Minutes of the Chebeague Transition Committee May 3, 2007 at 5:30pm at the offices of Sevee Maher in Cumberland (Accepted 5/16/07)
The meeting was called to order at 5:35 pm.
Members present: Donna Damon, Mark Dyer, Leon Hamilton, David Hill, John Martin (Chair), Doug Ross, Stephen Todd and Carol White.
Absent: Jim Phipps
Beth Howe served as secretary. Ron Grenier attended as Town Administrator-designate.
Others present: Peter Lowe, Brann and Isaacson
David Hill moved, seconded by Carol White, to go into executive session to meet with its lawyer, Peter Lowe, to discuss its legal rights and responsibilities pursuant to MRSA 405.6.A.1 – Title 1, Chapter 13, Section 405. Approved unanimously.
Peter Lowe left at 6:30.
David Hill moved, seconded by Mark Dyer to come out of executive session. Approved unanimously.
Leon Hamilton said he had an issue that needed to be deal with. It is the engine for the harbormasterıs boat. The present engine has been evaluated as not being worth putting money into. He has met with a mechanic and the owner of a 1988 225 hp Johnson motor to see if it would be a reasonable replacement. It has only been used in fresh water. The mechanic will evaluate it thoroughly. Its cost is $3200 which can be paid after July 1, and with installation it should cost about the same as the $5000 that had been budgeted to repair the existing engine. Leon would like to have authorization for the mechanic to evaluate the Johnson motor, and if the evaluation is favorable, for Leon to buy it and develop a letter of intent about the payment. Donna asked whether there is money in the capital budget for a new motor when this one would die. Leon said they have $5000 per year. A new engine would cost about $20,000 and the Johnson might last 5 years and by the end of that time there would be enough money for a new one. Carol White moved, seconded by Doug Ross that Leon be authorized to move forward with the purchase of the Johnson motor. Passed unanimously.
Carol White made a motion, seconded by Donna Damon, to maintain the tie with Brann and Isaacson and to find a way to address the communication questions raised by Brann & Isaacson. The motion passed unanimously.
Stephen Todd moved, seconded by Mark Dyer to have Ron Grenier be the point person with Brann and Isaacson. Several people agreed. Donna said she thought it would also be important for Ron to come to her subcommittee meetings so he can understand where they are coming from. Mark Dyer said he thought this would be inappropriate. The TC has to define what needs to get done by July 1 and too much detail may not be useful. Some things should be left till later. Doug agreed with Mark but suggested that Ron meet with each committee chair to review what they have done. Carol suggested that each committee review its charge, see what they have done and decide what can be done later. Stephen agreed.
Carol also said that it would make sense for the Governmental Structure Subcommittee to make the rest of its presentation on their ideas about structure, but the TC has to decide. The process of tabling the presentation last evening had been a problem. Donna said she was frustrated because the others would not allow her to talk. But Carol and Stephen said that the TC has to be clear about the big decisions before it can focus on the detail in the governmental structure proposals.
Ron said that he thought some of the communication problems came from having the work of the transition divided between a policy group, the TC, and ten research/support subcommittees. Both were working as fast as they could to get the pieces of the Town set up before July 1 but communication between them was insufficient. The policy group should have had a stronger voice in saying ³this is the goal² for the subcommittees to follow. Now that time is growing short, some of the policy-makers are stepping back to see what can be done in what time frame. Not all the decisions have to be made now. Starting up the Town could be done in several phases – the election of officers in June, the first Town meeting on July 1 to set up the basic structures and then instructions from the Town Meeting to the Board of selectmen to have additional special town meetings within a given period of time to address issues such as the Town committees. Everyone has to be realistic about how much time people will need and want to discuss and debate issues in Town Meeting; it may be difficult to do everything in one meeting. The TC needs to develop a vision of how the rest of the process will work, set priorities for what will occur at what meetings and create reasonable expectations for each.
He said he would not be in favor of going to subcommittee meetings. He is not the policy-maker, just the implementer. If he is to be the point person for Brann and Isaacson, he needs to be able to talk with the TC chairman as a sounding board and check. He and John will prioritize the needs for legal services. He needs to have clear guidance from the rest of the TC on the context of why the legal research is important or not.
David suggested that Ron still talk with the committee chairs. John said he will be the first person to bring in the committee chairs. Stephen Toddıs original motion was modified to be: To have Ron Grenier be the point person for contacts with Brann and Isaacson on the municipal side. In the process he will communicate with subcommittee chairs and consult with the TC Chairperson when deemed necessary. The motion was adopted unanimously. Leon said that committee chairs also need to have their members understand that they canıt go to Ron as individuals. The idea of the chain of command is useful.
Carol White asked about the topic of Sundayıs meeting. She has some school issues to discuss but she suggested also preparing for Tuesdayıs meeting with Peter Lowe. Donna said she has the specific questions for Peter that were prepared before. Carol said she wants to focus on the larger issue that Ron had outlined – how far will we go by July 1. This should be done for both the Town and the School sides. David asked whether the school committee has the same issue about what to do before and after July 1. Carol said she had seen their role as setting up the basic components of the school system. The policies that will guide the school Board and Superintendent will be developed by them after July 1.
Donna said that she wanted to have the Governmental Structure Subcommittee do the second half of its presentation. It contains necessary information for deciding about the structure. Carol said she thought it would be better to step back and look at the overall priorities. There has been some disagreement throughout the year over how far down the road the TC should go before July 1. David Hill said that both the TC and the community have made those decisions. All that needs to be done is to go back to the January 28 presentation and reaffirm the goals spelled out then. John Martin said he did not think that such a firm commitment had been made in January by the community but that could still be a good starting place now. Stephen Todd said that the decisions presented at that meeting had been agreed upon then.
Carol pushed for what would be on the agenda on Sunday and what the outcome should be. The outcome should be policy decisions about what the governmental structure will be. David said the TC should use the three-meeting model that Ron had presented to decide what issues would be taken up at each meeting. Sundayıs meeting will be at 8:30am.
At 7:45 Leon moved to adjourn.