Minutes of the Chebeague Transition Committee January 31, 2007 at 7:15 at the Parish House. (Accepted xxxx/07)
Members present: Donna Damon, Mark Dyer, Leon Hamilton, David Hill, John Martin (Chair), Jim Phipps, Doug Ross, Stephen Todd, and Carol White. Steve Moriarty served as invited Chair.
Tracking warrants: Beth Howe said that she and Herb Maine have been working on a database to record motions and what happens to them. Carol White said she thought the present version was more detailed than was necessary. Beth asked how the TC members want to use it. They said that they want to have an easy way to check the status of particular motions – a kind of index. Beth said she would being an example of the output next time.
Memorandum of Understanding: Donna Damon passed out a ³service agreement² (attached) that she had gotten from Bill Shane. It would have to be signed by all members of the TC, but several people said that it would be better and easier to designate someone to sign. Carol White said she has a letter of intent from Yarmouth that was developed during the secession movement. It may be a good example of what they are like. Steve Moriarty said he would ask Bill Shane for an example of a letter of intent. Peter Lowe will also give advice on this. David Hill asked whether the party other than the Town could approve the MOU or letter of intent before July 1 so that it would be ready to be approved by the first Town Meeting. There seemed no reason why this could not happen. David laid out the process by which MOUs or letters of intent would be approved. A subcommittee would work out the wording and recommend it to the TC. If the TC approved it, the MOU or letter would go to Peter Lowe to review. Then it would go back to the TC for final authorization for it to be signed. Carol White asked whether the process for developing hiring contracts is a public one. Steve Moriarty said it is not public while the contract is being discussed. Donna Damon added that final ratification of the contract is public and once approved it becomes a public document.
5. Reports from Non-Reporting Subcommittees:
Finance: The subcommittee is interviewing companies about health insurance and workers compensation insurance. Maine Municipal has agreed to treat Chebeague as if it is a town already. Carol White has contacted Maine School Management about the same issues for school personnel. It seems that town and school insurance may be handled by different firms. Donna Damon asked how the insurance would work if someone worked both for the school and the town. John Martin said in his company it depends on the percentage breakdown between different units. Mark Dyer asked David Hill if the Finance Subcommittee would be working on the benefits packages for all Town employees. David said yes.
Waste Management: Mark Dyer has been interviewing potential providers of service about bids – barging companies, brush pile chippers, Clean Harbors about disposing of hazardous waste, trucking companies, EcoMaine and Maine Energy Recovery for taking the islandıs waste and Peter Maher for monitoring the landfill. He said he should have enough information by February 15 to have a well-developed budget. Donna Damon commended Mark for his work.
Education: Carol White said that they are pulling their budget together. They have separate subcommittees working on specific areas like transportation. They have had offers from several school systems – Long Island, Pownal and SAD 51 to review the draft budget to see if it covers everything. The Education Subcommittee will have a budget workshop on February 10 and bring their recommendations to the February 14 TC meeting. They want them to be discussed on February 21 and expect that this would take up most of the meeting. After February 14 they will hold a public meeting on the school recommendations. Jerry Wiles is heading the hiring committee. They have developed an ad for the superintendentıs job which they hope to run soon. David Hill asked whether there would be any students on the hiring committee. Carol said that since the school itself would be K-5, the committee had decided not to have a student.
There is a great deal happening at the state level on school consolidation. It is important that we follow this because it will affect us. There will be a hearing in Augusta on Monday at the Civic Center. This week there were preliminary hearings on several alternatives to the Governorıs proposal. At the Monday hearing the Island Institute will make a statement for the islands. John Ash asked whether Maine recognizes home schooling and whether this would be an alternative to being consolidated into a large mainland district. Carol said that home schooling is not being considered but some other islands have talked about privatizing their schools. The potential problem with that is that even an island with no public school might still be held responsible for contributing financially to the consolidated school district.
Carol asked how the TC wants the Education Subcommittee to deal with contracts with organizations like CTC; should they do theirs and the TC deal with contracts with the Town? Or would the TC do all contracts? Carol and Donna discussed having the Town and School District contracts with CTC be combined. Jim Phipps said that this is in his Subcommitteeıs jurisdiction and that he thought they should be kept separate because the arrangements in the past have been quite different. It may be useful to explore whether the arrangements should be changed. Donna Damon said this should be discussed in Executive Session. John Martin said he will put an Executive Session on next Wednesdayıs agenda.
