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Board of Selectmen Minutes 9/22/10
Members present:        William Cavanaugh, Mark Karlberg, George Fuller

Others Present: Richard Furlong, Hildegarde Freedman, David Bonney, Beth VanNess, Colleen O’Connor, Josh Lombard, Ann Spadafora, Steve Rosenthal, George Roberts, William Elovirta, Gerry Galliher, Maddy Elovirta, Mark White, Rita Furlong, Brian Domina, Patricia Mullins, Susan Deacon, Steve LaBelle Sr., Steve LaBelle Jr., Howard Lerner, Judy Cromwell, Lee White, Rosanna Koelle, Richard Cromwell, Thomas Koelle, Jim Fennell, Ruth Fennell, Shirley Vachula, Ronald Casella, Ray Tarjick, John Vachula, Paul Mazut, Eva Bonney, Justin Elovirta, Jim Atwell, Mark Hanford, Robert Healey, Ginger Conner, Linda Shaw, Ann Deely, Angie Woodard, Deborah Hall, Hope Robitaille, Nicole Woodard, John Hall

7:02 PM Meeting opened.

It was announced that Beth VanNess was audio taping the meeting.

Selectmen’s Comments and Announcements: George announced that if people continue to talk during the meeting they will either be separated or asked to leave.

The meeting adjourned briefly so that it could be moved downstairs.

Public Input: Hildegarde Freedman feels that the Sherwood Forest Lake District is an injustice.  She feels that the people who cannot afford to pay the lake district fees will riot.  She feels that these people should not be assessed as the people who live around the lakes are assessed.

Colleen O’Connor asked if there was a reason or benefit for the town to hold off on finding a solution to her problem of not having potable water at her house.  She has paid close to $10,000 in water and having to go somewhere else to take a shower.  George asked Richard if he heard from the attorneys regarding this.  He advised that he has not heard anything.  Colleen would like the town to move things along.  Richard will try to find out what is happening.

Brian Domina of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission addressed the Board regarding the Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan.  BRPC has received a grant from MEMA to update this plan.  If the plan is updated then the town could receive funds for Natural Hazard Mitigation.  He explained that there needs to be two meetings.  One would be a public input meeting at a Selectmen’s meeting to see what the public feels are areas that need improvement and one would be a meeting with the Highway Department and the first responders to see what areas in town need to be improved.  He asked the members of the audience if they knew of any areas in town that are susceptible to natural hazards.  Rita Furlong advised that granite blocks that were put in the part of the river behind Ballou Park after the flood of 1927 have moved and she feels that the memorial park could be affected by flooding because of this.  Josh Lombard advised that he has a house for sale on High Street that continually has the basement flooded because of the road runoff.  He would like to see the road repaired in a way that redirects the water away from this house.  Hildegarde Freedman was concerned about power outages and that if you live in a less populated area of town then you are the last part of town to have its power restored.  She was advised that this is not part of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Brian advised that the plan should be updated by spring.

Patricia Mullins of BRPC addressed the Board regarding the Community Development Strategy Plan.  She advised that BRPC is in the process of resubmitting the Community Development Block Grant and part of the process is to have a Community Development Strategy Plan in place.  She also advised that the Department of Housing & Community Development gave suggestions as to why the grant was not awarded last time around.  These suggestions have been incorporated in the CDS that was done last year.  This is a seven page document and only page 6 of this document was altered.  The alterations do not change the intent of this plan.  There will need to be a public hearing on the changes to this plan and that will take place on October 6, 2010.  Pat advised that the changes would be placed on the town’s website so people can review them before the meeting on October 6th.  Bill motioned to designate Richard Furlong as the Town’s Environmental Certifying Officer for the purpose of performing the environmental reviews associated with the FY2011 CDBG, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

Bill motioned to sign the Order of Taking for the property located in Jacobs Well, Mark seconded.  Richard advised that this was the property that the town voted to purchase at the Annual Town Meeting.  All in favor.

The Selectmen reviewed the email regarding the Forest Future Visioning Process Survey.  This survey needs to be completed by the town.  The Selectmen will complete the survey and Nina will complete the survey online.  Ann asked what this survey was about.  Kris Massini from the Department of Conservation and Recreation gave an explanation.

The Selectmen reviewed the application for the existing building to serve as a year round apartment and also to allow for a real estate and septic sales business office.

