BOS - September 11, 2001

BOS - September 11, 2001

Postby Suzanne Kane » Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:44 pm

Board of Selectmen Regular Meeting
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Resource Room—Municipal Center


6:00 PM

1. Call to Order
2. Interviews of Town Accountant Finalists

7:00 PM
3. Chairman’s Announcements
4. Minutes--August 28, 2001 Regular Session
5. Citizen’s Forum

7:15 PM
6. Public Hearing—Petitions for Joint or Identical Pole Locations
A. Petition No. D01-39 Eight poles on Hemlock Street
B. Petition No. D01-52 One pole on South Street
7. Approval of RFP--Economic Development Feasibility Study
8. Discussion—Water and Sewer Extensions for High School Project
9. Approval—Request to Mass. Highway Department for Expanded Scope of Project
10. Executive Administrator’s Report
11. New Business
12. Executive Session--Litigation
13. Adjourn

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

Interviews of Town Accountant Finalists
There is enclosed in your agenda books the recommendation of the Town Accountant Search Committee, including their numerical ranking of the candidates.
Two candidates, Leah Talbot and Karen Harnois, were ranked far ahead of the other candidates and were recommended to the Selectmen for final interview. The resumes of those two candidates are enclosed for your review (the resumes of the other applicants are available in the office to peruse if you are interested in viewing them.)

The interviews have been scheduled as follows:

6:00 PM Leah Talbot

6:30 PM Karen Harnois

Both of these finalists have been apprised by Town staff of the Town’s financial situation, and the need to get a new full-time Town Accountant on board as soon as possible, so that they know what they would be getting into. Both have maintained their interest despite recent difficulties, although some doubt has been expressed by them about whether the Town can meet their salary needs.

After conducting the interviews, the Board may wish to deliberate relative to the selection of the preferred candidate either before proceeding with the regular meeting or some time during the meeting or right before the end of scheduled agenda items. Relative to negotiating the terms and conditions of employment with the selected candidate, it is my strong recommendation that the Board vote to authorize your Interim Executive Administrator to negotiate with the selected candidate and to bring back a proposed contract for the Board’s approval.

Public Hearing—Petitions for Joint or Identical Pole Locations
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
September 11, 2001

1. Call to Order:

Chairman Thomas Navaroli called the meeting to order at 6:02 PM. The meeting started in the Selectmen's Office. In attendance: Shirley Mosczynski, Rich Preston, Ron Forget, Edward Therrien, and Interim Executive Administrator David Owen.

Other staff in attendance: Angela Ernenwein, and Suzanne Kane.

2. Interviews of Town Accountant Finalists:
In the agenda book is a Confidential Memo to the Board of Selectmen, from the Town Accountant Search Committee, dated August 30, 2001, re: Final Candidates for Town Accountant. Cover letters and resumes for Leah M. Talbot, and Karen S. Harnois.
The Town Accountant Search Committee recommended two candidates. These two were ranked far ahead of the other candidates and were recommended to the Selectmen for a final interview.

6:02 PM – Leah Talbot: Ms Talbot moved to Douglas in 1991. She is presently the Town Accountant for Westborough, Massachusetts serving there since 1992. She was also the Town Accountant for Sturbridge, Massachusetts from 1990 to 1992. In 1986 to 1990 she worked for the Town of Grafton as a Bookkeeper in the Accounting Office for the present Douglas Interim Town Accountant Doris Metivier. She is currently enrolled in a Continuing Education Bachelors Degree Program at Nichols College with a present GPA of 4.0. Ms Talbot stated that she would like to come to Douglas because the commute would be shorter. Westborough is currently working on a major School renovation/new building project, giving her the experience Douglas needs.

