Minutes of the Chebeague Transition Committee May 6, 2007 at 8:30am at the Rec Center (Accepted 5/16/07)
The meeting was called to order at 8:50am by John Martin
Members present: Donna Damon, Mark Dyer, Leon Hamilton, David Hill, John Martin (Chair), Jim Phipps, Doug Ross, Stephen Todd and Carol White.
Absent: Jim Phipps
Beth Howe served as secretary. Ron Grenier attended as Town Administrator designate.
David Hill passed out two Memoranda of Understanding for hiring the Town Administrator. One covers the period before July 1 and the other, after July1.
John Martin said he thought the purpose of the meeting was to develop a clear picture for Peter Lowe of what governmental structure the Transition Committee has recommended for the Town. He is taking David Hillıs suggestion to start with the organization chart that was handed out to the public at the January 28 public meeting on the structure (attached). Ron Grenier said he had talked with Peter Lowe after the meeting on Thursday and corresponded with him by email. Peter suggested that ³the Town start business with matters being run by a Board of Selectmen operating under their statutory authority, a Town Administrator and, of course, the Town Meeting serving as the legislative body. The citizens at Town Meeting could vote on an Article to create a Governance Subcommittee, appointed by the Selectmen. This Subcommittee could then review the governance needs of the Town, and presumably use much of the hard work that has been done already. The Subcommitteeıs recommendation could then be presented to the Selectmen and they would propose an Article or Ordinances for vote as a Special Town Meeting..²
David Hill said the issue for today is not to revisit or change the recommendations in the organization chart but to look at their ramifications. He asked Ron whether Ron thought Peter Loweıs suggestion was simply one approach or a recommendation? Ron said that Peter is clear that the secession legislation would allow this but would not limit the TC to this option. Ron said that Peter has concerns, which he shares, about the timing of the work. There are many issues related to the election and the first Town Meeting that still need legal review and clarification. The meetings have to be conducted according to the law and it would be unfortunate to get hung up in procedural questions raised by citizens at the first Town Meetings. So he leans toward supporting Peterıs suggestion about the Governance Subcommittee.
Mark Dyer said that his understanding of the first two meetings is that they would elect the selectmen and school board members, set up the basic structure of the Town and School District governments so that things like the Fire and Rescue Services could operate, adopt a budget, adopt job descriptions and MOUs for hiring and appoint a Governance subcommittee (which could be the existing Governmental Structure Subcommittee) which would report more detailed governmental structure recommendations later. David said this is consistent with the ides of having three Town Meetings initially.
Someone suggested that at the hearings that have been scheduled in May to review the budget, that there also be discussion about the basic governmental structure to prepare people for Town Meeting.
Beth Howe asked whether some of the ordinances for things like Floodplain Management, Zoning and Subdivision review would come up at the July 1 meeting or at a later one. The State wants the Town to apply to the National Flood Insurance program as soon as it can. Ron said that any ordinances that need to be adopted right away should come up at the July 1 meeting. Donna Damon said that when Peter Lowe had submitted his list of possible warrant articles for the first Town Meeting last month, land use ordinances had been in the list. Beth suggested having a hearing in June on these ordinances which are basically the same as Cumberlandıs but are quite complex.
Donna said that if there is a Governance Subcommittee set up at the July 1 Town Meeting that it should have a sunset clause, 180 days, for example. Mark Dyer and Leon Hamilton asked Donna how she felt about Peter Loweıs suggestion. She thought the July 1 Town Meeting should set basic things like the number of selectmen and school board members and what they do. She thought it would be useful if Herb Maineıs citizensı guide to Town Meeting could include a section on the duties of the selectmen and the Town Administratorıs job description. It is important to educate residents about the governmental structure.
Carol White said she thought Peterıs approach was practical. It would move some decisions further into the future and would allow for more community involvement than the short time frame now does. The Selectmen should be given the powers they have under state law. Doug Ross asked how much could the Transition Committee bind the Governance Subcommittee? The TC could give them the recommendations that had been developed.
