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2016 - Minutes of July 8, 22, 25 Meetings
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
July 8, 2016
Location: main meeting room, 21 State Line Road

8:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Curt Wilton (CW), Chair; Earl Moffatt (EM). Peter Skorput (PS), not present. Also present: Admin Asst Mark Webber (AA).

EM makes a motion to enter executive session per GL Chapter 30A, Section 21(a) (3) to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining. CW seconds the motion. Voice vote taken: CW, aye; EM, aye.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

9:25 PM:        With executive session completed, Board returns to open session.

Board has a general discussion on the options for police department coverage in the future and how the police department should be structured. Board discusses contacting State Police to ask what level and type of coverage they could supply. Board discusses the process for the Chief of Police Search Committee and notes that the Moderator will appoint.

CW notes that he spoke with Brian Duggan, Municipal Resources Institute (MRI), the firm hired to conduct a review/assessment/audit of the West Stockbridge Fire Department. CW states that he was told that a more in depth financial study of the Department and operations to address financial issues and allegations raised in prior public meetings would require a second contract as it was not specified as part of the current study as approved. CW notes that the added study would cost in the range of $3,500.  Following discussion, EM makes a motion to approve the study, have MRI send a new agreement and to authorize the AA to approve the agreement, provided that the cost does not exceed the $3,500. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

WSPD part time officer Joe Pravia enters the meeting room and expresses his anger and frustration of not being paid for a work detail that he had worked several weeks ago for Charter. CW asks Officer Pravia to calm down and the Board would talk to him. Following an exchange, CW informs Officer Pravia that the Town's policy has been and continues to be that the Chief of Police handles detail billing and that detail officers get paid once the Town gets paid from the vendor that called for the work detail. No one is holding back his detail pay and that he needs to be patient. Officer Pravia then exits.

9:50 AM:        There being no additional business to discuss, EM makes a motion to adjourn the
meeting. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes accepted by:

__________________________      __________________________
Curt Wilton, Chair                             Earl Moffatt

Date: __________


Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
July 22, 2016

1:10 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Curt Wilton (CW), Chair; Earl Moffatt (EM); Peter Skorput (PS). Also present: Admin Asst Mark Webber (AA). Press present: Local Yokel.

CW opens the meeting and welcomes West Stockbridge Police Department (WSPD) part-time police officer Frank Murphy FM), as invited, to discuss ideas on the transition period between next week when Chief of Police Rubino leaves his employment and the hiring of a new Chief of Police.

CW wants reinstatement of two-shift police coverage; 8-4 and 4 to midnight. Today, two shift coverage is spotty.

CW suggests that a pay adjustment for Officer Murphy needs to be discussed reflecting additional temporary responsibilities and will be scheduled for a future executive session.

CW would like to name Officer Murphy as the Department's 'Officer in Charge'. EM and PS agree.

CW also wishes to name Officer Murphy as Detail Officer; the officer who schedules and fills police details for road work and utilities' operations. Board agrees.

CW states that Officer Murphy will now be in charge of officer scheduling, police details, payroll submission and firearms permit applications for the interim period. Board and FM agree.

FM suggests that the Town consider hiring an administrative assistant for the Department to help out with scheduling, record keeping, and general office and coordination duties. Doing so would free up officers for core duties. FM states that he knows someone currently working in that capacity at a neighboring department, who might be interested in working 6-12 hours per week. A general discussion follows and the Board would consider such a hire, which might be temporary or permanent going forward.

FM states that he has three or four officers that might be willing to work for WSPD.

CW suggests that the Board meet again on 7-25-16 and schedule an agenda item to meet these candidates. Board agrees although PS has a previously scheduled meeting that he'll be attending. CW outlines the process for hiring and appointing part-time police officers.

Following a discussion on pay rates for part time officers and comparisons with surrounding communities, EM makes a motion to increase part-time officer pay from the current $18/hr to $20/hr. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. Change will take effect on the next pay period. CW states that the Town must be competitive with surrounding towns, otherwise, West Stockbridge will continue to struggle to keep recruit officers. Area pay rates for part time officers ranges from $18 to $22 per hour.

CW suggests that a general police discussion follow up meeting will be scheduled for next Friday, 7/29 at a time to be determined. Board agrees.

CW thanks FM for stepping up to fill a need. Both PS and EM agree.

1:45 PM:        EM makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in
favor.

Meeting minutes accepted by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Curt Wilton, Chair                             Earl Moffatt                                     Peter Skorput

Date: __________


Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
July 25, 2016

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

Board approves previous meeting minutes.

Following review, Board approves a Special Tax Agreement with Ameresco Solar (attached) for a 650 kW solar array to be constructed on State land situated at Interchange 1 of the MassPike. This agreement was negotiated by the Town's professional assessing service, RRG, and will provide the Town with new fixed personal property tax income of $8,113 in year one following completion, with a 2 ½ % escalator through year 20 of the agreement, ending in a payment of $12,970. A future town meeting vote to accept this agreement is required. Board notes that this is 'found money' and thanks RRG principal Harald Scheid for his efforts.