The Selectmen reviewed the invitation to the Berkshire County Selectmen’s Association dinner meeting on October 21, 2010 at the Bounti Fare Restaurant in Adams.  

Any other business: Mark Hanford gave the Selectmen prices from two different companies for the new well at fire station #1.

Richard advised that the Town Administrator Search committee has advertised the Town Administrator position and we have received four or five letters so far.

Richard thinks that there will be enough money in the vocational tuition and transportation accounts but it is really close.  It may run short before the year ends.

Nina advised that Lenny Tisdale gave her a Chapter 90 Project Request for the Selectmen to sign.  Mark motioned to sign the Chapter 90 Project Request in the amount of $41,635.00 for the resurfacing of 5,200’ of Fred Snow Road, Bill seconded.  George abstained.  Motion passed.  George advised that Algerie and Bonny Rigg Hill Roads will be ground up next week and it should be repaved in about two weeks.

Richard advised that there will be a Special Town Meeting on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.

The Selectmen reviewed the Becket Ambulance Department Request for Write-Off Report.  Bill motioned to write-off the one request for a write-off, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

Bill would like a letter sent to Jack Deacon to have him come before the Selectmen to see how his first year as Harbor Master went.  The Selectmen agreed that this would be fine.

Reviewed correspondence.

The Selectmen asked John Hall if he wished to go into executive session to discuss complaints against him as fire chief.  He advised that he does not want to go into executive session.  Ann Deely advised that she was his attorney and started to address the Board.  Richard advised that his attorney could advise John but could not address the Board.  She does not believe that this is true and stated that the letters regarding John Hall have libelous content and she is deeply concerned that if the Board chooses to proceed along these veins that it could expose the town and certain individuals to liability.  She feels the Selectmen should consult with their attorney before proceeding.  Richard feels the Selectmen should put this off until next week so that the town’s attorney could be here.  Mark Hanford advised that the department requests that this be settled this evening.  He does not want to go point by point he just expressed that the association feels that the fire chief is lacking in his administration of the department and he lacks respect for the association.  He advised that a vote was taken and it was nineteen to zero that the association does not have confidence in the administration of the fire chief.  The association wishes to have him removed immediately for the safety of the town.  John does not know where they are coming up that he is disrespectful of the association.  He has always tried to help the association.  Bill asked John for his side of the story because all he has heard so far was from the other side.  Ann Deely does not feel that this should be discussed at this point.  Bill feels that John should have come to the Selectmen to discuss this but now he has an attorney and now the town will need to have its attorney involved which makes the process much more complicated than it needed to be.  Bill motioned to put this off until we have counsel present, no one seconded the motion.  George asked if they could put him on paid administrative leave until they speak with their attorney.  Ann Deely advised that the Board is not justified in placing John on leave.  Mark motioned to place John Hall on paid administrative leave until such time as we can resolve… John Hall interrupted stating that there would be no one who could do inspections.  Thomas Koelle advised that he has lived in Becket for 25 years and he has total confidence in John.  Susan Deacon advised that she was the one who discovered the fire at the motel and John was the first person on the scene besides Marc Portieri and took control of the situation and got the fire out.  She has also worked with John while working in real estate and he has always been accommodating and easy to work with.  Gerry Galliher advised that when her husband was fire chief and they went on vacation he always handed down his responsibilities to the person next in command.  John could pass this to Ray Tarjick.  Maddy Elovirta advised that she did CO2 inspections and gas inspections while John was out after his heart surgery.  Mark motioned to put John Hall on administrative leave with pay and to appoint Ray Tarjick interim fire chief until they can investigate the accusations, Bill seconded.  All in favor.  Bill motioned that during the period of administrative leave, John Hall can take no part in the administration or operation of the Fire Department and shall perform no job duties on behalf of the town, Mark seconded.  All in favor.  Kris Massini asked that any future meetings regarding this only be open to the Selectmen, John and the firefighters association and the attorneys.  Bill advised that it is up to John to decide whether or not this goes under an executive session.  John asked if he could still pay the bills.  Richard asked him to bring in the bills and he will have Ray turn them over to the treasurer.  Colleen asked if the letter that had all of the accusations was signed.  She was advised that the letter was signed.  Someone asked if the residents would know what was happening and George advised that it would be up to the attorneys if this would all be made public.

9:45 PM Mark motioned to adjourn, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed the payroll/expense warrants.

Respectfully submitted,                                                         _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary                                                          George Fuller, Chairman