Minutes of the Chebeague Transition Committee April 4, 2007 at 7:00pm at the Parish House (Accepted xxxxx/07
Members present: Donna Damon, Mark Dyer, Leon Hamilton, David Hill, John Martin (Chair), Jim Phipps, Doug Ross, Stephen Todd and Carol White
Beth Howe served as secretary.
The meeting was called to order by John Martin at 7:06 PM.
1. Minutes: Jim Phipps moved approval of the meetings of March 18, Seconded by Donna Damon, approved unanimously. Donna moved, seconded by Mark Dyer that the minutes of March 25 be approved. The motion was approved, 5 in favor and 3 abstentions. Leon Hamilton moved, seconded by Jim Phipps to approve the minutes of March 27, 28 and 29. Approved 7 to 0 with two abstentions.
2. Questions from the public: none.
3. Employee benefits:
Donna Damon said she had talked with Steve Moriarty and Nadeen Daniels on benefits and Nadeen had recommended having the benefits discussion in executive session. Donna moved that the TC go into executive session pursuant to MRSA 405.6.A.1 – Title 1, Chapter 13, Section 405. Seconded by John Martin. Carol White said she thought that the issue of the general philosophy of benefits should be discussed in open session and that it would be useful to get some feedback on the proposals. Mark Dyer said that the discussion would probably involve discussing individual applicants. Donna said she thought that having the discussion in open session would limit the creativity of the group and would stiffly stifle discussion. David Hill said he agrees with Carol but thinks it might be best to go into executive session. Carol said she was worried that people feel excluded from the TC deliberations. Donna thought it would be different if everything were not so new. In an ongoing town there would be staff to do research on benefit choices and they would be presented in a general framework. Jim Phipps moved to table the benefits discussion until later in the meeting after the public items had been discussed. Mark Dyer asked Susan Campbell if she had come to hear the discussion of benefits. She said yes and left. Carol was concerned about the dwindling participation in the Wednesday meetings. Donna said that the group isnıt close to a recommendation on benefits. There will have to be a major discussion. Leon Hamilton said he thought there would be a recommendation at tonightıs meeting. John had sent out an email with a recommendation. He would like to see all the benefits be the same and that would make it unnecessary to discuss individual cases. Stephen said it would be better to have a discussion in executive session, make a decision on benefits and then get input. Jim Phipps pointed out that motions to table are not debatable. The vote on the motion to table the discussion of benefits until the executive session was unanimously in favor.
4. New Business
Leon gave an update on the Marine Issues Subcommittee. On Saturday they will meet with Bill Shane and the Cumberland Shellfish Committee to make the Cumberland and Chebeague ordinances compatible about who has licenses in which town. They will also go over the Cumberland ordinance to see if anything has been overlooked. He said that his committee will be changing the Chebeague ordinance to conform to a change in state law. Shellfish ordinances used to last for a term of three years, but now they can be adopted for an indefinite period. He will also talk to Bill Shane about getting the harbormasterıs boat evaluated. It may need a new power head.
Carol White said she had scheduled interviews with the two candidates for school superintendent for April 10 and 12. There may also be a third candidate and another interview. This is someone who applied recently and looks interesting. The first two candidates will come over at 5:00 and meet informally with the Education Subcommittee. This meeting is primarily for the candidates to see the school and have their own questions answered. Between 7 and 7:20 the TC should come to the school to interview them. Donna Damon asked whether the TC should prepare questions for the interview. David Hill suggested using the administrator questions. Carol said her committee had asked mostly questions about education. She will email them to everyone and people should send her back ideas for questions they want to ask. Jim Phipps said he would not be able to come to the Tuesday meeting and so must miss the other as well. Leon asked whether the Chebeague superintendent would be superintendent of some other school district as well. Carol said yes. Carol also said applications are coming in for teachers, ed techs, custodian and bus driver. She also sent the school budget to Jim Ryer RIER at the state DOE for comments.
Carol White also reported on the status of school consolidation in Augusta. She said it was very quiet, which was quite unsettling. She thinks that the principals may be negotiating and that an agreed upon proposal could be announced any time. There has been some organization in opposition. She still hopes that islands may be exempt.
Donna Damon said that Bill Shane had sent a letter to Jim Ryer RIER protesting that Cumberland is not getting the extra $1 million in state aid that they expected as a result of Chebeagueıs secession. She had not seen the letter and neither had Carol. She understood that it says that if Cumberland had known that they would not get the $1million they would not have accepted secession as they did.
Donna said that Peter Rice is working on the handicapped access to the various public buildings on Chebeague. He still has some measuring to do. She said it might make sense to try to arrange an MOU with Cumberland to try to get the Secretary of Stateıs office to treat us as two separate towns for the purpose of getting a grant to fix the access problems, even though the application would have to be made before July 1. The grant could cover 80 percent of the cost of correcting the problems. There was a brief discussion about using the Rec Center as the voting place.
Carol White said she had prepared a postcard about the public meeting on the budget. She will assemble the information on the education budget by April 10. David Hill will printout the three summary pages of the budget that are to go in the mailing by April 10 as well, John Martin is working on the letter to go with the mailing.
Doug Ross gave an update on his meeting with the Cumberland County Sheriffıs Department. They are cautiously optimistic that they may be able to provide a police officer for the summer. Housing is an issue. If Chebeague has its own constable, that person could write tickets and collect information about problems but would not have the authority to arrest anyone. If Chebeague hires a reserve officer with the power to arrest, that person has to be licensed to carry a weapon. This added power would open up a lot of extra requirements for reporting and liability insurance. However, Leon has been considering whether the Shellfish Warden should have these powers, and that would mean the Town would have to meet the requirements in any case. Mark Dyer asked whether the idea is to have someone from the Cumberland County Sheriffıs Office for 3 months in the summer and a constable for the rest of the year. One issue is whether Chebeague could find a constable. The Sheriffıs Office says they could work fairly well to back up a constable.
5. At 9:20 David Hill moved to go into executive session pursuant to MRSA 405.6.A.1 – Title 1, Chapter 13, Section 405 to discuss personnel matters. Approved unanimously.
Carol White left at 10:45.
At 10:50 David Hill moved, seconded by John Martin, to come out of executive session.
David moved, seconded by John Martin that the TC choose Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO Option 1, for Town employee health insurance, at rates to be determined. The Town would pay 95 percent of the premium for a single employee, but that premium amount could be applied to any of the plans in Option 1. Approved unanimously.
David Hill moved, seconded by John Martin to adopt flexible benefit plans for Town employees to help with health care and child care.. The employee can put before-tax money into the account. The Town would not contribute to the accounts. Approved unanimously.
David Hill moved, seconded by Mark Dyer that the Town reimburse municipal employees commuting from the mainland for transportation and parking costs and that school employees continue to have such costs addressed in the CTC School Contract. Approved 4-3 (Donna Damon, Leon Hamilton, John Martin opposed).
Jim Phipps moved, seconded by David Hill that the TC authorize John Martin and Donna Damon to serve as a team to negotiate with a prospective candidate for Town Administrator. Approved unanimously.
6. The meeting was adjourned at 11:10.