Following review, Board approves and signs letter of support (attached) to Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) for a grant agreement between MBI and Charter/Spectrum, which will provide funding to Charter/Spectrum for a build out of high speed fiber and equipment to the final 10% of homes in West Stockbridge that Charter/Spectrum currently does not serve. CW comments that by the end of calendar year 2017, 100% of West Stockbridge residents will have the option to receive high speed internet via Charter/Spectrum.

AA reports that the Town's Cable TV Commission met with Charter/Spectrum head of government relations Tom Cohan and Town Counsel Bill Hewig on July 22, 2016 for a follow up review and negotiation of the Town's cable TV license for renewal. Following negotiations, all parties agreed to key elements of the proposed 10-year license renewal. Charter/Spectrum will provide an updated version shortly, based on this meeting, to the Selectmen for their review and approval.

AA informs the Board that a general Town tree services bid has been advertised and bids are due on August 15, 2016.

Board signs paperwork for a renewable State House Note in the amount of $113,600 at an interest rate of 0.85% for the Town's new highway department loader.

Board discusses concern raised by resident Richard Squailia regarding submission by the Town Clerk of Article 14 of the FY '17 Annual Town Meeting to the Attorney General, which proposed 'citizen speak time' be added to agendas at public body meetings. The assertion that the bylaw was not properly processed proved incorrect as the AG's office has confirmed its receipt. Mr Squailia comments that he has followed up on the matter with the AG's office and that a satisfactory resolution seems to be in the works.
Board reviews a sign permit application as submitted by the owners of Fort Hill Farm, Pittsfield, for a seasonal vegetable business located at the corner of Main and Harris streets. Through some miscommunication between the owners and the Building Inspector, the banner sign was erected prior to Selectmen approval. The sign exceeds the zoning bylaws by approximately 8 sq ft. The Board expresses their willingness to resolve the issue and give conditional approval provided that the owners reduce the sign by turning back a small portion of the banner in order to comply. The owner then complains that they should be allowed to keep the sign as it is. CW responds that an alternative would be to deny the permit, remove the sign and seek relief through the Zoning Board of Appeals if they didn't like the Board's attempt at compromise. The owner's agree       to reduce the size of the sign and thank the Board.

7:10 PM:        CW welcomes part time police officer Frank Murphy for a discussion on the transitional
period between Chief of Police Rubino's resignation, effective July 28th and the hiring of a new Chief, which may be some months away.

EM notes that the Chief's position has been advertised and that applications are due on August 15th and that Town Moderator Gene Dellea has appointed a Chief of Police Search Committee of the following residents: Larry Tonini; Jill Pixley; Kathy Davis; Joe Roy; Mark Webber. Mark will act as the committee's facilitator and not as a voting member. The Moderator has also solicited former Stockbridge Police Chief Rick Wilcox as a committee member. The Committee has received a charge (attached) and will review applications and send their recommendation of 2-3 finalists for the Selectmen to interview in public session. Accordingly, a new Chief may not be on board until sometime in the fall.

Officer Murphy introduces Tracy Dunn, the Lee Police Dept Administrative Assistant for the past 14 years. Officer Murphy recommends Tracy be hired to assist the Department during the transition to process firearms permits, payroll, details and other office duties.  It is suggested that she work a few afternoon/evenings per week for 12-18 hours per week. Board agrees that the services proposed are indeed necessary and may or may not stay in place with a new Chief. Board authorizes AA to negotiate compensation and schedule with Tracy.

Officer Murphy then introduces 4 candidates for position of part-time police officers: Matthew Fenton; Ted Crosby; Cody Schaefer and; Sean Murphy. Officers Crosby and Fenton also have current paramedic and or EMT credentials. All have current or are in the process of obtaining all required certifications and training. All officers have experience in other jurisdictions and will undergo shadow training in West Stockbridge prior to being assigned to solo duty. Following a discussion, CW makes a motion to appoint all gentlemen as part-time police officers. EM seconds the motion. Vote taken3-0 in favor.

Board discusses a letter received from the Town of Lenox informing of upcoming Lenox Road closing. Lenox needs to replace a more than 100 year old water main and Lenox Road will be closed Monday through Friday from the top of the hill near Olivia's Outlook to the intersection with rte 183 near Tanglewood beginning shortly after Labor Day. The road will be re-opened for weekends.

Board discusses 2 options for a used pickup truck to be purchased for use by the Town custodian to replace the old government surplus truck. CW is granted permission to investigate further with the dealers. This purchase was approved at this year's Annual Town Meeting.

Board approves a Village School use request for an event on August 28th using the playing fields.

8:15 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, EM makes a motion to
adjourn the meeting. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes accepted by:

__________________________      __________________________
Curt Wilton, Chair                             Earl Moffatt

Date: __________


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