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Select Board Minutes 6/27/12
Members present:        Mark Karlberg, Jeanne Pryor, William Elovirta

Others Present: Craig Kleman, Colleen O’Connor, Eva Birkette, Beth VanNess, Geri Walter, Liz Will, Amy Lane, Chris Bleau, Bill Cavanaugh, Ken Bilodeau, Bob Ronzio, Bob Gross, Angela Hilton, Patricia Portieri, John Hall, Steve Goetz, Karen Karlberg, Madelaine Elovirta, Sue Deacon, David Bacon, Purr McEwen, Chuck Garman, Patricia Clemons, Margaret Clemons, Julia Grace, Robert Grace, Mark White, Kristopher McDonough, Edd Mange, Paula Cianfarani, Monica Hilton, Michael Sawyer, Steve Hilton, Rita Furlong, George Fuller, Jeremy Dunn

7:00 Meeting opened.

Mark asked if anyone was recording the meeting.  Patricia Portieri and Beth VanNess are audio taping the meeting.

Select Board’s comments and announcements: Mark advised that he has witnessed some of our highway department driving in excess of the speed limit on Route 20.  He feels that something should be said to the highway department to remind everyone to stay within the speed limits with the town trucks.

Town Administrator’s report: Craig advised that he spoke with Elton Ogden from Berkshire Housing about the housing rehab program.  Elton advised that there were about 30 applications that he received.  A couple came in after the deadline and they will be put on a waiting list.  Many applications came in from low income residents and had the recurring issues including septic systems, roofs, furnaces, etc.  Berkshire Housing is in the process of going through the applications and should be able to help about 9 residents with housing issues.

There were no minutes to review.

Public Input: Colleen O’Connor advised that she has observed a lot of things in this town and she feels that many decisions are based on emotions.  She advised that at the Becket General Store old gasoline that leached into the soil years ago was never cleaned up and Matt Robbins from TRC advised her that this will be an issue for years.  She also advised that the decision not to upgrade the school’s septic system when the addition was put on was also based on emotions and she cannot understand why this is happening.  Mark advised that the Select Board would look into this.  

Angela Hilton asked the Board what the reasons were for going into an Executive Session.  Angela Hilton advised that she has filed two open meeting law complaints. One was against the Select Board and one was against the Police Chief Search Committee.  Colleen O’Connor feels that the whole search for the new police chief was done secretly and the public never knew what was going on.  The complaint against the Select Board states that the final interviews were done privately but they should have been done in open session.  Jeanne advised that the Town Administrator is not a Board so he did not violate any open meeting laws.  Stephen Goetz, a member of the Police Chief Search Committee, advised that this committee followed open meeting laws throughout the time they worked on this committee.  He advised that all meetings were posted and only one person from the public ever came to any of the meetings.  Karen Karlberg advised that she had attended some of the meetings and was the only one from the public that attended so she does not understand why Colleen is complaining about the public never having a say in the process.  Chuck Garman advised that all of the PCSC meetings were opened in open session then went into executive session during the initial interviewing process.  He also advised that Karen was the only person from the public that attended the meetings and the committee followed open meeting law.  Bob Ronzio advised that he received a phone call from the chairman of the PCSC who claims that the Town Administrator called the members of the PCSC and was polling them for more candidates.  He stated that this is against open meeting law.  Bob Gross, a member of the PCSC, stated that the committee ranked the top five candidates and after the committee gave the top three candidates, one had to drop out.  Craig called to find out who the next ranked candidate was.  He stated that there was no polling going on.  

Bill Cavanaugh stated that Colleen O’Connor has made comments in an open meeting that she will shut down the school.  He is concerned because two of his grandchildren attend this school and he would like to know why the school will be shut down.  He feels the Select Board should get to the bottom of this.

Patricia Clemons asked who is supposed to keep people under control at this meeting.  She thought the chairman was supposed to do it but his temper is out of control too.

