BOS - December 3, 2013

BOS - December 3, 2013

Postby Suzanne Kane » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:43 pm

Board of Selectmen
December 3, 2013

7:00 PM

• Call to Order
• Pledge of Allegiance
• Chairman’s Announcements
• Citizen’s Forum

1. FY13 Audit – Exit Conference

2. OPEB Policy – 2nd Reading

3. Appointment – Capital Improvement Committee

8:00 PM
4. Hearing – Route 16 Auto Sales

5. Liquor License Renewals

6. Old Elementary School Disposition Committee Update

7. Minutes: November 18, 2013 & November 19, 2013

8. Administrator’s Report

9. Old/New Business

10. Adjournment
Future Agenda Items:

Dec 17th: All other License Renewals

Jan 21st: Class II Hearing; Chief Vinson – Emergency Mgmt Goal Discussion

TBD: Gvmt Study Discussion; Update Master Plan/Housing Authority; Statewide Mutual Aid
December 3, 2013
Approved February 18, 2014

Call to Order

Mr. Bonin called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM in the Resource Room of the Municipal Center.

Board: Tim Bonin, Keith Brown (Absent), Hal Davis, Mike Hughes (Absent), Kevin Morse, Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator), Suzanne Kane (Administrative Assistant)
Melanson & Heath: Jennifer Readington (Supervisor), Frank Byron (Auditor)
Other Staff and Citizens: Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director), Atty. Rich Bowen, John Buco, Griffin Powers

• Pledge of Allegiance (00:11)

• Chairman’s Announcements (00:27)
Mr. Bonin announced that AAA awarded Officer Jacob Schultzberg the Safety Traffic Hero of the Year Award. The Town of Douglas received a Silver Award and a Pedestrian Safety Commendation.

• Citizen’s Forum (01:27)
No citizens came forward.

1. FY13 Audit-Exit Conference (01:31)
In the packet are the Town’s Annual Financial Statements for the FY13 Audit ended June 30, 2013.
Ms. Lovett, Ms. Readington, and Mr. Byron joined the meeting. Mr. Byron stated that there is no management letter this year because the Town’s internal controls are very strong. Ms. Readington presented the auditor’s report, the financial statements, and talked about the trends they are seeing. The Town received a Clean Opinion, and the financials are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, with no exceptions. Ms. Readington went through the financial statements.
Among the items discussed were OPEB, health insurance, Free Cash, Enterprise Funds, bonds, and liability in 2015 for unfunded Worcester County pension benefits.
The Board expressed their gratitude to Mr. Guzinski, Ms. Lovett and the Financial Dept. staff.

2. OPEB Policy-2nd Reading (31:05)
In the packet are the OPEB policy, a trust agreement and related materials.
Ms. Kane presented the changes that have been made since the last meeting. Mr. Guzinski stated that the Board will be asked to approve the policy at the next meeting. Mr. Bonin asked that the Finance Committee review the policy and supply comments. Mr. Guzinski will forward the OPEB policy to the Finance Committee.

3. Appointment-Capital Improvement Committee (34:14)
In the packet is a memo from Suzanne Kane dated November 26, 2013.
Ms. Kane asked that John Furno also be appointed as a Dept. Head.
Mr. Morse made a motion to appoint Brandon Auger and John Furno as Dept. Heads for the Capital Improvement Committee for terms ending June 30, 2014. Mr. Davis seconded the motion. All-Aye.

