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2015 - Minutes of October 5, 19, 26 Meetings
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
October 5, 2015

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Earl Moffatt (EM), Chair; Peter Skorput (PS); Curt Wilton (CW). Also present: Admin Asst Mark Webber (AA). No press present.

Board reviews and signs the Special Town Meeting warrant scheduled for October 19, 2015 at 7:00 PM. Constable Paul Faggioni is present and signs the service and posts the warrant in the 5 required posting areas in Town.

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.
Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.

Board acts on the following posted agenda items:  
 
Highway Supt Curt Wilton gives an update on Highway Dept items, including: paving project on Lenox Road will begin on October 8th. Low bid has been awarded to W.E. Williams. He recommends that the road be closed to all through traffic on that day to facilitate a faster job. Lenox Rd residents will be allowed access. Board agrees; Palmer Paving will begin the resurfacing of Route 102 on the west side of Town beginning on October 13th. Project will take approximately 3 weeks to complete and will include all new catch basins and drainage structures and new 5' sidewalks. This entire project is paid by State funds; work is progressing on schedule for the Rte 41/Cobb Road bridge replacement. One full width lane is expected to be opened by winter to allow Town plow trucks to travel through. Curt viewed the Rosenberger driveway on Stockbridge Road in response to concerns about cars having difficulty exiting onto the street. Curt notes that the driveway is very steep and that the new sidewalk is at the same height as the old one but that he will offer the owners a few options on helping with the transition; Curt reports that he has purchased a large quantity of winter road salt off of the State contract bid at a price of $72/ton.

AA informs the Board that information on the Town's Berkshire Residential Electricity Aggregation Plan will be available shortly so that it can be distributed to residents. The Town extended – along with the other 11 Berkshire communities – its membership in the Aggregation for another year beginning November 1st. New rates will take effect on December 1, 2015, which will be approximately 12% less than current rates. Furthermore, all electricity supplied to Aggregation participants will be green as its source will be from Maine Hydroelectric. The same opt in/opt out without penalty will apply under the agreement extension.

7:00 PM:        Town Custodian Dominick Luchi (DL)addresses the Board on a number of issues
concerning his employment, projects both done and anticipated, and general working atmosphere.

DL states that he and PS have had differences in the past and he would like to put those issue to bed.

CW states that there should be no workplace harassment and that the Town Buildings and Grounds Superintendent job description had been approved by a previous Board and is still in force.

CW feels that all concerns and complaints should be directed directly to DL so that he can be aware of them immediately and address them. His Town phone number is 232 0300x310. CW adds that he, as Selectman, has had no issues with DL nor have any issues been brought directly to his attention by residents or others.

EM notes that he has had no negative feedback about DL's work. EM feels that further clarification of the position job description is needed to spell out responsibilities as they relate to other Town departments and commissions. Again, communications from other Departments or Boards should go directly to DL.

DL would like the Board to assist in developing a program of ongoing maintenance items that can be adhered to. He adds that while the Parks and Recreation Commission does a great job and volunteer a lot to time for the Town that both they and he would benefit from a clearer understanding of project and maintenance responsibilities.

DL suggests that a new line item be added to next year's annual Town budget for Buildings and Grounds maintenance that can be tracked and accounted for. Today, all expenses are lumped under a single heading.

DL notes that the Fire/Highway building needs a new roof and related maintenance work.

DL provides the Board with a list of items needing attention (attached). DL also provides an accounting of toilet paper used at the public restrooms in response to previous meeting discussion on the topic (attached).

DL then speaks about the Visitor's Booth that is located on his property at the Shaker Mill Tavern. DL has historically paid its electric bills, insurance and repairs. EM asks what the current status is on the booth and the downtown merchants association. DL responds that there were to have vacated on Labor Day. CW suggests that the two parties work out a deal, which might be a better solution than utilizing wall space for tourism/business information at the public restrooms. EM suggests that there should be some degree of separation between the merchants association and the Town as they are not a government entity. Board has a brief discussion on how the current information came to be at its current location. EM notes that it started and was maintained by the Kiwanis Club which is no longer active and at some point, the merchants assumed responsibility for it. PS asks how similar situations work in Great Barrington and Stockbridge with information booths located on Town property. AA will investigate and follow up with the Board. EM adds that the booth's present location seems fine.