Bill motioned to issue a one-day beer and wine permit for Canterbury Farm on Sunday, August 5, 2012 from 12-8 p.m. (rain date August 12, 2012) for 3rd Annual Music in the Garden Event, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Craig announced that his choice for police chief is Officer Kristopher McDonough.  He stated his reasons for choosing him and is asking the Board to support his choice.  Bill will recuse himself from approving this appointment.  Jeanne made a statement regarding the police chief search.  She stated that all of the meetings regarding this were contentious and difficult and she could only speak for herself when she said that she had no preconceived notions as to who should be the new police chief.  She tried to do what was best for the town.  She felt that the town needed a fulltime chief and 24 hour coverage which was voted at the town meeting.  She thanked the Police Chief Search Committee for their work on this difficult task.  She thanked the voters for voting for the fulltime chief and for 24 hour coverage.  She thanked all of the applicants for taking an interest in the Town of Becket.  She hopes that the new chief will have the support of the townspeople as the outgoing chief had.  Jeanne asked Kris what his first steps would be upon assuming responsibility for the job and what is important for him in establishing an effective working relationship with the department itself and the town.  He responded that he is committed to addressing the needs of the community and improving the quality of life for Becket residents.  He expects his officers to conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity and professionalism.  He is going to make sure the town has 24 hour coverage and he was very pleased that the town voted to have this coverage.  Edd Mange asked how 4 years of experience stacked up to 18 years.  Mark explained why Kris was considered and he feels that the town administrator made the correct choice.  Jeanne motioned to approve the town administrator’s appointment of Kristopher McDonough as Police Chief, Mark seconded.  Bill abstained.  Motion passed.

Bill Girard, Code Enforcer, addressed the Board regarding some Violation Notices he sent out.  The first one was a wood carver who lives on Route 20.  Maddy Elovirta wrote a letter to Bill Girard about this and after he received the letter, he immediately sent a “Cease and Desist” order to the wood carver and explained that he was in violation because he did not have a permit to have a wood carvers business.  Bill advised that the wood carver does not have a lot of money available to clean up this property but he was cleaning stuff out.  The other violation was regarding Clement Bergeron’s property on Benton Hill Road.  Bill advised that his file has been an ongoing problem since about 1987.  He has tried for the last couple of years to have Mr. Bergeron keep his front yard cleaned up.  Bill advised that he could take him to court but Mr. Bergeron has been to court and the last time he went to court, he ignored the order to clean up his property.  He advised that this will cost the town money to take him to court and if the Select Board wishes he can take him again.  Bill Elovirta advised that since he became a Selectman, he has received many complaints about code violations throughout the town.  Bill Girard advised that according to the town’s bylaws, he cannot act on any code violations unless he receives a written complaint.  Bill E. stated that many people do not want to complain against their neighbors so they do not submit anything.  Bill G. advised that if people complain to the Select Board, the Select Board could put something in writing for him to investigate.  Bob Ronzio explained the process that people have if they are not permitted a special permit and the process for the Code Enforcer to follow if they refuse to comply with the Zoning Bylaws.  Bill G. advised that if he sees a building violation he immediately writes a letter to the owner but he cannot act on zoning violations until he receives something in writing.  Maddy Elovirta advised that the wood carver is still living in a trailer on the property which is against the zoning bylaws.  She advised that there is no electricity or a septic system for this trailer and he has a wood stove and she is afraid he will end up burning up in this trailer.  She asked where the liability falls if someone gets injured where there is a violation.  Briefly discussed the cost of taking someone to court and the options a town has if someone does not comply with a court order.  Jeanne asked Bill Girard to give the Select Board copies of the violation notices he sends out.

Bill Girard explained that the Permitting Software Contract is the same contract that other towns have signed to do online permits.  Bill motioned to approve the contract, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.  

