BOARD OF SELECTMEN
MARCH 4, 2014
Present: James Wettlaufer, Michael Kennedy, Lynn Arnold
Wettlaufer called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM
MOTION 03042014-1: To accept the February 24, 2014 minutes. Motion made by Arnold, seconded by Wettlaufer.
VOTE: ALL in favor
Wettlaufer explained how resident Dana Manning accosted him at the Town Hall about Highway Surveyor Brian Johnson being at Tractor Supply in Sturbridge on Thursday February 20, 2014 purchasing wood pellets in a town vehicle on town time. He followed up with a phone call to Johnson to get an explanation. Johnson explained he was on his way home from Schmidt equipment in Oxford and stopped at tractor supply to get wood pellets for his mother in place of taking a lunch break. Wettlaufer explained it was an incidental use of the vehicle and not an intentional misuse of the town vehicle. This type of use has been allowed under an informal policy for many years by several departments, but with the absence of a written policy, it can be viewed as an ethics violation. The Select Board plans to create a
written policy which includes permitted incidental uses to avoid future ethics violations.
Following Wettlaufer’s response, Kennedy explained comments had been made that he and Johnson were friends. He and Johnson’s relationship is purely professional.
Police Chief Contract
Police Chief Haughey was not available to sign his contract because he had an interview to conduct for police business. Signing the contract will be pushed to the next meeting.
The Holland Select Board is looking to set up a meeting with Brimfield and Wales to discuss the increase in the cost of service for FY15 following discussion with the Finance Board and Fire Department personnel. There will be no termination of service; they are just reviewing all possible options.
Kennedy explained the remainder of the green community money will be spent at the school and it will include four heaters and a state of the art main control panel. The school will handle the work from this point forward. The town can move to Phase 2 for more funds and apply the funds to the Fire Station, which is the old Highway Barn.
Hazard Mitigation Plan
FEMA and MEMA have asked the town to put additional information in the Hazard Mitigation Plan and then the Select Board can review and approve. It was thought the Plan would be ready for approval by the meeting but is not finalized yet.
A request was submitted to the Board from Outreach Worker, Deb Tierney requesting the Select Board release $600 from a discretionary fund to assist with the high demand fuel assistance clients this year. The Butterworth fund that is used to supplement fuel assistance payments has been exhausted and there are four remaining residents that would qualify for the assistance. Tierney is asking for $600 to pay four $150 allotments to vendors.
Wettlaufer stated the only accounts the Select Board is able to release money out of is the Norcross and Thames River accounts.
Motion 03042014-2: To release $600 from the Norcross account to supplement fuel assistance payments, as requested by the Outreach Worker. Motion made by Wettlaufer, seconded by Kennedy
VOTE: ALL in favor
Warrants in the amounts of $73,183.86– Payroll and $254,196.21 – Vendor were signed and delivered to the Treasurer
Dana Manning of Over the Top Road asked to speak. She stated she knew personally Mike Kennedy was friends with Brian Johnson. She also stated it was foolish to make a town vehicle policy for incidental use. No other town has a policy like that. Wettlaufer stated the Town of Monson’s highway surveyor uses the highway vehicle all the time. She then stated everyone knows Brian Johnson does not do anything for the town; he just drives around in the town truck. Wettlaufer told her to have a seat if it was just a personal attack.
Manning stated she had one other questions which was she wanted to know about the re-payment plan. Wettlaufer told her there was no re-payment plan, why would there be? Manning asked what the re-payment plan was for the town paying Brian Johnson’s legal fees. She stated it was an ethics violation for the town to pay his personal legal fees. Manning referred to Judge Poehler’s decision Page 6, footnote ten. Wettlaufer stated he did not have to comment since she was not a part of the law suit, and in fact it is an on-going lawsuit.
Motion 03042014-3: To adjourn the meeting at 7:16 PM. Motion made by Wettlaufer, seconded by Kennedy.
VOTE: All in favor