Questions: Ron Forget mentioned that Ms Talbot had helped the Town of Douglas out 8 years ago. Ms Talbot has recently spoken to Ms Metivier over the phone, feeling it would be presumptuous of her to come in person. Having talked to Mr. Metivier, Ron Forget asked Ms Talbot what her feelings were about the Fund Balance Software the Town of Douglas is using. Ms Talbot stated that she has heard mixed things about the software and is concerned about the Town’s revenues not being entered. She knows there is a lot of work ahead for “who ever” accepts the position but she feels that it can be managed. She feels that because she has no experience with the Fund Balance Software she really can not speak on the matter. When asked if she has any experience with upgrading systems, she stated that she has worked hand-in-hand upgrading a system at a past position. Tom Navaroli asked how she would establish credibility with Departments, Committee heads, and co-workers. Ms Talbot replied that she would tell them that “what you see is what you get”. She feels that she already has respect with Douglas Department Heads due to her past experience here. Rich Preston asked why she wanted to leave the Town of Westborough. Ms Talbot stated that her reasons were strictly personal, she lives in Douglas and she spends about an hour each day commuting. She has never wanted to leave Westborough and updated her resume from 1992 for the position in Douglas. When asked how much she has left on her Bachelors Degree, Ms Talbot stated that she has 16 credits left. She had to take many of her Associate credits over again. Mr. Preston asked what her process was for handling encumbrance funds. Ms Talbot stated that she requires every request in writing and she follows Mass General Law policies. Shirley Mosczynski asked how she works with the School System. Ms Talbot stated that she works very well with the Westborough School System. She feels that the School System sometimes gets a bad rap. The Westborough School System enters their own bills and she does have to call with questions. When asked how she handles Year-End Accounting with Departments, Ms Talbot said she gives Departmental reports at the end of each month. Starting in April, she gives the reports on a weekly basis so that all Departments know what they have. She also gives reports to Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee members when they ask. Tom Navaroli asked about her budgeting process. Ms Talbot stated that she works with the departments to review the budgets. She will be going for GASB34 training.

After discussion: The board felt that she was very good, she knows her stuff and can work with people. She interviewed very well. She has a lot of experience and energy.

6:40 PM Karen Harnois: Ms Harnois is currently working as a Town Accountant for the Town of Ashland. She has been there since August 1997. She worked for the City of Worcester from 1993 to 1997 in the Office of Planning & Community Development as a Financial Staff Assistant where she first received Municipal experience. She has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Nichols College and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Nichols College. She came to Ashland at the end of a School Construction project and has worked with several water/sewer projects.

Questions: Shirley Mosczynski asked why she wanted to leave Ashland. Ms Harnois stated that although she enjoys working in Ashland, the commute to Douglas would be shorter. Asked about her experience with the School System, Ms Harnois stated that Ashland has 5 schools and she processes their invoices. She will be going to GASB 34 training. Tom Navaroli asked how she would establish credibility with Department Heads. Ms Harnois stated that it will take some time, but once the office is up and running the Department heads will see that she can do the job. Rich Preston asked what her current hours are in Ashland. Ms Harnois reported that she works 37 ½ hours, 8:30 – 4:30 Monday through Friday. Rich Preston asked her policy for encumbrances. Ms Harnois stated that she feels that they should not be used to try and spend up the rest of a Department’s budget, but should be used for goods and services not rendered yet. She also feels that there should be a time limit set for using them. Tom Navaroli asked what her budgeting process was. Ms Harnois stated that in Ashland the Town Manager is very active in that role, he sends a letter out to the Department and then Ms Harnois is involved in the Department Head meetings. Ashland has 1 million in free cash that they count on for budgeting. She sends out monthly reports and starts weekly reports in May. Tom Navaroli also asked Ms Harnois to recount any disagreements with her current Town Manager, but Ms Harnois could not think of any, stating that the Ashland Town Manager is “pretty easy going and very supportive”. Ron Forget asked if she has looked at the Fund Balance Software. Ms Harnois stated that she had talked to Doris Metivier and she feels that the software should be changed. Currently, in Ashland, they are changing to a more Window friendly version of Munis. In closing Ms Harnois suggested that Ms Metivier should be kept on board for a transition period of one to two months. She stated that Ms Metivier had offered to help during their conversation. Ms Harnois stated that she has no experience setting up or expanding charts of accounts. She also stated that the office needs to be set up with additional file cabinets, etc. and wondered if there was a budget.

