM:        Board interviews Chief of Police finalist Michael Stanton. TSC welcomes Mr. Stanton. Mr. Stanton gives an overview of his credentials, work history and why he wants to be the Town’s next Chief of Police.

Alternating among the three members, the Board then asks Mr. Stanton a series of nine interview questions, which are responded to in detail by Mr. Stanton.

Mr. Stanton notes that he worked for 1 ½ years in West Stockbridge as the Chief of Police followed by 20 years as a police officer in Stockbridge. He then detailed his police work resume beginning in 1973.

In response to a question, Mr. Stanton feels that he could easily make the transition from an officer to Chief.

In response to a question asking what his first task would be, Mr. Stanton replies that he would make sure that everything was compliant in the Department, that no requirements were being neglected. He would then take stock of the Department and personnel. He didn’t expect to make any sudden changes unless required.

Mr. Stanton responds to a question on Community Policing by saying that policy should be shaped by the community’s needs and wants.

Mr. Stanton, in response to a question, states that he would work towards strengthening cooperative arrangements with neighboring departments.

In response to a question about Department staffing, Mr. Stanton would review the recent history of activity logs. Activity would drive staffing needs; the lesser the incident level, the lower the staffing need. He did not see the need for an overnight shift at this time.

In response to a question about on-call, Mr. Stanton said that the Chief should be expected to be on-call around the clock, whether it’s 3 PM or 3 AM.

In response to a question about how he would gain the confidence of those who supported the outgoing Chief, Mr. Stanton responds that he would work just as hard for any detractors as he would for supporters. He thought this the biggest challenge facing the new Chief would be to settle the waters caused by the change in Chief.

In response to a question about relationships between Chief and subordinates, Mr. Stanton responds that the Chief is the Chief and needs to make that clear. There needs to be mutual respect between Officers and the Chief. He will not tolerate misconduct. There is a distinction between being friends and being friendly with staff.

In closing, Mr. Stanton suggests that the Board needs to make their selection based on who they see as the best fit for the Town at this time. He feels that he would be that person.

Board thanks Mr. Stanton.

6:00 PM:        The second finalist, William Bartini is introduced by TSC and is asked to give his background.

Mr. Bartini is honored to have been chosen as a finalist. He has been a Police Office in Lee since 1988. He’s been married for the past 10 years.

In response to a question, Mr. Bartini says that he could make the transformation from Patrolman to Chief without any trouble. He would have to cut back on his association with the County Drug Task Force if he was chosen.

In response to a question, Mr. Bartini says that his first priority, if chosen, would be to get to know the people of West Stockbridge. He would review policies and procedures and make changes if necessary.

In response to a question about community policing, Mr. Bartini says that it would be important to meet and greet as many townspeople as possible. He would make himself public and available.

In response to a question about staffing, Mr. Bartini says that he would like to see a full 3-shift coverage. However, budget and need would drive that decision.

Mr. Bartini says that it would be important to mend fences right away. He is friendly with the outgoing Chief. Mr. Bartini would make himself accessible and would seek to settle any problems quickly; not let them linger.

Mr. Bartini states that the Chief needs to be respectful to his staff but shouldn’t be ‘buddy-buddy’. The Chief needs to act professionally and that he and his officers need to held accountable for their actions.

Mr. Bartini notes that he feels very comfortable in West Stockbridge and that he’s looking forward to the chance of working here.

6:15 PM:        Board will take the interviews under advisement and expect to make their decision at their next scheduled regular open meeting.

Other Items:    MK notes that the Board needs to get moving on a Request for Proposals for the old town hall. AA will re-start the process, which had stalled because of uncertainty about proposed zoning changes. The Board doesn’t want to wait. An RFP would note that zoning changes may or may not occur.

6:30 PM:        There being no additional business to discuss, MK makes a motion to adjourn. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

______________________  ______________________  _____________________
Tina Skorput Cooper, Chair      Michael Kirchner                        Curt Wilton

Date: ___________       

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
May 19, 2008

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting; Village School Town Hall.
Quorum present: TSC, CW, MK
BOS reviews and signs warrants.
BOS reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.

6:45 PM:        TSC opens discussion on Chief of Police candidate finalists. The two finalist are William Bartini and Michael Stanton.

CW reads a statement in support of Michael Stanton.

MK reads a statement in support of Michael Stanton.