Stephen Todd said he thought that the Governance Committee authorized on July 1 should set up all the various Town committees. Donna said that there should be a warrant article at the July 1 meeting defining what committees would be set up but not defining their charges or structure.
David Hill said that there were quite a few aspects of the Selectmenıs duties where he was not comfortable adopting the default specified in State law. He thinks there should be 5 selectmen, not the default of 3, and, for example, the Selectmen should not each serve as a Road Commissioner. The work of the Transition Committee on these issues should be adopted on July 1.
In response to Dougıs question about providing recommendations to the next Governance Subcommittee, David said the TC had discussed early on preparing a report of what it had done. Beth said she was interested in working on that. Donna suggested that in the ³Town Report² that would go to all residents on June 1, each subcommittee should do a several page report of what they have done. Stephen, Leon and Mark agreed.
Mark brought the discussion back to what would be covered in the first Town Meeting. He agrees with Carol. The Board of Selectmen should be set up with its statutory powers, amended in line with the recommendations that have been proposed by the Governmental Structure Subcommittee. This would require an ordinance or article. Sue Campbell asked whether this would be done for both the Selectmen and the School Board. John Martin said yes.
Stephen suggested starting to work through the January 28 organization chart. It would be useful to note which elements of it are required by state law. Ron and John urged sticking to the overall vision of the governmental structure, not the details. The group agreed that:
The Voters of the Town of Chebeague Island would be the legislative branch
A Board of Selectmen be created (required) and that it have five members.
Town Meeting be conducted by a moderator (required)
A School Board be created (required) and that it have five members.
The Town arrange by contract to have a town attorney.
Ron said he thought it would be a good idea to have a contract with Peter Lowe from the beginning so the Board of Selectmen and Administrator would have legal advice.
The Town hire an assessor (required)
David said this is a case where the state law default is not recommended. The Selectmen should delegate their statutory authority to the assessor. Donna Damon moved, seconded by John Martin to accept this arrangement. Passed unanimously.
The Town hire a single person to serve as treasurer (required) and Town
Donna said that the arrangement with the Administrator is similar to that of the Assessor: the Board of Selectmen hired the administrator and delegates the powers they choose to him to run the Town on a day to day basis.
The School District hire a superintendent (required)
The Town Administrator/Treasurer will supervise:
Public Safety, including Fire, Police (local constable), Rescue, Emergency Management and Animal Control
The Town Clerk and Tax collector (required) including the ballot clerks
The Code Enforcement Officer (required)
The Health Officer (required)
The Town owns the cemetery and is responsible by state law to maintain it.. But a
recommendation has been made and accepted to create a Cemetery Commission which would do the actual maintenance
Services provided on contract by the Library and Recreation Center (perhaps by
being an ex officio member of their Boards)
These functions are not formal town departments.
The box ³Town Lands² was taken off the chart by consensus. Carol said she would like to keep that under the Selectmen Leon agreed that someone would need to allocate different kinds of work on public lands to different ³departments². Donna said there should be a Public Lands Committee and that the Administrator should allocate the work. Ron said he would ask Peter Lowe about how the town lands would fit in. Is there anything in state law that would guide how they are dealt with?
For services where the arrangement is to use an existing non-profit, Ron said that if there is money in the Town budget there has to be a contract submitted to Town Meeting. The Community Services Subcommittee should do MOUs for these services. Donna asked to be involved in drafting them because she is very familiar with all the formal and informal arrangements that have been made between the Town and the Library and Rec over the years.
Mark Dyer asked whether it would be specified that the Town Administrator is the personnel director? Donna said this function is divided between him and the Town Clerk. The administrator will make recommendations on hiring and firing to the Board of Selectmen, The Town Clerk will be the person who deals with benefits and grievances. Sue Campbell said that on the personnel duties the Town Clerk and the Town Administrator should decide between themselves, with the involvement of the Selectmen, how they will be divided.
Ron said that Peter Lowe will draft something on the duties of the Administrator???
Mark Dyer asked whether the committees are all appointed and are the number of members for each one set already? Beth Howe said the answer was yes to both for the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of appeals.
Coastal Waters, Shellfish, Conservation and Aquaculture have also been defined in the Coastal Waters Ordinance. The first two committees are required by state law if the Town has a harbormaster and a shellfish conservation program. The last is not required, but Chebeague needs to have it in order to insure that it can be an intervenor in applications for mussel rafts. Several people asked whether these committees could be combined into one. Leon said that he thought not, but his committee would have no problem if the same people served on all three committees. David Hill moved, seconded by Stephen Todd, to have Ron ask Peter Lowe if it is possible to combine them. Passed unanimously.
On the Board of Assessment Review, Donna said that there are likely to be people who will ask for reviews as soon as the Town is organized because they think they have been unfairly treated by Cumberland. By State law the Selectmen are given the power to hear these cases. It would be much better to have them appoint a Board to do it. David Hill said it would be better for the Selectmen to decide if they wanted to do this or delegate it to a board. Carol suggested there may be legal issues here that should be explored.
Planning Board (required)
Zoning Board of Appeals (required)
Board of Assessment Review
Coastal Waters Committee (required)
Shellfish Conservation Committee (required)
Ron asked if any of these are required by law. David Hill said that the Joint Standing Committee [with Yarmouth] was established by formal legal agreement. It will need to negotiate a new wharf agreement in the coming year and should be created on July 1. Stephen Todd said that the TC had agreed to set up a Cemetery Commission.
Carol White suggested leaving the creation of these committees to the selectmen. Donna said that she would prefer to have the Town Meeting decide whether or not to have each committee on July 1. Then the details could be worked out afterwards. Carol said that if all these committees are created legally they will have to have members and that may be difficult to do. Ron said that Peter would have concerns about how many things Brann and Isaacson could review by July 1, but Donna said that that a warrant article with a list of committees would not take much review. Mark said the group was getting stuck on the same issue as last Wednesday. Carol moved to leave the standing Advisory Committees on the organization chart but not make them into articles. David moved to amend Carolıs motion by having the Town Meeting authorize the Selectmen to appoint a committee to consider the committee structure and bring recommendations back to the Selectmen in 180 days. Carol said she thought it should just be left to the Selectmen and withdrew her motion. David moved, seconded by Stephen Todd that the Joint Standing Committee and the Cemetery Commission be created within 180 days after July 1. The TC will recommend that the Town may consider having a Finance Committee, Lands and Conservation Committee, a Health Services Committee and a Selectmenıs Nominating Committee. Five members voted for the motion, Carol White and Mark Dyer were opposed.
Doug Ross left at 11:35.
Stephen Ross asked Carol White about the school structure. Carol said that there would be a School Board, a School Superintendent and school staff. Donna said that she thought people who run for School Board should have information about the duties of a School Board member. Carol said that she and Bump Hadley had discussed this and he recommends a community open house at the school to discuss this with interested people. The Education Subcommittee was not planning to present an ordinance on the School Board. Bump thinks it is his role to help the School Board ³find its voice² and not define what they should do. Donna asked if he could provide a written description of the State-mandated duties of a member of a school board in case there are people who canıt come to the open house. Carol said she did not want to ask this of him until he had a chance to meet with the TC and spell out his views. Donna moved that Carol ask the Education Subcommittee to write such an overview. Leon seconded for discussion purposes. After some more discussion John called the question. Leon Hamilton, Donna Damon and David Hill voted in favor. Four people voted in opposition.
Ron and David said they thought the meeting had accomplished its objective of giving clear guidance to Peter Lowe. Ron and Peter will prioritize the Town Meeting tasks. He will bring back the results in future Sunday meetings.
There was a discussion about the agenda for Wednesday:
School Superintendent Bump Hadley to talk about governmental structure for the
Outboard motor for harbormaster boat
Public Works hiring – executive session
Hiring of Code Enforcement Officer
The meeting was adjourned at 12:15