After discussion: Ms Harnois is energetic and has great credentials. There was discussion about Ms Harnois’ resume and experience. The Board felt that Ms Talbot’s personality meshed well, she has more experience with budgeting and overall Municipal Accounting policies and procedures.

Ron Forget made a motion to hire Leah Talbot, contingent upon a positive reference check. Shirley Mosczynski seconded the motion. All – aye.

Interim Executive Administrator David Owen recommended that the Board authorize him to negotiate with the selected candidate and to bring back a proposed contract for the Board’s approval. Ron Forget made a motion to authorize Interim Executive Administrator to negotiate with Leah Talbot and bring back a proposed contract for the Board’s approval. Shirley Mosczynski seconded the motion. All - aye. Mr. Owen will start the negotiations right away and plans to bring a proposed contract next Tuesday at 7PM. Rich Preston requested that Thank You letters be sent to the Search Committee members for a “job well done”. Shirley Mosczynski asked for a breakdown of the point system the Search Committee used. Angela Ernenwein will provide.

At 7:25 the Board moved the meeting to the Resourse Room. Citizens in attendance: Paula Brouillette, Roger Martinsen, Carol Hutnak Gogolinski, Tom Mattson, and Derek Brown.

3. Chairman’s Announcements:
Chairman Tom Navaroli had no announcement’s, but instead read a letter to the Town of Douglas. The morning brought terrorist attacks on the Wold Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon Building in Washington D.C. The Country was in mourning and Mr. Navaroli wanted to assure the Town’s people that throughout the day he was in contact with key Town Officials. He made the decision to hold this night meeting as a show to the terrorist that their acts of terrorism would not deter the Board from their duty to the Town. He then asked for a moment of silence in honor and remembrance for the thousands who lost their lives today.

4. Minutes:
August 28, 2001 Regular Session: Shirley Mosczynski made a motion to approve the minutes of August 28, 2001 Regular Session with the inclusion of a summary of the Executive Administrator Salary Information, which was handed out at the last meeting. Rich Preston seconded the motion. Four members - aye, Ron Forget abstained.
August 28, 2001 Executive Session: Shirley Mosczynski made a motion to approve, but not release the minutes of August 28, 2001 Executive Session. Rich Preston seconded the motion. Four members - aye, Ron Forget abstained.

5. Citizen’s Forum:
No citizen came forward.

6. Public Hearing – Petitions for Joint or Identical Pole Locations:
In the agenda packet is a Notice To Abutters, from Suzanne Kane, dated August 27, 2001 for both Hemlock Street and South Street. All abutters have been notified and the relevant Town Departments have been notified. No comments or recommendations have been received. Roger Martinsen from Mass Electric joined the meeting to answer any questions the Board had. No abutters came to the meeting.
• Petition No. D01-39 Eight poles on Hemlock Street. Ron Forget made a motion to approve the Pole Location Petition No. D01-39 for the placement of eight poles on Hemlock Street. Rich Preston seconded the motion. All – aye.
• Petition No. D01-52 One Pole on South Street. Ron Forget made a motion to approve the Pole Location Petition No. D01-52 for the placement of one pole on South Street. Shirley Mosczynski seconded the motion. All – aye.