TSC speaks in favor of Michael Stanton as well.

MK makes a motion to appoint Michael Stanton as Chief of Police. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

7:00 PM:        MK excused from meeting to attend to personal matters.

Council on Aging van discussion. CW gives a review of the history and timeline of where we have been, where we are now and where the Board wished to go regarding the COA van. This statement was in direct response to a statement he had read in the COA Newsletter, Vol. 12, Issue 2. The statement, written by Joan Rehm, read: “But still we have no van and we think it’s time for the Selectboard to act”. This statement makes the appearance that the Board has been sitting back and doing nothing. The fact is that it was the Board who applied for a grant to fund a new van. We were told that awards would not be announced until June ’08. Then, in May, ’08 the Board was informed by the Executive Office of Transportation that awards would not be made until the winter of 2009. Upon learning of the delay, the Board voted 3-0 in early May to order a new van and not to wait for the grant to come through. Norwin Rehm (COA) agreed to the van specifications for the van to be ordered after adding a dual battreys option. The total cost will be $39,807. The van will be delivered in 6 to 8 weeks.

7:30 PM:        Louise Faggioni and Cecil Stannard express their concerns with the crosswalk design and the lack of a sidewalk on the west side of the newly reconstructed Shaker Mill Bridge (b. 1927). They feel that it is a dangerous situation and hazard to pedestrians. CW points out the crosswalks have not been installed and painted yet but will be in a few weeks. The bridge design was approved and accepted by the Town following Public Hearings held approximately 8 years ago – long before the current Board was elected. Although it is assumed that this topic was discussed at the Public Hearings, TSC suggests that the Board contact MassHighway and request an explanation for the change in sidewalks from one side to the other. CW agrees.

8:20 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, CW makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. TSC seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

Meeting Minutes approved by:

_______________________ ______________________  ________________________
Tina Skorput Cooper, Chair      Michael Kirchner                Curt Wilton

Date: ______________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
May 30, 2008

4:30 PM:        Open Meeting; Village School.
Quorum present: Tina Skorput Cooper (TSC), Chair; Curt Wilton (CW). Absent: Michael Kirchner (MK). Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA). No press present.

Board review and approves previous meeting minutes.

Other Items:

TSC asks about a sign at the old bakery on Center St. AA to investigate to see if it is permitted and whether it is lighted. Illuminates signs are disallowed under town zoning by-laws.

TSC recommends, and CW agrees, to place an ad in the Shopper’s Guide for replacement of Building Inspector. Two working inspectors have already made inquiries.

Board reviews a request to use the Village School gym for a birthday party on June 20 from 12:30 to 3:30.

Board schedules a Special Town Meeting for June 30th to take care of housekeeping end of year budget items and to act on a proposed Zone II Wellhead Protection bylaw or regulation.

Board reviews a MEMO from the Town’s insurance company about a claim involving a highway vehicle backing in to a private vehicle.

Town is informed that Maximillian Construction will end their rental of office space at the old Town Hall on June 14, 2008. Maximillian has been paying the Town $750/month rent since the beginning of the Shaker Mill Bridge reconstruction project.

Board reviews a request from Multiple Sclerosis to use town facilities (Village School) as a rest stop during their annual bike ride fund raiser. TSC suggests and CW agrees to ask the event organizers to switch the stop from the Village School to the Town rest area facilities across from the Post Office.

Board reviews a Certificate of Occupancy request for a new home a 3 Pondview Drive. TSC informs the meeting that house may be too close to the property line and the owners have been so informed that they need to seek a variance through the Zoning Board of Appeals. Until such variance is acted on, the C of O cannot be signed off. CW wonders if this problem should have been found out before the house was completed by either the Building Inspector or the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

Board reviews a Priority List as compiled by the AA. The Board will review the list on an on-going basis as a means to track projects and initiatives.

Finance Committee will be meeting on June 17.

5:15 PM:        CW makes a motion to go into Executive Session for the purpose of Collective Bargaining of non-union personnel. The Board will not re-convene to open session upon its completion. TSC seconds the motion. Roll call vote taken: TSC, aye; CW, aye.


Meeting Minutes approved by:

_____________________           ______________________
Tina Skorput Cooper, Chair              Curt Wilton

Date: ____________

Town of West Stockbridge 21 State Line Road, West Stockbridge, MA 01266
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