DL then notes that he has an issue with not receiving a raise in two years. DL provides more documentation on his activities and current and prior mileage data for the Town's custodian truck. DL notes that the part time lifeguard makes $15/hr and DL makes only a dollar more.

In response to DL statement that PS was paid more than DL is for the same position when PS had the job and that he had a part time helper as well, PS responds that he started at a higher rate because he came over from the Town's Highway Dept and started as Town Custodian at the same rate and that he had CDL and Hydraulics licenses that DL does not have. Furthermore, PS states that he never asked for a helper and that he went for a year without a raise as well as Town Custodian.

PS takes offense to DL's statement that PS did a lot of just driving around, based on DL's reading of historic mileage/gasoline records.

EM states that all sides need to step back and consider a few items at a future meeting including pay rate and specific buildings and grounds responsibilities. Board needs to prioritize repairs and to come up with a program and attached budget during the upcoming budget season. CW notes that a majority of the Board granted a pay increase to DL of $1.50/hr back at their August 17th meeting which would be retroactive to July 1 of the current year. Board agrees to continue tonight's discussion until October 26th after they've had time to review all of DL's information (attached).

DL then asks to be considered as a resident and begins asking PS a number of questions in his role as Fire Chief. AA notes that this discussion is not appropriate for tonight's meeting as the topic was not listed on the meeting agenda and would have to be taken up at a future meeting with proper posting. No further discussion.

8:10 PM:        Evie Kerswell, of the Mill Pond Tenants Association, addresses the Board on ongoing
issues and concerns at the Park.

Evie speaks about a new trailer at the Park and is wondering how many are allowed. This makes 36 trailers at the Park. Evie notes that there are ongoing issues with septic and water service and has spoken with the Building Inspector. EM notes that the Board of Health has some authority over the Park via its annual licensing that is required. BOH will follow up on septic issues and EM notes that the Sewer and Water Commission is taking action on the numerous water leaks at the Park.

Evie and the Board express frustration over the ownership status of the Park. The Park was scheduled to be transferred from the current owner to the Gennari family - which were the former owners – on October 1st but the sale was apparently delayed. AA has asked Town Counsel for an update on who really owns the Park and who to deal with on issues of concern. AA informs Evie that trailer parks are regulated in MA by the Attorney General. Their office has enforcement authority beyond any town board or entity and that the Association should be working with the AG's office to address their concerns. Evie will do so.

8:25 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, CW makes a motion to
adjourn. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Earl Moffatt, Chair                            Peter Skorput                                    Curt Wilton

Date: __________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
October 19, 2015

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Earl Moffatt (EM), Chair; Peter Skorput (PS); Curt Wilton (CW). Also present: Admin Asst Mark Webber (AA). Press present: Local Yokel.

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.
Boards reviews and approves weekly warrants.

7:00 PM:        Special Town Meeting convenes. Town Clerk advises Town Moderator Gene Dellea that
a quorum is present (23 registered voters). Moderator opens the Special Town Meeting and Town Clerk reads the notice of service.

7:20 PM:        Special Town Meeting is closed by the Moderator. All articles approved.

7:25 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, CW makes a motion to
adjourn the meeting. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Earl Moffatt, Chair                            Peter Skorput                                    Curt Wilton

Date: __________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
October 26, 2015

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Earl Moffatt (EM), Chair; Peter Skorput (PS); Curt Wilton (CW). Also present: Admin Asst Mark Webber (AA). Press present: Local Yokel.

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.
Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.

6:50 PM:        The Town's Wired West representative Steve Sautman gives the Board an update on
Wired West and Mass Broadband Institute (MBI) activities (materials attached). Steve discusses a draft operating agreement which may be ready to sign in January  2016 between participating communities and Wired West. Document will be forwarded to Town Counsel for review. Steve also provides a draft letter in support of pending legislation that would allow towns to issue continuing 1-yr obligation notes instead of going out to permanently bond for 20 years, the period of the approved bonding for $1.8m borrowing to build out the high speed system to every home. Steve will be speaking with Charter Cable representatives to get an update on Charter's plans to upgrade the W. Stockbridge cable system to provide high speed as well. Board notes that the Town is in a unique position of courting two proposals, each of which would be providing similar products. Steve will attend a Wired West informational meeting to be held next Friday from 4-6 PM at the Becket Town Hall.  Board thanks Steve for his ongoing volunteer efforts on behalf of the Town.