Briefly discussed building permit fee increases.  The building inspector advised that the fees have increased an average of about 30%.  These fees have not been increased in a very long time and they are more in line with what other towns charge.  Bill feels the town should have raised the fees gradually so it does not look like we increased them by so much.  Jeanne motioned to accept the building inspector fee increases for building permits, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Mark motioned to appoint Colleen Cox to the Registrar of Voters term to expire March 31, 2015, Susan Deacon to the Zoning Board of Appeals term to expire June 30, 2015, William Babcock and Mercedes Gallagher to the Westfield River Wild & Scenic Advisory Committee terms to expire June 30, 2013, Bill seconded.  All in favor.  Jeanne motioned to appoint Paula Cianfarani, Eva Bonney, Franklin Daigle, and Marc Portieri to the Council on Aging terms to expire June 30, 2015, Mark seconded.  All in favor.  Bill motioned to appoint Stephen LaBelle as the alternate to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission term to expire June 30, 2013, Geraldine Walter to the Board of Assessors term to expire June 30, 2015, Kathleen Vsetecka and Robert Gorden to the Community Preservation Committee terms to expire June 30, 2015, Martin Winters to the Conservation Commission term to expire June 30, 2015, Bonnie Falk to the Cultural Council term to expire June 30, 2015, William Robinson to the Jacobs Ladder Trail Advisory Committee term to expire June 30, 2013, Ginger Conner to the Parks Commission term to expire June 30, 2015, Mark seconded. All in favor.  Mark motioned to appoint Richard Pryor to the Conservation Commission term to expire June 30, 2015, Bill seconded.  Jeanne abstained.  Motion passed.  Briefly discussed Howard Lerner as the associate member to the Planning Board.  Bill advised that he has attended several of the Planning Board meetings this past year and Howard Lerner has not attended very many meetings.  He feels that when someone is appointed to a board or commission they are obligated to attend the meetings.  Jeanne motioned to appoint Howard Lerner as associate member to the Planning Board term to expire June 30, 2013, Bill seconded.  All in favor.  Briefly discussed the town administrator’s appointment and the chief procurement officer appointment.  Bill advised that he brought up at the last meeting performance evaluations and he thought that they should discuss a term for these two positions.  He spoke with Craig one day about different problems that he feels should be ironed out soon.  Jeanne also advised that she met with Craig to talk about resolving some issues and has set up a meeting with the employees to get both sides of the issue.  Bill feels that maybe appointing for a term of six months would work so there is time to complete evaluations and see if the issues are resolved by then.  George Fuller advised that according to the town charter the town administrator, after being appointed for six months, needs to reside in Becket but Craig does not live in Becket.  Bill motioned to appoint Craig Kleman as Town Administrator and Chief Procurement Officer term to expire December 31, 2012 and that they revisit this prior to that date, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Briefly discussed the Wage and Benefit Agreements for fulltime employees.  Bill asked about the Highway Superintendent’s WABA.  He advised that he was on the search committee for the highway super and this position changed to a salaried position with 200 overtime hours.  The agreement does not state that anywhere and he would like it to state that.  Chris Bleau asked if all of the WABA’s would be the same for all employees.  Jeanne advised that she only had a week to review the WABA’s and she would like to make them more consistent so it is fair to all employees.  Briefly discussed hourly versus salaried employees.  Jeanne motioned to sign the Wage and Benefit Agreements with the conditions that the employees know that some addendums will have to be made to them, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Briefly discussed Wired West appointments.  Jeanne motioned that if possible Craig act as the municipal lighting plant manager until the duties are defined and operations actually begin, Mark seconded.  All in favor.  Mark motioned to appoint Robert Ronzio as delegate and Zina Jayne as alternate to Wired West, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Jeanne advised that she spoke with Bruce Garlow about the Town Meeting Bylaw Review Committee and they were concerned because the charge of this committee was on the website but it was unclear that the Select Board was looking for people to appoint to this committee.  She would like to hold off on appointing to this committee until it was advertised on the website and the Country Journal.  Jeanne motioned to hold off on appointing to the Town Meeting Bylaw Committee until this has been put on the website and in the Country Journal, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Briefly discussed the Green Communities Grant for the highway garage and town hall.  Craig advised that at the last Select Board meeting they voted on the new concept for insulating the highway garage so now they need to sign the contract so he can issue a notice to proceed.  Jeanne motioned to sign the design contract for highway garage, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Craig explained the Senior Housing aspect of the CDBG.  Bill motioned to sign the contract with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission for Planning Study for Senior Housing in Becket, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Bill asked if the Winter Roads Fuel Account was underfunded because it is short quite a bit and this winter was relatively mild.  The Select Board would like an explanation from the highway superintendent.  Mark motioned to transfer $500 from Outreach Program to Ambulance Salaries, $235 from Outreach Program to Town Administrator Expenses, $5,000 from Health/Life Insurance to Legal Expenses, $5,000 from Veterans Benefits to Municipal Building Utilities, $1,000 from Health/Life Insurance to Municipal Building Utilities, $1,320 from Veterans Benefits to Street Lighting, $500 from Board of Appeals Expenses to Planning Board Expenses, $5,000 from Winter Road Overtime to Winter Roads Fuel, $3,019 from Winter Roads to Winter Roads Fuel, $5,000 from Transfer Station Expenses to Winter Roads Fuel, $2,000 from Elections and Registrations to Winter Roads Fuel, $2,000 from Veterans Benefits to Winter Roads Fuel, $2,000 from Health/Life Insurance to Winter Roads Fuel, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Any other business: Nina advised that she received two requests from employees who wish to roll over some vacation time.  Jeanne motioned to allow Kathy Hayn to rollover 4 ½ vacation days and Christine Bleau to rollover 1 vacation day, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Craig advised that he has set up a meeting with the attorney from MIIA to discuss an issue in executive session on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.