4. 8:00PM Hearing: Route 16 Auto Sales (46:55)
In the packet are an email from George Stanopolos, a certified letter to Mr. Powers, and related materials and Appendices.
Mr. Bonin opened the public hearing. Mr. Powers joined the meeting. Mr. Bonin read the letter sent to Mr. Powers from Ms. Kane. Mr. Bonin asked if there was anyone present to serve as witness; there were none. Mr. Bonin swore in Mr. Powers and Ms. Kane. Atty. Rich Bowen gave an opening statement regarding Ms. Kane’s investigation and findings.
Mr. Powers apologized. He explained that he had had a partner, Alfred DePrato, who financed him.
Atty. Bowen called Ms. Suzanne Kane, Administrative Assistant, forward as a witness. In response to Atty. Bowen’s inquiries, Ms. Kane outlined her job responsibilities. She stated that she is responsible for handling class II licenses for the Town, which entails collecting all the documentation, handing out the applications, collecting documents and presenting them to the Board of Selectmen. She became concerned regarding the application for Mr. Powers’ expansion of his license after she received a complaint. Mr. Powers had come to her prior to the complaint saying that he wanted to expand his license for the area and change it to an LLC, because he could not get a dealer’s plate. She had Mr. Powers fill out a new application.
Ms. Kane received a complaint against Mr. Powers in October of 2013. The gentleman stated that Mr. Powers had had a license in Bellingham, which was suspended. Ms. Kane remembered that on Mr. Powers’ license application, he stated that he had never had a license before. On the new application and the prior application, he stated that he had never had a license in any other town. Ms. Kane contacted the administrators in the Town of Bellingham, who said that Mr. Powers did have a license there and they sent her a copy of the application. The Bellingham application stated that he had never had a license in any other town.
Upon further investigation, Ms. Kane found reference to a license in Attleboro. Ms. Kane contacted the town offices in Attleboro and asked for a copy of that application. The Attleboro application stated that Mr. Powers had had a previous license in Attleboro. Since he did have licenses in other communities, Ms. Kane stated that Mr. Powers gave false information on the Douglas application.
Ms. Kane stated that she was directed to undertake an investigation on the matter after the complaint. She gathered information to give the Board of Selectmen. At the meeting where she presented that information, the Board directed her to begin a further investigation. As a result of that investigation, the Board requested that this hearing be held. Ms. Kane identified the packet she had presented to the Board of Selectmen. She stated that the documents fairly and accurately summarize the results of her investigation.
She reviewed the series of emails between herself and George Stanopolos, who was the original complainant. She stated that Mr. Stanopolos had sent her an email stating that a friend of his had purchased a vehicle from Mr. Powers for $5,000, it did not pass inspection, and Mr. Powers was not going to do anything about it. In her correspondence with Mr. Stanopolos, she let him know when they would be meeting so he could speak on the issue. Each time, Mr. Stanopolos was not able to attend as he had business elsewhere.
Ms. Kane stated that she is the author of the Selectmen’s Office, Town of Douglas memo dated October 30, 2013. In order to generate the memo, she did the following: internet searches, contacted the Towns of Bellingham and Attleboro by phone and by email, and collected information from a resident who had seen the meeting and done some investigation. Also, one of the Selectmen gave her information.
To determine if Mr. Powers had other licenses, she contacted the towns where he supposedly had licenses and asked them if they would send her copies, and they did. At the discussion meeting, Mr. Powers claimed that his father, also named Griffin Powers, got the licenses, not him. Ms. Kane later realized that in order to fill out an application for the Town of Douglas, a CORI check is needed. On the CORI check, the document stated that Mr. Powers’ father’s name is John, not Griffin. At that point she started to do more internet research to find out who Mr. Powers is related to. She did not find that he was related to another Griffin Powers of the right age to be his father. A resident sent her an obituary of someone she assumed was Mr. Powers’ brother, which showed that their father’s name is John.
Ms. Kane contacted the Towns of Attleboro and Bellingham and sent them a still picture of Mr. Powers and a link to the video of the discussion meeting that Mr. Powers had attended. Both towns identified Mr. Powers as the person they had issued a license to.
Ms. Kane identified Mr. Powers’ license application as Appendix 6. Item #10 on the application does ask Mr. Powers if he had applied for licenses elsewhere. He answered “No,” and he did not identify any towns where he had had a license. He answered that he had never had a license revoked or suspended, which had been issued in Massachusetts or any other state. Ms. Kane’s opinion is that his answers relating to a license in another town are false because he had a license in Bellingham that was revoked and he had a license in Attleboro. After speaking to the administrators in Attleboro, they stated that after Mr. Powers’ license was issued, he “just disappeared”. That license was not suspended or revoked.
Ms. Kane also investigated whether or not Mr. Powers had employees. She stated that the process for a license is that the state asks Ms. Kane to be sure the applicant protects their employees by having Workers Compensation insurance. Atty. Bowen stated that is required by Mass. General Laws, Chapter 152. If an applicant does not have Worker’s Compensation, they need to sign a state affidavit swearing that they are a sole proprietor and have no employees. When Mr. Powers came into her office for the first license and then for the expansion, he did not have any Worker’s Compensation insurance. She asked him if he had any employees, and he replied, “No”. He handed Ms. Kane the affidavit, which was not complete. The Building Inspector pointed out that his business certificate stated that there were no employees.
Ms. Kane began to doubt the veracity of his statement that he had no employees when he was at the meeting to discuss the complaint. At that meeting, Mr. Powers mentioned that he had three employees. To prepare the October 30th memo, she relistened to the meeting and jotted down time stamps of Mr. Powers’ statements. At 1:27:53, in response to Atty. Bowen’s inquiry, Mr. Powers stated that he had three employees.
Ms. Kane questioned the dollar value of the vehicles being sold on the premises because Mr. Stanopolos complained that his friend’s daughter had purchased a car from Mr. Powers for $5,000. Mr. Powers was accused of selling a car over $5,000, which he claims is a false complaint because he does not sell cars over $2,500. At the meeting, Mr. Powers stated that his inventory base is between $1,500 and $2,500. The Board of Selectmen went on Rte. 16 Auto Sales’ website and printed off the entire inventory, which shows that Mr. Powers has inventory in excess of what is allowed on the lot and prices are as high as $6,500. A sampling of that inventory is included in the packet as Appendix 17.
