Minutes of the Chebeague Transition Committee January 21, 2007 at 9:00 at the Rec Center. (Accepted 1/24/07)
Members present: Donna Damon, Mark Dyer, Leon Hamilton, David Hill, John Martin (Chair), Stephen Todd.
Absent: Jim Phipps, Doug Ross and Carol White
There was some informal discussion about how the initial Town Meeting will work. The election for selectmen is held at the beginning but they have no official role at the meeting. A moderator is elected and runs the meeting. The Transition Committee members will be the people to present the various warrants. The Selectmen take over after the meeting is complete. The warrants give a short summary of each item. If the warrant item is an ordinance or something too big to include in the Town Report, it will available at various places on the island for people to look at in advance.
Leon Hamilton reported that there is a new state requirement that harbormasters go to a course in Castine that will be held on March 22-24. Tuition, membership in the harbormastersı organization and 2 nights in Castine will cost about $300. Also there will be clam warden training in April. Donna Damon said this means that it is important to begin the hiring process. Several ideas were suggested about alternatives if someone is not hired by March 22.
Public meeting on January 28
It was agreed to discuss the order of the agenda items first and then go back and discuss the substance. David Hill and Donna Damon will make a powerpoint.presentation . Carol White had sent an email with a proposed, revised agenda..
1. Budget: Carolıs draft: ³review of budget submitted to the Legislature in 2006². This agenda item was agreed to. ³Process and timetable for development of Town budget for July 1 Town Meeting². This was agreed to. David Hill said it is important to have a ball-park estimate for the amount of money required to get up and running fully. How much would the lawyerıs fees be? Herb Maine said he thought CICA had spent in the range of $20,000 to 30,000. Could the billing be deferred till after July 1? Donna said start-up might cost more if it is put off till after July 1 because of Cumberland s offer of free training. David said he likes the idea of having an individual islander put up the money for transition with the expectation that the Town will pay it back. Leon Hamilton did not like the idea of starting the Town with money from one individual. Mark Dyer said he thought people would be distrustful of the idea of an individual putting up the money. He thought it would be better to have a line of credit at the bank. Leon suggested putting the financing issue out to the January 28 meeting. He thought the island would come together to support the idea of opening a line of credit. David said his subcommittee does not want to have to do fund-raising.
2. Organizational structure: Carolıs draft: ³Organizational structure for the Town of Chebeague.² Deleted language ³How close to ³fully up and running² should we expect to be?² and the question of ³what should the Town should look like on July 1.² David Hill said he thought this was a central issue. John Martin suggested asking people at the meeting what they think the Town government should look like. Stephen Todd said that opening up the issue may make people think that all these decisions would be put to Town Meeting, whereas the reality would probably be that most would be decided by the selectmen and administrator. Beth Howe said that there are two separate questions: what people want the Town to do and when they want it to start. Mark Dyer said that it is important for the TC to go to the public meeting with a consensus.
Donna said she thinks the secession law allows the town to be operational on July 2. The TC should put out its recommendations for what the Town would look like on July 2. This would cover the organizational structure, what the Town would be doing on July 2 and how the TC plans to pay for the start-up. David Hill agreed. Leon Hamilton and Stephen Todd said that it is important for the recommendations to come from the whole TC.
Later in the meeting when Beth Howe was asked to read out the agenda items for the Organizational Structure section of the meeting it was agreed that the agenda would be:
2. What will the Town of Chebeague look like on July 2?
Recommended implementation by July 2
Recommended funding for establishing the town
3. Hiring process: Carolıs draft: ³Policy². Everyone agreed on that. ³Process and timetable². Everyone agreed on that. David suggested assign another topic ³Statutory requirements² to cover things like the training for harbormasters and clam wardens.
4. ³Report from Marine Committee². Leon Hamilton said he will talk about how the recommendations were arrived at and where people can go to read them.
5. ³Update on education committee and public meeting in February² This will be Carolıs section.
Donna said she wants to add an item (6) on the Town seal contest. February 15 is the deadline. She has posted information on the web and in the Calendar.
Content of agenda items.
Budget: David Hill said he plans to put the 2006 legislative budget up on the screen and use it as a reference point for current work on the Town budget. Leon Hamilton and John Martin agreed. Mark Dyer asked whether the 2006 budget is a good estimate or needs to be adjusted. David said it was a pretty good estimate, but no estimate can be very exact. This is why correcting for inflation since last year really is not realistic. Leon said that Chebeague people have come to think of it as accurate and expect the TC to stick to it. David said that once the Town budget is further along the Finance Subcommittee will have cash-flow estimates which will be more accurate.