7. Approval – Request for Proposals for Industrial Park Feasibility Study:
In the agenda packet is a draft copy of the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Feasibility Study for the development of an Industrial Park in Douglas, MA. Draft copy as of 9/6/01. The Economic Development Commission seeks the Board’s approval to issue a RFP for an Economic Development Feasibility Study. The Town’s approved Capital Improvement Program for FY’02 includes an appropriation of $25,000 toward the cost of conducting an Economic Development Feasibility Study. The Town’s contribution of $25,000 will be matched by Mass Development for the purposes of evaluating the feasibility of developing an industrial park in Douglas. Staff at Mass Development has reviewed the RFP. Mr. Owen pointed out that the $25,000 in funding from Mass Development would be in the form of a 5-year, 0% interest loan, which Mass Development expects to be repaid. If the study results in an industrial park, the loan would be paid back from the proceeds of the development, if no industrial park is developed, the loan would be paid back by Town funds. Originally, Commission Chairman Hal Davis was going to be present at the meeting to represent this request. In his absence Commission member Carol Hutnak Gogolinski joined the meeting. Mrs. Gogolinski has been working on this project for some time. She praised Mr. Owen for his part, stating that he too has put a lot of work into the project. When asked by Shirley Mosczynski if the request is only for one specific area in Douglas, Mrs. Gogolinski answered yes. The primary focus of the proposed study is approximately 1,000 acres of privately owned land in West Douglas near the Webster Town line. Ron Forget stated that there was a study done many years ago, the most important area being the Rt. 16 area. He did not understand the reason for “watering down” the current request to one specific area. Mrs. Gogolinski pointed out that there have been many changes since the study Ron Forget referred to. She commented that they need “new eyes” to look at everything. Ron Forget stated that she has backing from Marylynne Dube, Chairman of the Conservation Commission. Ron Forget stated that he feels all Boards should back this project and would like Dave Owen to draft a letter stating such. No action was taken on his request. Shirley Mosczynski moved that the Board approve the Request for Proposals for a Feasibility Study for the Development of an Industrial park and authorize its issuance by the Economic Development Commission, and to authorize the Economic Development Commission to apply for and accept a $25,000 5-year, 0% loan from Mass Development to help finance this feasibility study. Ron Forget seconded the motion. All – aye. When asked what the time frame for the project was, Mr. Owen stated that he will move as quickly as he can. He will need to coordinate with the State.

8. Discussion - Water and Sewer Extensions for High School Project:
In the agenda packet is a breakdown of Remaining Costs of Water and Sewer connections for the New High School, dated 9/6/01, and Sewer Extension Project, Engineer’s Opinion of Probable Construction Cost, dated 9/6/01. Mr. Owen passed out a revised version of the last sheet dated 9/11/01. Most of the topic was discussed last night at a meeting at the Middle/High School, which some of the Board attended. Mr. Owen reported that he has been meeting with the Financial Management Team during the summer to try and understand the Water/Sewer costs. The project is going to go over the $1,050,000 budgeted for the project. The 16” Water Main was not a known entity at the time. Mr. Owen also mentioned that the sheet outlining the estimated costs of the Water/Sewer projects and the possible ways to reduce some of the costs are contingent on getting Mass Highway’s approval. He mentioned that there are still a number of pieces that need to fall in place before we really know the costs. Currently the Engineer’s are looking into having borings done in Rt. 16 to find ledge. They need a permit from Mass Highway to do the boring, which he was told, was in the mail. Mr. Owen also reported that the Finance Team suggested that the Fall Town Meeting be scheduled late in the Fall to allow time for all this work to be done. The Board agreed on Nov 15th as the date for the Fall Town Meeting. Shirley Mosczynski made a motion to schedule the Town Meeting for Nov 15th, providing the Town Moderator and the Town Clerk are available. Rich Preston seconded the motion. Four members – aye, Edward Therrien was not present for this vote. Ron Forget questioned the capacity of the new Water Main going to the School and if it will satisfy future Business water needs down the line stating that there is currently a Business that has a water sprinkler system which they can not use because the current water pressure is too low. Mr. Owen will bring this question to Mr. Gressak. Rich Preston also would like to know how the line will be terminated, is there anything the Town should do to prepare for future expansion?