Ms. Kane also investigated the Lemon Law because Mr. Powers stated at the discussion meeting that he makes sure that all cars he sells pass inspection at his cost because of the Mass. Lemon Law. He stated that, according to the Massachusetts Lemon Law, he has to “guarantee all vehicles must pass inspection, unless stated otherwise.” In the packet is a copy of the Lemon Law, which states that vehicles covered under the Lemon Laws are vehicles that have fewer than 125,000 miles on the odometer when sold. Most of Mr. Powers vehicles do not fall under the Lemon Law by the odometer rule, since most are over 125,000 miles.
Atty. Bowen offered Ms. Kane’s investigative package to the Board as Exhibit 1. Ms. Kane added that Mr. Powers had mentioned that the reason he was going for an LLC is that he could not get a dealer’s plate from the Dept. of Transportation. She contacted the Dept. of Transportation, who stated that a dealer’s plate can be obtained by a sole proprietor.
Mr. Powers said he cannot get a dealer’s plate because his tax ID number is in the name of an LLC. As far as the prices of his cars, he has one for $6,900 and one other that exceeds $4,000. He stated that in the State of Massachusetts, as a dealer, the Lemon Law requires that you have to guarantee that every car you sell passes inspection. He apologized. He feels the complaint from Mr. Stanopolos is actually from his ex-partner under a false name. He did not dispute anything stated by Ms. Kane tonight.
Mr. Powers called Mr. John Buco as a witness. Mr. Buco was sworn in. He stated his address as 496 Beverage Hill Avenue, Pawtucket, RI. He stated that he has been in the car business for many years and came to help Mr. Powers fix his cars. He stated that his job is not easy. In response to Atty. Bowen’s question, he stated that he was not involved in the Bellingham or Attleboro licensed businesses. He stated that his mother was murdered in Pawtucket three years ago. He works for no pay for her. He stated that he is not an employee. He stated that he receives no compensation from Mr. Powers. He does not receive a commission or referral fees. He has no other business relationship with Mr. Powers. He stated that he does not have a garage. He sends the cars to a friend of his who has been in the car business for many years. He mentioned the following as being among those to whom he sends cars: Portillo’s Auto, Bedrock in Douglas, and Gary Farmer of Woonsocket. Mr. Powers stated that the cars come from Central Mass Auto Auction. Mr. Buco stated that all the cars have problems and,”trying to keep everybody happy is not easy.” Everyone is going through tough times. He tries to make the cars safe for the customers and their families.
Mr. Morse asked Mr. Powers why Alfred DePrato is not listed for E&G Auto Sales, Bellingham. Mr. Powers explained that Mr. DePrato was not listed because he was a silent partner.
Mr. Powers stated that he “just left” Attleboro because the rent on Rte. 1 was too high. Mr. Morse asked why Mr. Powers told him at the last meeting that it was his father’s business. Mr. Powers apologized. He is trying to move forward from his past.
Mr. Powers stated that the only realistic complaint is from someone who put a deposit on a car and came back three months later for his deposit. Mr. Powers stated that he gave that deposit back. Mr. Powers stated that he has 20 cars on layaway at Central Mass. Mr. Powers stated that he gives a 90-day warranty. He stated that he has employees that have families that depend on him.
Mr. Morse asked Mr. Buco why he said at the last meeting that he was an employee of Mr. Powers. Mr. Buco stated that he considers himself an employee because he works there, but he does not get paid. Mr. Buco stated that because his mother was brutally murdered, he is not mentally stable. The investigation is ongoing. He works seven days a week. Mr. Morse does not feel Mr. Powers has a lot of credibility. Mr. Morse does not feel Mr. Buco was honest with the Board.
Mr. Morse brought Mr. Powers’ attention to Appendix 17, which shows an inventory of 96 vehicles listed from $2,950 to $6,950. The Appendix is about two months old. Atty. Bowen pulled up Rte. 16 Auto Sales on the Internet. Mr. Powers listed some vehicles that he has sold and the amounts. He stated that there is a difference between the price that is asked and what it is sold for. Mr. Morse feels the advertising is misleading. Mr. Buco said that the Yukon listed for $6,950 is a rarity. Mr. Powers drives the Yukon every day. Mr. Buco stated that all of the cars are listed for $2,500 to $3,000 and they get about $1,800 to $1,900 for them, and he has to fix them. Atty. Bowen brought up the website and did a sort by price. He read the inventory and the prices.
Mr. Morse brought everyone’s attention to the meeting notes of November 16, 2009 where many of the same complaints expressed about Mr. Powers’ business run by Mr. DePrato are the same type of complaints being raised now in Douglas. Mr. Powers stated that there are 40 cars on the lot now. The license is for 40 cars. It was brought to Mr. Powers’ attention that his website lists 107 cars. Mr. Powers stated that the cars are at a storage lot. Most people call for an appointment and they have to bring the car from the storage lot to the sales lot.
Mr. Powers stated that he has employees who are on his payroll. He has a porta-potty on site for their use.
Mr. Powers stated that an employee named Dave is responsible to be sure the licensee is in compliance with the license. Mr. Powers’ sister also works part-time and does the computer stuff.
Atty. Bowen gave his closing statements. He stated that the complaint is significant only in that it lead Ms. Kane to look more closely at the license. In her investigation, she found that the applicant had lied to the Board. The application is clear that it is to be answered truthfully. Atty. Bowen feels there are clear violations, and he feels the applicant has admitted to those violations. He feels the Board is under no obligation to give Mr. Powers another break. It is well within the Board’s discretion to revoke the license.
Mr. Powers stated that he does have Worker’s Compensation. He stated that he did not lie about the price of his cars. What he gets for his cars averages between $2,000-$2,500.
Mr. Davis made a motion to close the public hearing at 8:50 PM. Mr. Morse seconded the motion. All-Aye.
Mr. Guzinski stated that, to his knowledge, there have been no new violations. Atty. Bowers has trouble suggesting the individual be able to move to an LLC under these circumstances. It would be easier to take care of this license and discipline related thereto before another license is granted. Ms. Kane stated that the license, as it stands now, expires January 1, 2014 and there is no renewal application from Mr. Powers for his current license. She stated that the application for the expansion is incomplete, and the Building Inspector is waiting to hear from Mr. Powers.
Atty. Bowen will review the Open Meeting Law to see if there has been a change which allows absent board members to review tapes in order to participate. If this is not allowed, the two absent members would have to step aside for the purposes of this discussion. Mr. Guzinski believes the Town has accepted this provision. Mr. Davis advised Mr. Powers to have a completed application ready to be extended.
Mr. Davis made a motion to continue the matter of the revocation of the license to December 17, 2013. Mr. Morse seconded the motion. All-Aye.