Bill motioned to extend existing Wage and Benefit Agreements for all fulltime employees as written subject to the wage increases voted at the Annual Town Meeting until August, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Bill took exception to George Fuller’s comment about the horses on an acre of land.  He advised that the MSPCA was in contact with the owners several times and they are in compliance now but if this was not what he was referring to then the animal inspector would need to be notified.

Angela Hilton asked now that we have a new police chief when will the cruisers be moved from Bill Elovirta’s property and where will they be kept.  She was informed that they would be moved from Bill’s property after July 1, 2012 but it would be up to the new police chief to decide where they would be kept.

Colleen O’Connor asked when there would be municipal water or septic in North Becket.  She advised that the school’s public water supply is within 250’ of a failed septic system.  She also advised that the Becket General Store and the church’s leach fields are within 100’ of the well for the Becket General Store.  She also stated that the Becket General Store property is still considered a brownfield and the public is unaware of this.  She spoke with Matt from TRC and he advised that none of the soil was removed where the gas was leaking.  Colleen stated that she received the report from us regarding the BGS.  Craig advised that the town only received a letter as an FYI but the Becket General Store received the actual report.

Bob Ronzio stated that any employee who works 6 or more hours is required to take a half hour lunch break.  He also advised that the town sets a precedent if they allow a junkyard without a permit.  He stated that there are many new junkyards out there that are in violation of our zoning bylaws.  He gave the Select Board a copy of a junkyard violation.

Reviewed correspondence.

Briefly discussed documents that need to be listed in minutes and kept in a file that were discussed at the Select Board meetings.  Jeanne advised that if someone references a document but does not give the Select Board a copy it does not need to be listed in the minutes.

10:10 PM Bill motioned to adjourn, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.

Respectfully submitted,                                                         _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary                                                          Mark L. Karlberg, Chairman

Documents discussed at meeting:

  • Permitting Software Contract
  • Wage and Benefit Agreements for fulltime employees
  • Design Contract for Highway Garage
  • Contract with BRPC for Planning Study for Senior Housing in Becket