The group worked out a time-table for the budget process. Herb said he would make a flow-chart of the process for the mailing.
Subcommittees to have draft budgets to Finance by February 15.
Initial public workshop on those estimates by TC March 4
Back to subcommittees for revisions
Public hearing on half of revised budget March 18
Public hearing on other half April 1
Revisions by Finance Subcommittee
Final budget April 29
Warrants and budget sent to printer May 15
Warrants sent to residents June 1
David Hill said that he wants to talk about the issue of having an individual islander fund the transition with later reimbursement by the Town. Mark said that such an offer should be made to the TC before there should be public discussion of it.
Organizational structure: Donna Damon said she will do an additional chart showing the jobs that selectmen must do. John said he does not want to put in the FTEs. Herb Maine said that Carol White agreed. There was discussion of what ³FTE² means – full time equivalent of 40 hours per week. John Martin said he disagreed with the recommendation that the Administrator and Town Clerk be full-time. He has been looking at the salary data for town administrators in towns the same size as Chebeague from Maine Municipal. Also he had an email discussion with Bill Shane about the number of transactions or numbers of people being served that the Chebeague Town office would have to handle. A transaction would be issuing a car registration, for example. Bill worked down from the Cumberland numbers and came up with 3000/year. That would be 58 per week for two people or less than one per hour. Donna said that these ³transactions² donıt include the work that is done by the manager or the planner or people other than the clerks who work at the counter. Donna said that the Transition Committee has approved the recommendations for the FTEs from Marine Resources, Land Use, Public Works and Waste Management, as well as for the Town administrator and Town Clerk. The idea of including the FTEs was to put that information out before the public so people could agree or disagree. John said the new data had changed his mind since the decision was made. Herb said that at the public meeting the TC had the choice of presenting these decisions as a consensus or as a majority vote over which there was disagreement that was worth public discussion. Donna said that the TC had made a decision and should stick to it. Leon Hamilton agreed that the TC had voted on these items. He didnıt agree with all of them but thinks this is not the time to revisit this one. John was not convinced. Herb said that when there is disagreement on the TC members need to acknowledge and work through it.
Hiring: Someone asked who will present this section. No one was assigned to do it. TC hiring policy is set. In relation to the process Donna Damon asked whether the TC, acting as a committee of the whole would do the hiring for the school as well as the Town. This was agreed to. She suggested that the TC get help from Nadeen Daniels about the specific stages of the hiring process since Nadeen has much useful experience. The process will involve advertising the positions with a deadline for responses. Then a review of the applications to select the people who would be interviewed, and development of questions for each interview. There was a discussion about setting a schedule for the hiring process and working out where the ads should appear. Others did not feel that the subcommittees were far enough along to do this. Herb Maine and David Hill suggested having a hiring task force or subcommittee. Donna Damon said she would hold a meeting on Thursday January 25 at 6:00 at the Parish House to work out a time-line for the hiring process and work on the job descriptions. David Hill is exploring the question of employee benefits with Maine Municipal. He will bring recommendations on them back to the TC. He asked whether the Town employees would be non-union as of June 30. Donna said yes.
Leon asked if letters had been sent to current Town employees to encourage them to apply for Town of Chebeague jobs. Beth Howe read out some of the language from Jim Phippsı hiring policy memo that indicated that inviting them to apply would be ok. Leon said that he strongly favored sending a letter to them with the hiring policy attached before the public mailing goes out with the hiring policy in it. John Martin agreed to do this. David Hill proposed language for the letter. A list of the recipients was made.
There was quick discussion of Carol Whiteıs piece on Education and the Town seal. The Town seal entries are being sent to Donna Damonıs house. Donna asked where should applications for Town jobs be sent. Leon said the TC could use his address.
It was agreed to have the TC present its various reports at the January 28 meeting and then have public discussion. Herb Maine said that since Steve Moriarty will be running the meeting it would be useful to talk to him about what would make sense in relation to questions, straw polls or calling on people who have not been called on before going to people who have already spoken.
Packet to be mailed: It will include a letter from John Martin, the agenda, Donna Damonıs three organization charts, the budget flow chart from Herb Maine and the text that Beth Howe had written which will include the hiring policy language. It will have the Councilıs bulk mailing information and the postal patron address on the back and be folded. Everyone will send their material to John Martin who will take it to town to be copied. Beth Howe will mail it from Chebeague.