Governmental Structure: Donna Damon moved, seconded by David Hill to accept the four offers of donations that have been made for equipment and services for the Town office, and request that John Martin send thanks to the donors on behalf of the TC. Passed unanimously (motion attached).
Hiring: Donna then proposed a recommendation (attached) from the Hiring Subcommittee about advertising for Town and school jobs. They proposed having single ads in Maine Sunday Telegram, the Forecaster, Island Times, the Working Waterfront and the Calendar, with listing in a weekly job newspaper with a website as well. The single ad would include listings for all the Chebeague town and school jobs. Having a larger, combined ad saves money. The job applications will be sent back to Leon Hamiltonıs address and Donna Colbeth will duplicate them for review. David Hill said ads could appear on MMA and MSMA websites. Carol White said this is expensive. She also said that, based on the motion that the TC approved at the last meeting about school hiring, the Education Subcommittee has been expecting to do its own advertising on line with MSMA and in the section of the Sunday Telegram that focuses on educational jobs. The Chebeague Parents Association will pay for the ads and Jerry Wiles, head of the ES would get the applications. The ES is particularly anxious to start advertising for a superintendent soon. Donna said it would be less expensive if they were all done together. The jobs that would be advertised on the Town side would be the administrator, the Town clerk, the public works employees, harbormaster and shellfish warden. Beth Howe asked whether the Code Enforcement Officer would be included. This position would be a contract employee, rather than a town employee, but that would not be a reason to leave the job out. Doug Ross said the time line is tight for two positions he still has to work out. Donna said that the ad in the MST could be put off for a week to February 15, given that the deadline for applications is not until March 7. Leon Hamilton asked whether there would be salary and benefit ranges given in the ad. Donna said these have not been worked out yet. Jim Phipps said it is very useful to include these specifics. He argued that the Education Subcommittee should be allowed to go ahead with advertising for a superintendent since they have text for an ad, while the Town ad has not been written yet. Carol and Donna both said they want to get going soon on this and that they thought it might work to not have the salary and benefit ranges in the ads. Donna withdrew her original motion. David Hill, seconded by Mark Dyer moved to authorize the Education Subcommittee to proceed with its ad on the superintendent. The time-table for the Town ads was modified to begin on February 12 in the job newspaper, February 15 for MST, February 16 in the Forecaster, February 20 in the Calendar and March 1 in the Working Waterfront and the Island Times. The TC will use CICA money for the Town ads. This was approved unanimously.
Steve Moriarty and Leon Hamilton left.
6. New Business:
Carol White said she had talked with Peter Lowe about the changes in the letter of engagement. He will bill for services after February 1. The TC will be responsible for deciding who can talk with him. David Hill moved, seconded by Doug Ross to approve the amended letter of engagement. This was approved unanimously.
School Consolidation: Donna Damon said that there will be a large public hearing on the various proposals in Augusta on February 5 at the Civic Center. The Island Institute wants to organize islanders to come and gather visibly in the lobby of the Civic Center between 9:00 and 10:00 to make the case that island schools would be uniquely vulnerable if they were included in mainland super-districts. Jim Phipps asked whether she wants the TC to do something. Donna said she wants to get the word out the islanders that the issue is important to Chebeague and to go on Monday. She wants the TC to oppose the bill. Carol White said that the issue is important for us and something will be done on it during this legislative session. But she didnıt want to panic people. It may be possible to wait to act till later in February to respond. John Martin asked what the message would be to Chebeaguers? Would it be the money? Carol said the financial implications are not clear yet. She has been working with DOE on the issue of island schools. It is important to be sensitive to their perspective. David Hill said the central issue is local control and Chebeague tiny size relative to a large mainland district. Carol said that the legislators remember Chebeaue from last year and would listen to what they have to say. David moved, seconded by Stephen, that the Transition Committee convey to the Legislature that it is opposed to the existing legislation and supports Donna Damonıs presentation at the public hearing. Approved unanimously.
Jim Phipps announced that the Casco Bay Island Development District will be having a meeting with members of the areaıs legislative delegation on Saturday at 9:30 at the Casco Bay Lines Terminal.
John Martin went over the agenda for next Wednesday:
Report of the Land Use Subcommittee – Beth Howe
Report on tracking of TC motions – Beth Howe
Executive Session. Should Steve Moriarty be present at this?
Update on school consolidation
Report from Governmental Structure committee
At 10:20 Donna Damon moved, seconded by David Hill to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel matters. Approved unanimously. At 10:30 Jim Phipps moved, seconded by Doug Ross to come out of Executive Session. Approved unanimously. No report was made.