7:10 PM:        Per MGL Chapter 30A, Section 21A(3), EM makes a motion to go into executive
session for the purposes of discussing strategy with respect to collective bargaining and to return to open session upon its conclusion. CW seconds the motion. Voice vote taken: EM, aye, PS, aye, CW, aye.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

7:45 PM:        Board returns to open session.

Based on discussions during just concluded executive session, EM makes a motion to approve Chief of Police Thomas Rubino's recommendation to sponsor and send West Stockbridge part-time police officer Miguel Santana to the full-time police officer academy for the purpose of making him the Town's full time police officer. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. The next Academy begins in March 2016.

AA informs the Board that notices have been placed on the Town's website and the next issue of the Local Yokel that the Town's agreement with Colonial Power and the 11-town Berkshire Electric Aggregation has been extended for another 12 months beginning November 1, 2015. The new rate, effective 11/1/15 through 10/31/16 will be $.104/kW for participating residents. National Grid's rates will rise to $.130 beginning 11/1/15 for the next 6 months. Residents are reminded that they always have the opportunity to switch back and forth between Colonial Power (Hampshire Power) and National Grid, or to choose whichever power provided they wish. The benefit of the Hampshire/Colonial Power Berkshire Aggregation is that there is no penalty for opting in and out and that Hampshire/Colonial Power's electric supply will be from a 100% green source – Maine Hydroelectric.

Board reviews a letter (attached) from BHRSD Superintendent Peter Dillon inviting Town representatives to participate in a regional school district agreement study committee along with the towns of Stockbridge and Great Barrington. The letter asks for one representative each from the Board's of Selectmen and Finance Committee and 3 at residents-at-large to participate. Following a discussion, Board appoints AA as their representative since all 3 members have busy schedules. FinCom has been asked to put forward a representative. No dates have been set yet for committee meetings. It is noted that the committee will be comprised of 6 individuals from each of the 3 BHRSD member towns.

Board announces the annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban for all town roads. Effective from November 1 through April 30th during the overnight hours from midnight to 7:00 AM.

Dominick Luchi addresses the Board with issues and concerns brought to the Board's attention in writing at a previous meeting. Dominick asks Fire Chief Peter Skorput (PS) to address the written questions. PS states that since he is an unpaid position as Fire Chief that he has no public conflicts and can't be compared to the Stockbridge fire chief because their situations are different. PS states that he is not required to file disclosure forms. PS notes that some volunteer Fire/EMS members are more active than others and that the annual stipends given to members is based on effort and attendance. One member refused his annual stipend and asked that it be distributed to the younger members. PS states that his daughter has received annual stipends in the past based on her attendance as a Department member. PS notes that he was appointed Fire Chief by an earlier Select Board, of which he was not a member. Therefore, he has no conflict when signing warrants pertaining to the Fire/EMS. In response to Mr Luchi's statement that Peter has people following and watching Dominick during working hours, PS asks Mr Luchi to give him the names. Mr Luchi does not. PS states that his Department does test fire hydrants. A few of them need some work. PS states that all Fire trucks and equipment are in compliance, good working order and registered properly. PS states that he is sick and tired of being threatened with being sued for harassment by Mr Luchi. AA states that the discussion is heading towards being inappropriate for an open meeting and should cease. If the discussion must continue then it would be better suited to executive session under strict executive session rules. Board agrees and ends the discussion and sets an executive session meeting to be posted for November 2, 2015 at 7:30 PM.

Board has a brief discussion on buildings and grounds items and agrees that Buildings and Grounds supt Dom Luchi should provide a list of capital and repair items based upon priority need so that the Board and FinCom can address them during the upcoming budget season.

8:20 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, CW makes a motion to
adjourn. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting Minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Earl Moffatt, Chair                            Peter Skorput                                    Curt Wilton

Date: __________



 
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