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Select Board Minutes 12/19/12
Members present:        Mark Karlberg, Jeanne Pryor, William Elovirta

Others Present: Craig Kleman, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Patricia Mullins-BRPC, John Sakata, Joseph Kellogg, John Amato, Ann Spadafora, Ginger Conner

7:00 PM Meeting opened.

Mark asked if anyone was recording the meeting.  Colleen O’Connor is videotaping the meeting for the Becket Athenaeum.

Select Board’s Comments and Announcements: Jeanne thanked the police department and the principal at Becket Washington School for working together to make sure there was a good police presence at the school.

Town Administrator’s Report: Craig advised that the Town Administrator’s report was self explanatory.  He asked to make a final comment on his last Select Board Meeting.  He stated of all of his accomplishments since he started as town administrator.  He also stated that personnel issues have been his biggest failing in that he expected people to do their jobs but this was impossible when you have a mature workforce that has been entrenched and believes that they are entitled.  He also stated that his performance evaluation was laughable and that there are department heads who do not know all aspects of their jobs.  He feels he served the town admirably.

The Select Board reviewed minutes of previous meetings.  Bill motioned to approve the minutes of November 28, 2012, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.
Public Input: Colleen O’Connor expressed her opinion about changes in town staff.

Ann Spadafora thanked Craig for his service.  She stated that he has always been incredibly cooperative, easy to work with, very organized and very considerate.

Patricia Mullins from Berkshire Regional Planning Commission updated the Board on the CDBG and GCTA grants.  She advised that the Green Communities grant was originally for a salt shed but was changed to complete energy efficient measures at the highway garage and hopefully air conditioning at town hall.  She also advised that the highway garage is almost completed.  She gave the Select Board photos of the garage to see the work that has been done so far.  She advised that this grant was supposed to be completed by the end of this year but they asked for an extension to try to complete the air conditioning at town hall.  The next step would be to procure the air conditioning project and finish it and do a final report.  Once that is done, the DOER wants to give us more money so they would need to come up with a new project.  She advised what needs to be done now is to extend BRPC’s contract so that it ends on June 30, 2013.  Bill asked what they would be reapplying for.  She advised that BRPC would be working with the town to come up with a new project.  Bill asked if putting in new windows at Fire Station #1 could be done under this grant.  She was not sure if an energy audit was ever done at Fire Station #1.  If not, this would be the first thing that would need to be done to determine if this would be a good project.  Jeanne asked if a solar energy project would fall under this grant.  Pat advised that it would.  Bill motioned to approve the fourth amendment to the Agreement between the Town of Becket, hereinafter called the Town, and the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, hereinafter called the Commission, effective this 19th day of December, 2012, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.  Pat gave the Select Board an update on the CDBG.  She advised that the infrastructure project is pretty much completed.  There is something that will be done in the spring to complete it.  She said they are still working on the Affordable Senior Housing Study and should have something to the Select Board in May.  She updated the Select Board on the housing rehab portion of the CDBG.  She advised that there were 7 housing projects and five of them are under contract.  She spoke with Elton Ogden and he advised her that some pretty serious projects have been completed.  She briefly explained the escrow account for the housing rehab projects.  She would like to sit down with the interim town administrator and talk about the issues they have been having with the escrow account.  In response to a question from John Amato, Pat advised that there is a section in the CDBG that explains how the escrow accounts work but she feels it is very hard to understand and a possible flow chart might make things easier to understand.

Briefly discussed the Agreement between Town of Becket and Joseph A. Kellogg as Interim Town Administrator.  Mr. Kellogg reviewed the agreement and was fine with it.  Jeanne motioned to appoint Joseph A. Kellogg as Interim Town Administrator based on the Agreement dated December 19, 2012, Bill seconded.  All in favor.  Jeanne wanted to make sure Mr. Kellogg got the job description.

Bill motioned to approve the Town Administrator’s appointment of Michael Hunt as part time police officer from probationary police officer term to expire June 30, 2013, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

The Select Board reviewed the three letters of interest for the Board of Health vacancies.  Jeanne motioned to appoint Laurel Burgwardt to the Board of Health, Bill seconded.  All in favor.  Ginger Conner advised that John Amato has experience with septic systems and has a lot of knowledge about the Board of Health.  Ginger motioned to appoint John Amato to the Board of Health, Mark seconded.  All in favor.  Bill asked John if he would have any conflicts of interest with Becket Woods since he is involved in the Becket Woods Road District.  He did not think so and if he did he would recuse himself.  Ann Spadafora has known John Amato for years and feels he would be a wealth of information to the BOH.  Jeanne recommended that the new members be trained by the Berkshire Health Alliance.  Ginger advised that there are other classes provided by the State that they will be required to go to.  These appointments are only until the next election.  If the appointees want to continue on the BOH they would need to run in the election in May.

