BOS - November 22, 2005 - Charter Workshop

Moderator: Suzanne Kane

BOS - November 22, 2005 - Charter Workshop

Postby Suzanne Kane » Thu Nov 17, 2005 9:57 am

Board of Selectmen
Charter Workshop
November 22, 2005

6:00 pm
1. Call to Order

2. Charter Workshop

3. Executive Session – Collective bargaining

4. Adjournment
Douglas Board of Selectmen
“Charter” Workshop Meeting Minutes
November 22, 2005
Approved May 16, 2006

1. Call to Order:
Madam Chair Shirley M. Mosczynski called the meeting to order at 6:07 pm in the Resource Room at the Municipal Center.
In Attendance: Paula Brouillett Vice-Chair, Richard E. Preston, David A. Furno, Executive Administrator Michael J. Guzinski and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane
Others present: Pam Carter-Tax Collector, Christine E. G. Furno-Town Clerk, Pamela Holmes-FinCom Chair, Bill Krauss and John Bombara-FinCom, Tom Devlin and Daniel Harlow-Cable Advisory, Roy and Gail Swenson-Cemetery Commission, Linda Brown-Conservation, Lisa Mosczynski-Open Space Chair, Ray Timpone-Personnel Board, Lt. Glenn Gilbert, Eben Chesborough, Mike Daley-Interim Town Accountant, Lauren Goldberg- Kopelman & Paige-Town Council, T&G reporter Steve Foskett.

2. Charter Workshop – Shirley – Explained the first part of the meeting is to discuss information on setting up a Charter form of Government and reminded of the previous workshop that included questions from the audience. Because of recodification of our bylaws, we found they needed a lot of work, our financial management review by DOR recommended “The Town begin work toward the adoption of a Charter:” We are looking how we can make things work better for you. Mike Guzinski our Executive Administrator was asked to provide us with knowledgeable people to help us look at the charter process and ask questions. Tonight we have Mike Daley who has gone through a Charter process and we’re expecting Lauren Goldberg from Kopelman & Paige. Shirley turned it over to Mike Guzinski who reviewed the last Charter workshop and realized in discussions with Mike Daley learned he was the Chair of the Charter Commission of the Town of Barnstable and also employed with the Town of Plymouth when they went through a Charter process. Mr. Daley has several years experience with Municipal Government he can share.
Mike Daley – One thing he wanted to note that was not too heavily referenced in the document provided by K&P- MGL 43C- is worth some probing as well. Discussed his hands on experience with the Charter Process he feels is a longer process then working through the Legislative Process. His Commission (a group of 9) decided once elected they were going to do this in a one year window. Much easier to do this fresh in their minds rather than lie dormant for six months. You run for office the same day asked if a Charter Commission is wanted in the Town. The question asked to the candidates-“Would you support a 12 month work cycle as opposed to the 18 month?” You have to be able to work on the draft, publish it, revise it and publish the final document before election. Not a big fan of Menu Charters-where the ballot question can be framed in such a way that you can select this or that form of government and has seen even more than two offered. If you’re going to change your basic, executive or legislative branch, I strongly recommend Charter Commission. But if you’re going to keep basically the general consensus in the Community, if you want to keep your open Town Meeting, and you want to keep the Board of Selectmen but you want to empower the central executive’s office, give more authority which is usually necessary, and maybe eliminate a clothesline elected situation where everyone reports to some other body and it’s not clear who they report to-appointing people vs. electing people comes into these Charters. Because of the ballot question you will be able through the legislative process, eliminate elected officials, or create new elected officials, change the look of the ballot. Either way your voters are protected whether they use the charter process where the elected commission say we want a commission, elect the officials and then vote on the charter they bring out, there’s ample opportunity for debate and voter decision making. If you choose to go through the Legislative process, drafted locally without an elected commission, so the appointed group work together, for answer at Town Meeting, take it to the Legislature and still have a ballot question. You don’t end up with the menu option.
Questions /Answers / Discussion: Mike Daley- Charter Commission in Barnstable was the 8th (major changes were made) of 9. The first was in the 70’s right after the Home Rule Charter Rule Law was acted, the Constitution was amended. We created a consolidated DPW-referenced 43C- it’s an off the shelf way to go that offers some petitioning. Rich-It seems to me when you go through this Charter process, you don’t come out the way you went in. You might see or have a lot of surprises pleasant and unpleasant. Mike “D”- You want to elect 9 open minded individuals that are going to do their research before they know what the answer is. One of the things we put in our Charter, before the Charter is set there is a lottery, because our Charter Commission, if your name was alphabetically A-G you got elected. The Clerk holds a lottery and pulls names out of a hat before our ballot is published so it’s not alphabetic. Paula-Right now we’re running by Bylaw and consensus-how does that play into that we need to do something? Mike “D”-The Charter is driven by a petition process. You create the ballot questions you need to get the Charter Commission up and running. The Board is empowered to create a government study or charter committee. I believe the charter document should be as open ended as possible. I would encourage more codification after you set up the frame work for whatever you use for a charter. Rich-Having been through this process, would you say that the town of Barnstable is in a better place today? Mike “D”-I think we’re better off. Our charter left them a legislative definition, an executive definition, some transition language-not a very defining regulatory document. John Bombara - He’s a wealth of information and we have to consider his opinion. Eben Chesborough - I believe he opened up pitfalls and potential pitfalls of beginning the process of starting the formal procedure of a charter. Another option-a Charter Study Committee or stay with what you have and re-codify. Pam Holmes - Plymouth was unsuccessful as a few other towns, can you put your finger on why? Mike “D”-In Plymouth I think it was to do with menu-you could vote for one or another or say no to both and stick with status quo. People don’t like change and it’s easier to “spin” negatives about a proposed charter than it is to “spin” positives about something that’s untested or unproven. It’s easier to kill a charter effort than to promote it.
Mike - Introduced Lauren Goldberg from Town Counsel-Kopelman and Paige to talk about some of the legal aspects of the charter process and is the author of the document passed out. Lauren Goldberg told a little about herself-partner with K&P about 5.5 years. Focuses the most on bylaws charters and town meeting issues. No matter what you do, you need to take it very seriously as Mike stated. If the charter is unclear, confusing or internally inconsistent you wind up with a problem where a town is really stuck trying to figure out “What can we do?” Look at provisions you want to guide you and you want to be guided by. She then reviewed the Process for Adopting a Town Charter and Local Charter Procedures.
A Charter commission and charter committee can do virtually the same thing. A charter commission is elected - a charter committee is appointed. Her biggest recommendation is to very carefully make choices. You need to go slowly, have open minds and talk about it.
Questions: Short clarification of the advantages or reasons behind considering the Charter Process. Shirley – informed of the explanation given regarding the bylaws in the beginning of the workshop. Rich – Any pitfalls repeated that we should try to avoid in the process? If you’re continually amending your charter, to me it means it was sort of a failure assembling your charter. Lauren – We see various issues come up both in the original drafting process and later. We don’t generally make policy decisions, we might advise. You don’t want to lock into too many procedural requirements. Not every provision of a charter is a mandatory provision, some are a directory. You don’t want to use terms that have no meaning-undefined, be specific. Be clear on the executive authority of the Board of Selectmen, especially with regard to appointments/removal and what degree of authority is given.
Shirley – asked the Board for feedback and Mike for any recommendations – none. Workshop – Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 6:30 pm
Ray Timpone –
Part 1-Anything below the surface of the fact that certain things are out of date, is there some motivation for doing something other than just fixing the problems that are current and real that are out of date precipitating this action. Or just an embellishment that something needs to be done, underlying facts that are not being spoken about.
Part 2- The individual that made the recommendation, why did he make a recommendation to look at a charter-as briefly as possible? Shirley – Personally I don’t feel there’s any underlying current to make changes. I think the Board has looked at the bylaws when they came up for recodification-felt things could be better and clearer for the community. The administrator and 5 selectmen were not included. Mike – DOR Report – He explained a financial management review (free of charge) of the community was suggested to be done by the Board of Selectmen. It was indicated that the system works well here, the structure can be improved through a charter. Also, a lot of discussion of advantages of a central DPW. Rich – Two basic types of town government structure - charter or bylaw (general). With the bylaw that we have now often with towns of our age has been bylaw after bylaw that don’t always coincide. Recodification came back with a lot of recommendations that needs to be studied by a committee and intelligently move further with input. We are only talking about the general bylaws not zoning. Mike – answered that a charter could do away with bylaws. It really depends on how it’s carried out, there’s a lot of variations.

