BOS - March 5, 2008 Government Study Workshop

BOS - March 5, 2008 Government Study Workshop

Postby Suzanne Kane » Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:29 am

Douglas Board of Selectmen
Government Study Workshop Minutes
March 5, 2008
Approved November 18, 2008

Call to Order:
Chair Mike Hughes called the workshop to order at 6:05 pm in the Resource Room at the Municipal Center.
In attendance: Vice Chair John Bombara, Paula Brouillette, Mitch Cohen, Scott Medeiros, Executive Administrator Mike Guzinski

Chair Announcements: No agenda, open discussion what we’re trying to accomplish and leave having some concrete tasks accomplished. Hold the meeting to 2 ½ hours max.

-Executive Administrator: Start with the position we work with most often. Give Mike (Guzinski) some direction, hand over responsibilities as soon as possible, transfer more authority in different degrees, either by Bylaw, Change of Government, act of a Charter, Ballot questions, Town Manager. Need a bylaw, not a policy, that clarifies Mike’s expanding role, and this Boards changes. It makes sense for bylaws to be developed that solidifies what the Administrators role is, adds stability and consistency that is the position, regardless of who’s on the Board.

-Board of Selectmen: Take a more active roll initially, review recommendations and findings presented by the Government Study, focus on Selectmen Policy to be reviewed and feedback provided by Mike Guzinski how to proceed, and whether the Board feels they can conceivably be changed or not.

-Charter Commission: Haven’t formally decided we need one, an 18 – 24 month process, ease transition by making changes as we go along and see how it works out. Biggest concern is education to the public, their reception and / or even comfortable with the change.
Mike Guzinski The risk with a Charter, is you go through a two year process, it could fail at a ballot vote then back to square one. If you build a base of bylaws which essentially establishes the basis of a charter and it fails, you can fall back on the bylaws. Without a Charter the bylaws are the base laws of the community short of what the state law says and sets up your system of government unless there’s a state law that prohibits it for your operational government.

Treasurer / Collector Positions / Finance Department: Lengthy Discussion
-Treasurer
: Right now works from MGL, if appointed would be under local control
-Audit done by DOR: Recommends a Financial Department, part might be in positions but we’re looking to create a financial organization. Mike Guzinski Will look how to proceed and the steps you would take with some of the recommendations in the study and end up with a Financial Department
-Conversion: The two positions be converted from elected to hired, as any other department head and responsible to the Town Manager. No legal reason why you can’t go that route. Elected Officials do not come under the purview of this Board, under state law they would continue to the end of their current term and stay in those positions unless the appointing authority made a change. If a new person or incumbent is elected, they would be considered an elected official for the next three years until the end of their term, unless a special election is held before the annual. Making those positions appointed evolves around making sure we have qualified people in those two very important positions in Town.
-Consolidate: The two positions, structure the Finance Department to hire someone in the role as Finance Director responsible for that department and report directly to the Town Administrator. Once an official is appointed, unless there’s a bylaw that grants them certain protection, a simple bylaw can eliminate or create positions so you can consolidate and make the system more stable.
-Finance Team: Accountant, Treasurer, Collector, Assistant Assessor.
Mike Guzinski As far as an overall plan, if you were to have a bylaw in place go into effect the same time you were to make any kind of change from elected to appointed officials and creating a finance department, it would answer all financial questions.
-Finance Director: Basically would report to the Executive Administrator, all of the functions of the Accountant, Treasurer, Tax Collector, and those people underneath them would report to the Finance Director.

Consensus of the Board: Focus on the Finance Department and those positions is a great start. We all want it to be successful. Mike Guzinski will develop a timeline for this process to be ready for November: schedule meetings, meet goals and cross off steps as they’re completed before the next election. Simultaneously work on the structure of the Finance Department and look at a bylaw that modifies the Executive Administrator’s position and converts it to a full Town Manager or his maximum authority in regards to management.

-Mission Statement: Mike Guzinski to get some examples and simultaneously work on the Administration and the Board of Selectmen to develop and adopt one.

-Charter and DPW: Pros and cons for future discussions.

Adjournment: Motion- Scott Medeiros made a motion to adjourn at 8:02 pm. Seconded- John Bombara. All-aye.


Respectfully submitted;

Jane L. Alger
Administrative Secretary
Suzanne Kane
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