Jeanne read the minutes of May 19, 2010 where the previous Select Board voted to remove a piece of property from the land auction and sell it to the Becket Land Trust for $1.  Bill motioned to sign the Quitclaim Deed for the property transfer from the Town of Becket to the Becket Land Trust, Inc. which was recorded in the Berkshire Middle District Registry of Deeds in Book 519, Page 577, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

The Select Board reviewed the highway superintendent help wanted ad and job description.  Jeanne felt that the last two sentences under Statement of Duties should be removed from the job description and put in the help wanted ad but the year-round population should be changed to 1,800.  She also found a typo under Essential Functions item 4.  It should state: Determines specifications and prepares projects for bidding.  Briefly discussed salary range for the ad.  Bill advised that when he was highway superintendent, he received overtime pay.  When they hired after Bill left, they changed the position to a salary position which included 200 overtime hours.  He does not think this worked out because it did not appear that the highway super worked any overtime which caused the other highway workers to receive overtime.  Joe Kellogg explained how they figured the highway super pay while he worked in Chester and Sheffield.  He will work on the highway superintendent help wanted ad.  Briefly discussed the highway superintendent search committee.  Bill would like to represent the Board on this committee.  Bill will give Nina some names of highway supers from other towns who may be interested in serving on the search committee.  Ginger Conner advised that she would be interested in serving if they needed her.

Jeanne motioned to recommend George Roberts to be appointed to the 250th Anniversary Committee, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Jeanne motioned to approve the liquor license renewal applications for Dream Away Lodge for an annual all alcoholic restaurant license and Uncle Larry’s Tavern for an annual all alcoholic restaurant license, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Jeanne motioned to increase the temporary resident population to 9,000 for the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

The Select Board reviewed the Becket Ambulance Department Request for Write-Off Report.  Jeanne motioned to write-off run number 24210 and send the rest to the collection agency.  Bill asked if they should write-off the one run because he wanted more information.  Jeanne revised her motion to send all to collection agency except run number 24210, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Any other business: Jeanne would like the Scholarship Committee to send a copy of their charter and their 501-C3.  She advised that they just sent a letter but they had asked for this documentation.

Jeanne recommended that the Select Board set a date for petitioned articles and add this to the budget calendar.  She feels that we need enough time to get the warrant set to mail out and have it posted.  Jeanne motioned to add April 1st as the deadline for petitioned articles, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Jeanne would like to find out if someone from the State would come to a Select Board meeting to talk about the beaver issue by the Shaw Pond Area.  Mark will contact the woman from the State to see when she could come in to address this issue.

Beth VanNess asked the Select Board to speak with the Finance Committee about having an appropriation for Senior Transportation.  She advised that there are many seniors who cannot afford to pay the BRTA for transportation to doctor’s appointments, etc.  Jeanne asked her if the Council on Aging voted at a meeting to do this.  Beth advised that she was not at a COA meeting but there are a lot of seniors that do not come to the lunches because they do not drive.  Briefly discussed putting guidelines in place so it does not get abused by people who do not need the services.  Beth feels a letter could go out to all senior citizens in town to make them aware of this program.  

Ginger Conner spoke as a resident of town and not a Board of Health member.  She read the article in the paper about the Town Administrator’s performance and feels this was a harsh and mean article and it will follow Craig forever.  She is asking the Board if this was a mistake.  Bill and Jeanne advised that they did not know anything about this article.  Jeanne was disturbed and disappointed by this article because issues discussed at an executive session was included in the article but the Select Board has not even seen the minutes to this meeting.  She feels there should have been no comment made about the executive session meeting.  Mark advised that he spoke with the reporter for the Berkshire Eagle.  Ginger feels there should have been no comment made by a member of the Select Board.  She feels that this hurt Craig and will follow him forever.  She feels if you cannot say something nice then they should not say anything at all.  Jeanne advised that she called Craig and apologized as soon as she saw the article.  Ginger feels the Select Board should send Craig a letter.  Colleen O’Connor feels that the whole town administrator evaluation process was hard to witness.  She feels that Craig was chastised at meetings regarding his evaluation.  Jeanne advised that she will not talk about any of this now because of the executive session but will address this at a later time.  Ann Spadafora asked why this was done publicly.  She was advised that the evaluation process is done publicly per the Open Meeting Law.  Ginger asked why she did not get a staff survey because she is a department head.  It was only sent to department heads who worked under the Town Administrator.  The Board of Health is an elected board that does not fall under the supervision of the town administrator.

Nina advised that she received a letter from a resident that thanked the town for cutting back the brush on the bank by North Becket Cemetery.  She said it looked great and she appreciated the work done by the highway department.

Nina advised that she received a call from L.P. Adams about a past due invoice.  She had them fax her the invoice and found that this was a previous year invoice.  This would have to go to a town meeting for a vote before it can be paid.  Nina advised that the Parks Department should have paid the invoice but they never received it from the highway department.  This will need to go on a future town meeting warrant.

Reviewed correspondence.

9:08 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:

  • Fourth Amendment to the Agreement By and Between the Town of Becket and BRPC
  • Agreement between the Town of Becket and Joseph A. Kellogg as Interim Town Administrator
  • Quitclaim Deed for Property Sold to the Becket Land Trust
  • Highway Superintendent Help Wanted ad and Job Description