3. Executive Session:
Motion - Paula Brouillette
made a motion to go into Executive Session for the purpose of contract negotiations at 8:20 pm and to come out of Executive Session for the purpose of adjournment. Seconded – Rich Preston. Roll Call Vote: Paula Brouillette – aye, Richard Preston – aye, Shirley Mosczynski –aye, David Furno – aye.

David Furno – recused himself from the room.

4. Adjournment:
Motion - Paula Brouillette –
made a motion to adjourn at 8:50 pm.
Seconded – Rich Preston. All – aye.

Respectfully submitted;

Jane L. Brule
Administrative Secretary

Douglas Board of Selectmen
Executive Session Meeting Minutes
November 22, 2005
Approved and Released May 16, 2006

Call to Order: Madam Chair Shirley M. Mosczynski called the meeting to order in the Resource Room at the Municipal Center for the purpose of contract negotiations.
In Attendance: Paula Brouillette
Vice-Chair, Richard E. Preston, David A. Furno, Executive Administrator Michael J. Guzinski and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.

David Furno recused himself and left the room.

Interim Highway Superintendent – Mike – informed the Board he had done a salary survey of various towns. The $300.00 per week comes out to about $59,000 annually. There should be some type of monetary compensation for asking someone to do a job for a period of time and supervisory responsibilities they did not have before. He spoke to John (Furno-Interim Highway Superintendent), explained he was expected to carry out the duties of the job but understood if he needed to seek more assistance. He has heard good things from other town officials so far. Rich – Commented the salary is on the high side, if there would be a potential conflict and leadership role. Mike – spoke with Lauren Goldberg (town counsel) and she concurred ultimately it’s the Board of Selectmen jurisdiction (unless there was a bylaw). He will fill out a payroll change form. Shirley – Concern of Buff’s letter of second in command which Mike already took care of.
Motion - Paula Brouillette – made a motion to approve the recommendation by the Town Administrator of $300.00 a week, additional stipend for the Interim Highway Superintendent. Seconded – Rich Preston.
Roll call vote – Rich Preston – aye, Paula Brouillette – aye, Shirley Mosczynski – aye.

Motion - Paula Brouillette made a motion to come out of Executive Session at 8:49 pm for the purpose of adjournment. Seconded – Rich Preston.
Roll Call Vote: Paula Brouillette – aye, Rich Preston – aye, Shirley Mosczynski – aye.

Motion to adjourn: Paula Brouillette – so moved. Seconded – Rich Preston. All – aye.

David Furno returned to the room.

Respectfully submitted,

Jane L. Brule
Administrative Secretary
Suzanne Kane
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 2:01 pm

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