9. Approval – Request to Mass. Highway Department for Expanded Scope of Project:
In the agenda packet is a Memo to the Board of Selectmen, From David Owen, Re: Results of meeting with Mass. Highway Department (MHD) District 3, dated Sept. 5, 2001; Memo to Jack Blatchford, School Building Committee, Re: Request to Authorize Additional Expenditure from Budgetary Allocation for Traffic engineering Services, dated Sept. 5, 2001; and a Draft Letter to Mr. Thomas Waruzila, MHD, from the Board of Selectmen, Re: Route 16 Reconstruction and new Douglas High School, dated Sept. 11, 2001. On Wednesday, August 29th, there was a meeting with Mass Highway Department (MHD) District 3 in Worcester to discuss coordinating the planned water and sewer extensions for the new High School. The Town of Douglas has two projects on the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for Region 3. The first project, a $250,000 FY’03 project for the construction of turning lanes at the existing Middle/High School, is at only 25% of design stage. MHD does not have the staff or resources to complete the design and has sent a request to the Boston Office to complete the design. Mr. Owen stated that it has been his experience that MassHighway usually has communities design a project and then they fund it’s construction. He suggested the Board look at it as leveraging dollars. The letter in the agenda packet to Mr. Waruzila, is a formal request from the Town to gain approval of the outcomes and understanding of the Aug. 29th meeting. Mr. Owen passed out a revised copy of the letter, which was revised after a meeting with the School Building Committee. Item # 2, construction of sidewalks, was taken out. The letter has been run by MassHighway and they have agreed with it. Ron Forget asked how the State gets a hold of Federal Funding. Mr. Owen explained that there is a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), they vote on establishing TIP lists. There is a pool of money for FY’03. Mr. Owen passed out a memo to the Board of Selectmen, re: Engineering Costs for Route 16 Reconstruction (Revised), dated Sept. 11, 2001. In the memo Mr. Owen outlines the costs to finish the design. The total cost is $55,000. Currently MassHighway plows the snow on Rt 16 from the Sokol Club to the last house on Town property. It is about a half-mile stretch. It was discussed that after the project is complete, the Town will take ownership of that road. Mr. Therrien was in agreement. Shirley Mosczynski asked where the $55,000 is coming from. Mr. Owen stated that there are lots of options; Chapter 90 funds, Stabilization funds, re-appropriate Capital Projects, to list a few. Mr. Owen said that he could summarize the options in a memo for the Board. Shirley Mosczynski made a motion to approve the requests contained in the letter regarding Route 16 Reconstruction and new High School Construction, and to sign the letter. Rich Preston seconded the motion. Four members – aye, Edward Therrien abstained. Four members signed the letter, Edward Therrien did not.

10. Executive Administrator’s Report:
• Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Grant:
Mr. Owen passed out a letter to William J. Cundiff, Town Engineer, from Sen Richard Moore, dated Sept. 6, 2001. The Downtown Douglas Project Grant Request from the Community Development Department, to the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission approved the funding in the amount of $25,000 for the project.
• Veterans Services Director Resignation: In the agenda packet is a Position Announcement for the Veterans Services Director and a copy of the Job Description from the Town of Northbridge. Veterans Service Director Allen Miliefsky resigned. Mr. Owen explained that the position represents three Towns, Douglas, Northbridge, and Uxbridge. The candidate must be an honorably discharged veteran.
• Angela Ernenwein – Resignation: Mr. Owen passed out Angela Ernenwein, Assistant to the Executive Administrator’s letter of resignation, dated Sept. 10, 2001. Her last day is Sept. 24th, 2001. Ms Ernenwein stated that it was a difficult decision for her to make, but she had to make it. Shirley Mosczynski thanked her for her services and wished her luck.
• Historic Commission Nomination: Mr. Owen handed out a letter to Ms. Carol Shull, copied to the Board of Selectmen, from Massachusetts Historical Commission, dated Sept. 7, 2001. The letter stated that the Historic Commission’s nomination had been approved.
• Cellco Settlement Agreement: Mr. Owen reported that the first payment from the Cellco Settlement has been received and deposited in the Gift Account. He passed out a letter to Mr. Owen, from David Wilson, Law Office of Robinson & Cole, re: Requisition No. 1 Cellco Settlement Agreement, dated Sept. 6, 2001. The first payment was for $8,348.62 for the purchase and installation of communications equipment for the Douglas Police and Fire Departments. Mr. Owen reported that some of our equipment has been installed. He will be coordinating with the Police and Fire Departments.
• Fire Chief’s Car: Mr. Owen reported to the Board that the Fire Chief’s car had failed inspection and something needs to be done. Mr. Owen stated that the Police Chief had put forward a proposal and he would bring it to the Board.
• Highway Access Permit: School Building Committee Chairman, Jack Blatchford, requested that Mr. Owen ask the Board of Selectmen Chairman sign an Application for Permit to Access State Highway. The Permit is for temporary driveway on Rt. 16 for access of construction vehicles to the new High School project. There were no objections from the Board and Mr. Navaroli signed the application.

11. New Business:
• Status of VFW – Civic Groups meeting there:
Shirley Mosczynski asked what the status was of the meeting which was to take place between Mr. Therrien, Chief Gonynor, and the Director of the VFW. Mr. Owen reported that it was all set, and a Girl Scout Troop had already met there. The VFW’s only requirement was that the groups clean up after themselves. Shirley Mosczynski was also concerned about the building being handicapped accessible and if there were any handicapped children.
• Rt. 16 Runoff: Shirley Mosczynski asked what the status was with the Rt. 16 Runoff from the Middle / High School. Mr. Owen had not spoken to Town Engineer Bill Cundiff yet, but he did report that Mr. Demars had signed his release form. The Board asked that Mr. Cundiff join the meeting to report on his findings with SMMA. Mr Cundiff reported that he had spoken to Peter Glick of SMMA. When asked if the implemented improved controls, which the Highway Department installed, are working, he said that he has not been to the site in 2-3 weeks, so he is not sure if they are working. He has recommendations, which if done in house, will come under $1,000. These recommendations include fixing the failed berm on the upper basin with clay. On the lower basin, allow water to escape in a controlled way. When asked by Tom Navaroli how the School taking gravel would affect this, Mr. Cundiff replied that this area would not be affected by the gravel removal. Shirley Mosczynski suggested that the Board take the recommendations from Mr. Cundiff. Mr. Owen will go over the recommendations with Mr. Cundiff and Mr. Therrien.
• Flooding at the Family Convenience: Mr. Cundiff was also asked to comment on the flooding problem at Rt. 16 in front of the Family Convenience Store. Mr. Cundiff reported that he has to take site elevations. He said that next week he will have a recommendation. He said that a couple of possibilities could be another drainage catch basin further down the road. He would need to know if an option would be to run the catch basin to another catch basin, he wants to look at all options. Tom Navaroli stated that “who bears the cost will be up for debate” and asked if it is known for a fact that the pipes were damaged during construction to the tanks. Mr. Cundiff stated that it was only speculation and he would report back.
• Executive Administrator Search Committee: Edward Therrien reported that he had spoken to the last members of the Executive Administrator Search Committee and they will all serve again. Mr. Therrien reported that Bob Saster will replace past member Mr. Nadiau. Mr. Owen reported that the position of Executive Administrator is being advertised in the Boston Globe, the Worcester Telegram, the Tribune, and on the 16th on MMA’s Website. The Selectmen’s office is also getting mailing labels from Small Town Administrators of Massachusetts Organization. There was discussion about increasing the Search Committee to 11 members. Rich Preston and Shirley Mosczynski each have someone in mind for the committee. The other members did not feel it was necessary stating the original committee did a good job bringing qualified candidates to the Board the first time. It was also discussed as to whether the original Search Committee was officially released from their obligation and if the development of a new committee should be voted on. Mr. Owen stated that the original Search Committee was never officially disbanded. Rich Preston made a motion to increase the number of Executive Administrator Search Committee members to eleven. Shirley Mosczynski seconded the motion. Before the vote, Ron Forget stated that he feels it would be quicker and easier if the committee was left as is. Tom Navaroli stated that he felt that the Board would be sending the wrong message to the Search Committee if it was changed. Shirley Mosczynski – aye, Rich Preston – aye, Tom Navaroli – nay, Ron Forget – nay, and Edward Therrien – nay. The motion was defeated.

12. Executive Session – Litigation:
Mr. Owen reported to the Board that he had spoken to Town Counsel prior to the meeting. They will send a representative to discuss the Litigation matter at the next Selectmen’s Executive Session meeting if the Board agreed. The Board agreed.

13. Adjourn:
Ron Forget made a motion at 8:55 PM to adjourn. Edward Therrien seconded the motion. All – aye.

Respectfully Submitted,

Suzanne Kane
Suzanne Kane
Posts: 651
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 2:01 pm

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