BOS - January 14, 2003 Bylaw Workshop

BOS - January 14, 2003 Bylaw Workshop

Postby Suzanne Kane » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:50 am

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
Bylaw Workshop
January 14, 2003
Approved February 4, 2003


1. Call to Order:

Vice Chairman Rich Preston called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm. In attendance: Paula Brouillette, Ron Forget, Edward Therrien, Executive Administrator Ken Mahony, and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.

Also in attendance: Bruce Cadman, District Sales Manager for General Code Publishers.

2. Bylaws:
Bruce Cadman from General Publishers, handed out packets entitled, “The General Code Advantage”. Mr. Cadman went over his companies experience and qualifications. They have been in business for 40 years with over 70 Municipalities. They provide services to communities to codify their municipal laws and provide access to information. Mr. Cadman explained that General Code Advantage has a relationship with the Attorney Generals office, working closely to simplify the process. Mr. Cadman explained that the Code Book can contain any number of items, which include but are not limited to: General Bylaws, Board of Health Regulations, Planning Regulations, Zoning Regulation, and Traffic Regulations. The Board needs to decide as a group what to include. Mr. Cadman explained that the more data in the Code Book puts more data in one place and cleans up repetition and ambiguities. The extent of the revision work is up to the Board. They can do as little or as much as: re-number, revise – make red line changes or adopt a whole new comprehensive code. Rich Preston asked how accurately revisions will reflect Town Meeting. Mr. Cadman stated that it depends on how far back the Board is willing to go. He stated that they have found, typically General Bylaws do not reflect Town Meeting; the language could be different, words could have been left out, historical data could be lost. He went on to say that research of records is a good idea; cost depends on how far back they go. They like to go back to the adoption of the Bylaws, stating 50 years is typical. Mr. Cadman explained that they either come on site to go through the Town records; which could include going through the Annual Reports or Town Meeting Minute Books. The second way would be to take the Annual Reports or scan Town Meeting Minutes on CD then search from their office. After the research they would take the data and organize it into a manuscript which would accurately reflect the data. The third step would be a comment and recommendation report or critique. They would review the Bylaws, showing what they have found which leads into a draft to take to Town Meeting for adoption. Rich Preston asked Mr. Cadman if his experience has been that the package is presented as a whole or something else. Mr. Cadman stated that most communities present it as a whole thing; most communities want a clean slate. Rich Preston asked if Mr. Cadman could propose a process for making changes after the book is done, for the following years. Mr. Cadman suggested the ideal situation would be; for the Board to provide his company with their thoughts, which they pre-edit before taken to Town Meeting. He stated the Town does not have to use these services. Mr. Cadman suggested publishing 15 to 25 Books, one for each Chairperson of the different Boards and Committees, the Town Clerk and the Selectmen. Mr. Cadman explained they can also put the Code Book on our server for access by all employees. He said there is no index, but has a full text search. He will come and teach everyone how to use it; they also have an 800 support number. He explained that this program allows the user to copy and past test into Word documents, but prevents changes or deletion to the main document. Rich Preston asked if updates are done by contract. Mr. Cadman stated yes, most are done on an annual basis, communities budget some money to keep it current. Ron Forget asked who would keep it maintained in house. Mr. Cadman said it was the Boards call, the Town Clerk or Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane, stating you want to keep continuity. He also said a contract for updating is a couple of thousand per year. Ron Forget asked when they critique, do they use other Towns as examples. When Mr. Cadman answered yes, Mr. Forget stated that he had a problem with that, noting each Town is different with different sets of circumstances and needs. Mr. Cadman stated their overview is objective, they provide sample laws, it’s up to the Town what they adopt. Rich Preston explained that Douglas is looking to correct errors, omissions, and inconsistencies with State Law. Ken Mahony added; conflicts. Rich Preston stated Douglas is not looking for anything new; we are looking for errors and omissions. We are currently having the Zoning Bylaws re-codified. Bruce Cadman suggested that his company be involved at some point with the Zoning Bylaws re-codification. Ron Forget asked what the next step is; where do we go from here. Mr. Cadman stated he needs to know what is the need; what do they want to achieve? Rich Preston asked if they could continue to look at Zoning and just have Mr. Cadman do the General Bylaws? Mr. Cadman stated yes, but suggested that the Zoning Bylaws be put in Code numbering before they are adopted, then his company can work with them and put them into the book. Rich Preston stated that it would be helpful if Mr. Cadman gave them a menu showing what they can do for us and what it will cost. Ron Forget suggested getting pricing for everything including the Zoning part. Bruce Cadman stated that he will give a menu, then stated if they want any other regulations included, he will need copies. Rich Preston asked what time frame we are looking at. Mr. Cadman stated that Town Meeting is what structures it. 60 days from signed contract to review records, 4 to 5 months to receive comments and recommendations, then Town Meeting; hopefully it could be done in one year. Ken Mahony stated we would be looking at 2004 Town Meeting. Ron Forget asked if they would present this at a Special Town Meeting or an Annual Town Meeting. Rich Preston suggested keeping it simple and bringing it to a Special Town Meeting. Again when asked for a ball park figure, Mr. Cadman said that 6 to 10 thousand would be on the low end; the research is the added expense. Ours will be less complicated because they will not be doing the Zoning Bylaws. Mr. Cadman stated that he would need a listing of all Massachusetts General Laws that were adopted by the Town from the Town Clerk. List of fees would also be nice. Mr. Cadman asked for one week to 10 days to put something together.

3. Evaluation review:
There was a consensus of the Board to wait until there is a full Board to do the evaluation. Date to be determined.

4. Adjournment:
Paula Brouillette made a motion to adjourn at 8:30 pm. Edward Therrien seconded the motion. All – aye.


Respectfully submitted,



Suzanne Kane
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