5. Liquor License renewals (35:43)
In the packet is a list of all the licenses up for renewal, along with related materials.
Ms. Kane presented the applications and stated that they are all complete. She asked that the Board make part of the approval that the license holders comply with all the recommendations set by the Fire Chief during their inspections.
Mr. Morse made a motion to approve the Applications for Liquor Licenses under the stipulation of meeting the requirements or recommendations made to these businesses by the Fire Chief. Mr. Davis seconded the motion. All-Aye.

6. Old Elementary School Disposition Committee Update (38:25)
This item was passed over until the next meeting.

7. Approval of the Minutes (38:49)
November 18, 2013: Mr. Davis made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 18, 2013 Board of Selectmen meeting as presented. Seconded by Mr. Morse. All–Aye.
November 19, 2013: Mr. Davis made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 19, 2013 Board of Selectmen meeting as presented. Seconded by Mr. Morse. All–Aye.

8. Administrator’s Report (40:00)
In the packet are the Dept. of Revenue Tax Rate Recapitulation of Douglas and related materials.
Mr. Guzinski stated that the FY2014 tax rate of $16.23/$1000 has been certified by the Bureau of Accounts.
He stated that lighting improvements are ongoing at the Municipal Building, the Fire Station and Highway Garage. The improvements are being paid for through a National Grid grant and through the electricity bills. The Town will save approximately $30,000/year in two years. They are also looking at improvements at the Library and the Water/Sewer Dept.
Mr. Guzinski will ask the Treasurer for an update regarding payments for the town-owned properties that were recently sold at auction. Another auction is planned for late spring/early fall.

9. Old/New Business (44:14)
Old Business
Mr. Davis will be meeting with the Worcester Business Development Corp. to ask them to present a more detailed contract for the Board to review. Mr. Guzinski will need to have discussions with Atty. Bowen about the procurement aspects. It was decided to have the Worcester Business Development Corp. come in to show the Board the type of services they offer.
Mr. Guzinski stated that a new Senior Center sign is in the process of being purchased, and it should be installed in the next couple of weeks.
New Business
There was no new business to discuss.
Mr. Davis made a motion at 7:50 PM to hold a 10-minute recess. Mr. Morse seconded the motion. All-Aye.

11. Adjournment (1:50:47)
Mr. Davis made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:05 PM. Mr. Morse seconded the motion. All – Aye.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Suzanne Kane
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 2:01 pm

Return to 2013 Selectmen Meeting Agendas and Minutes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests