Buxton Charter Commission
August 27, 2009
Call to order
Andrew Townsend called to order the regular meeting of the Buxton Charter Commission at 7:31pm on August 27, 2009 in Buxton Town Hall large meeting room. – It was mentioned that we need to speak into the microphones.
Members Present: Andy Townsend, Dianne Senechal, Jennifer Barschdorf, David Dunn, Brent Havu, Judy Sjulander, Larry Miller, Dan Collomy
Approval of minutes from last meeting
Charter Commission Meeting Minutes August 18, 2009 and Meeting Minutes August 18, 2009 Public Hearing. Approved 7-0-2 (May absent & Larry abstained)
Paul Frinsko removed himself from the running as he and Chris Vaniotis work together.
8:00 Chris Vaniotis - Municipal law for 25 years. Hourly rate of $255, however, he has associates that bill as low as $150/hr.
Brent – meetings and code of conduct
Chris – the commission is a public agency – paper work is public record and a copy should be kept with the Town Clerk. Meeting – if the group is together discussing public info the meeting must be public. 5 members gather is enough to do business that is a meeting. Sub committees – if they get together that would need to be a public meeting as well, and would be considered a meeting. If it is not a formal subcommittee then it is not considered a meeting, however, the info would need to be brought back to the entire commission.
Brent – If I have a private meeting, do I need to bring back the information to the committee?
Chris – If you are going to be using the information to make decisions then yes you need to share the information that you obtained. Everyone should have the same info to work with.
It was asked if the survey was legal and the answer was yes
It was also asked if we could survey the Towns People
Chris let us know that legal counsel would be of the greatest help when we were writing changes to the charter.
Dianne – Meetings recap – hold 1 on 1 meetings as long as you bring back the info – should we tell everyone else about the meeting or is that a private meeting.
Chris – The information that is obtained from the meetings should be shared – make it clear to the interviewee that you are only one of the board.
The commission needs to work as a whole.
Larry – feels that the purpose is to form your own opinion and not share the info used to make that opinion
Chris – The info needs to get back to the board
Diane – Response time
Chris – Many people work with him, his group will get back to us relatively quickly, hours.
Dan – The last time sections of the charter were sent to the lawyer instead of sending the entire document at once.
Chris – yes that is a good idea.
Interview ended at 8:27pm
Motion to hire Chris Vaniotis 8-0-1
Definition of a meetings was discussed, the response that was obtained from the town lawyer was very vague. It was stated that the commission is not allowed to go into executive session. It was stated that all meetings need to be public, a meeting is defined as a planned event, if members should meet accidently (ie grocery store) that is not a meeting as it was not planned.
Brent – the meeting definitions aren’t consistent with the fact that we were told we could interview town employees.
Larry – Can’t 1 person go and present findings to the committee
Jen – Would that meet the definition of a secret meeting?
Brent – Informed consent – if employees answers are made public it could cause them harm – this is a team effort and the information needs to be shared
Judy – the group should get together and make a list of questions to be asked to each person by anyone wishing to interview the employee.
Brent – has questions that he drafted.
David – Agree on a group of questions and distribute to the department heads, let them answer the questions anonymously and return to the committee.
Larry – Brent has good questions maybe we need a few more
Judy – Good idea
Discussion resumed after interview concluded.
The survey would protect individuals not information.
We need more questions for the survey.
Different surveys for Town Employees and Residence
Website – e-mail address, ask for help to get it set up
Andy should tell the Selectmen that we need help with Charter items
David – Comments from the public – can that be allowed at every meeting
Brent – Portland Charter Commission allows 15 minutes and the beginning of each meeting for public comment.
Larry – Conduct of meeting commission needs to make rules
Dan – 3 types of meetings, workshop, meetings, public hearing
Larry – Chair can decide if someone can speak and if a board member disagrees then the Chair can be challenged.
Judy – what if what the person has to say is important
David – Public input is important
Motion – Allow 15 minutes at the beginning of meetings for public input, 3 min rule (3 min per person)
Motion amended – to Allow 15 min at the beginning of meetings for public input, 3 min rule after the approval of min.
A motion can be made to allow someone to speak outside of that 15 min.
Motion – Use Roberts Rules of Order 10th edition to govern the meeting
Agenda – how is it made – currently by the Chair and Secretary
It was stated that the agenda should be made by the entire board at the end of the meeting for the next meeting.
The next meeting will consist of working on questions, members should have questions for the next meeting,
Elections in November, have the Resident survey available then, and in the front office for Registrations.
Judy – Forms of government – should we look at the first 3 forms of government listed and see what they would look like and compare them.
Dan – we can only look at the Town Manager/Selectmen/Charter form of government as that was the basis of the article.
No we can do anything to the Charter
Larry – have the attorney tell us – we should look at 3, but should not try to draft them
David – we need clarification
Brent – we should post proposed changes on the website
Survey – we should have different questions for the Department heads, Employees, and Towns people.
Dianne will send the warrant article to Chris Vaniotis
If anyone has information please make handouts for everyone
Comprehensive plan – with updated information, would that be useful
Larry – Why do we need it
Brent – Plan ahead for the future
Larry – Update the expenditure spreadsheets if available by e-mail he would look at it and see what needs to be done to update the spreadsheet. Chapter 10 has information that would be helpful.
Andrew Townsend adjourned the meeting at 9:16pm by a motion 8-0-1.
Minutes submitted by: Jennifer Barschdorf