Members present: Mark Karlberg, George Fuller, William Cavanaugh
Others Present: Richard Furlong, Colleen O’Connor, George Roberts, Barbara Stuhlmann, Rob Gorden, Beth VanNess, Julia Maynard, Jeanne Morano, Bob Gross, Gale LaBelle, Howard Lerner
7:00 PM Meeting opened.
Selectmen’s Comments and Announcements: George wished Bill luck with his health issues and was glad he was back. George thanked Mark for his help with the annual report of the Board of Selectmen. Bill thanked Mark and George for writing this report.
Mark motioned to approve the minutes of the March 2, 2011 meeting as presented, George seconded. Bill abstained from voting since he was not in attendance for this meeting. Motion passed.
Public Input: Rob Gorden and Barbara Stuhlmann asked the Selectmen if there was any legal way to keep Bill Elovirta in his position of police chief and if there was a way, they would like the Selectmen to keep Bill as police chief.
Colleen O’Connor asked the Selectmen if the Board of Health had asked them if it was okay to change their meeting schedule from the first and third Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. to the first and third Wednesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. Richard advised that he had asked the town attorney if the Board of Selectmen had authority over the elected Board of Health. The attorney sent an email stating that the Board of Selectmen does not have any authority over the Board of Health or its agent. Richard advised that the only thing the Selectmen can do is if an elected person who receives payments never showed up to work was to redline the budget and not pay them.
Richard advised that he would be resigning as interim town administrator on Monday at 9:00 a.m. He feels that this would give Mr. Kleman time to get in and be sworn in. He feels the Selectmen should not accept his resignation until they know that Mr. Kleman has accepted the position. Mark motioned to appoint Craig Kleman as Town Administrator term to expire June 30, 2012, Bill seconded. All in favor.
Mark motioned to appoint Beth VanNess to the 250th Anniversary Committee, Bill seconded. All in favor.
Richard advised that if the Selectmen vote to declare a snow and ice emergency then the Winter Road Account could be overdrawn. The account is not overdrawn yet but will probably end up overdrawn soon. Bill motioned to declare a snow and ice emergency per MGL Chapter 44, Section 31D, Mark seconded. Richard advised that the town would still need to pay this back by taking money from another account or by adding to next year’s budget. All in favor.
Mark motioned to sign the liquor license renewals for Becket Country Store for a seasonal all alcoholic package store license; Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival for a seasonal all alcoholic restaurant license; and Berkshire Berries for a seasonal all alcoholic package store license, Bill seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen reviewed the memo from the Town Clerk regarding detailed description of anticipated topics covered at a meeting. George Roberts advised that he received a notice from the attorney general’s office about an open meeting violation that took place in another town and was told to pass this along to boards and committees that post meeting agendas. The town that violated the open meeting law was not making available detailed information on its meeting agendas. For instance if the board was going to vote on issuing licenses, it was not listing which licenses were going to be voted on. George stated that on agenda item seven of this meeting, the town would be in violation if it just listed that the Selectmen were going to sign liquor license renewals. We are in compliance because
we listed all of the seasonal licenses that were going to be voted on. Gale LaBelle advised that she would be attending a meeting on the Open Meeting Law soon.
The Selectmen reviewed the invitation to the Selectmen’s Association Dinner Meeting on April 28, 2011 at the Country Club of Pittsfield. The Selectmen will decide if they will be attending this meeting and let Nina know.
The Selectmen reviewed the Becket Ambulance Department Request for Write-Off Report. Briefly discussed how to complete a hardship request. Richard advised that when the Ambulance Department became a paid department, the Selectmen, at the time, decided that if the person was a tax payer, they would write-off the invoice. Bill motioned to write-off number three and send the other two to the collection agency, Mark seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen reviewed the monthly report of the Police Department.
Any other business: Richard gave the Selectmen a letter of resignation from the Town Administrator position effective on March 21, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. He advised that Craig Kleman will be starting on Monday and there should not be two people acting as Town Administrator. Mark motioned to accept the resignation of Richard Furlong as Town Administrator effective on March 21, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. as long as Craig Kleman accepts the position, Bill seconded. All in favor. The Selectmen thanked Richard for coming in and helping until they found a new town administrator.
Richard advised that the Selectmen would probably be getting a petition to put an article on the Annual Town Meeting warrant for a tax amnesty program. George Roberts advised that he received a call from Steve Rosenthal about the amnesty program. Richard advised that if ten registered voters sign the petition then the article would need to be placed on the warrant. He explained that the Selectmen could recommend or not recommend the article but it needs to go on the warrant. He also advised that the Selectmen should come up with cut-off dates for warrant articles especially money articles because the finance committee needs to make its recommendations. George motioned to cut-off the submission of money articles on April 6, 2011, Mark seconded. All in favor. Briefly discussed the
cut-off date for non-money articles. Richard advised that Craig would need to decide when he wanted these articles because the warrants would need to be signed and posted seven days before the meeting. Briefly reviewed the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting. Richard explained what is on the warrant so far.
Richard advised that the bid opening for the fire station has been pushed back. The subcontractors have to have their bids in by March 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm. and the general contractors need to have their bids in by March 31, 2011 by 2:00 p.m. He also advised that BRPC will probably be at the bid openings. Briefly discussed the turnaround time on these bid openings.
Nina advised that the ambulance was inspected and the inspection was very good. There were a couple of deficiencies but it had to do with the manufacturer of the ambulance. George asked about the height marker of the ambulance. It is not posted on the vehicle. The drivers need to know the height of the vehicle so they do not have an accident going under an underpass. Richard will check with Jim Kupernik about this.
The Board of Selectmen received a copy of a letter addressed to Bill Elovirta from the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) that states that he could not work past the age of 65. The letter also states that if he is aggrieved by the determination of the Commission he would need to file an appeal within 15 days of his receipt of this letter to the Chief Magistrate, Division of Administrative Law Appeals. According to this letter, while the appeal is pending, Bill Elovirta has no right to remain in the position of police chief due to public safety and insurance liabilities that could potentially expose Becket and/or its citizens to harm or damages. Bill Cavanaugh feels that Bill Elovirta has done an excellent job as police chief but he does not feel that the town should be going
against any laws. Richard advised that the day that the town received its letter and when Bill should have gotten his letter, Bill left to go to Boston and he was not sure when Bill would be returning to Becket. Bill C. advised that if Bill E. wished to petition the town to stay in his position then that would be fine but he feels that he cannot, in the best interest of the Town, ignore a highly liable situation. Richard advised that the Selectmen need to make a motion on how they want to proceed but the town administrator is the appointing authority and he will not appoint a permanent police chief; he would appoint an interim until June 30, 2011. The new town administrator will need to appoint a permanent police chief after June 30th and he may wish to advertise this position. Richard advised that the Selectmen would need to schedule a hearing with Bill Elovirta to see what he plans on doing but they have to give him 48 hours notice before
the hearing. George asked if Richard had heard from the insurance company about this issue. Richard was not sure if the insurance company would give him an answer but he can try. Bill motioned to have someone from the Board ask Bill if he received this letter and what his intentions are, George seconded. Mark will try to contact Bill Elovirta. All in favor. George motioned to schedule a hearing on March 23, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. with Bill Elovirta, Mark seconded. If Bill decides to retire and step down then they would not need to hold the hearing. All in favor.
8:35 PM Mark motioned to adjourn, George seconded. Motion passed.
Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.
Respectfully submitted, _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary George Fuller, Chairman