Buxton Charter Commission
September 24, 2009
Call to order
Andrew Townsend called to order the regular meeting of the Buxton Charter Commission at 7:30pm on September 24, 2009 in Buxton Town Hall large meeting room.
Members Present: Andy Townsend, Dianne Senechal, Jennifer Barschdorf, Brent Havu, Judy Sjulander, Larry Miller, Dan Collomy, May Schumacher
Approval of minutes from last meeting
Charter Commission Meeting Minutes September 10, 2009. A motion was made by Judy to approve minutes as amended, Larry seconded the motion. Approved 8-0-1
No one in the audience cared to speak; Larry suggested that we wait until 7:35 to see if any late comers wanted to address the committee. Andy suggested that we move on to correspondence and if anyone came in and wanted to speak they could do so at that time. Dan thought the comment section would be better placed at the end of the meeting instead of at the beginning. Larry would prefer to hear the public comments first, before we begin our work. Dan thought perhaps more people would come if comments were at the end; they could react to what had happened at the meeting. Judy stated that if the agenda was available ahead of time then people would know what was going to be discussed at the meeting. People may not
want to wait to the end of the meeting at 10pm or later, they could address the issues if they have seen the agenda ahead of time. Dan thinks this is not the best set up. Brent stated that people can be allowed to address the commission during the meeting or after the meeting, by a motion. Larry made a motion to close public comment, Brent seconded the motion. 8-0-1
E-mails from Stephanie Grinnell and Bill Huff were read. Brent commented on the sentence from Bill Huff’s e-mail “This councel/manager form gives the towns residents more opertunity to become involved in the future of the town, and allows more folks to serve the community by running for local offices, committees ect.” Having a built in mechanism for committees to influence town government. Larry wanted to know if in response to Stephanie Grinnell’s request if people should give their individual views or if the group should come up with a statement. Judy was fine with either. Larry asked if individual members were to respond. Andy suggested that any member could do so. Dianne asked if we wanted to
tell about why we were formed and a timeline. Andy suggested that she should be invited to the next meeting. Judy stated that she thought a synopsis of why the committee was formed, who is on the committee, when we meet, a timeline and what we are doing, thinking that Stephanie is looking for print. Dan stated that the invitation is to committee members must respond to the request as a committee member. It would be bad for anyone of the committee to go and talk about how we feel. Larry stated that some people on the board were elected and some were appointed, but that each person signed an oath to act in the Town’s best interest, however, each person may have a different idea of what the Town’s best interest is. He doesn’t want to be constrained by what the rest of the commission may think or feel vs what he thinks or feels. Andy cautioned the commission to be careful what they say as it will be in print,
he has had experience being misquoted, it is okay to say what you feel. Andy made a motion to allow any commission member who wants to contact and speak to Stephanie to do so. Brent seconded the motion. 8-0-1
The Commission spent time finalizing the employee survey. Larry made a motion to accept the survey as amended, May seconded the motion. 8-0-1
Distribution of the survey – Andy asked what the total number of employees was. Dianne responded 216. Larry thought we should limit the survey to permanent full & part time employees. To include people with regular stated hours. This would exclude fire, rescue, temporary, and seasonal employees as well as the planning board. The Commission needs to identify what groups we want to include. Dianne wondered if Rescue workers were considered regular employees. Dan suggests employees who work 24 hours +. The Commission questioned employee residency – Larry felt that this survey dealt with employment and residency was not an issue. Andy felt the more that are sent out the better.
Dianne wondered about other towns boards and commissions and how they work with the town government. Brent wanted to know how the list was broken down. Dianne replied it is broken down by Full Time employees, Temp employees, part time. Larry suggested that the Commission create a rule and then have someone familiar with payroll identify each person that should get a survey. He also stated that if the commission were going to include seasonal or temp workers that the identification section may need to be expanded. Andy suggested that the survey be sent to full time employees only and a letter could be sent to other employees to make them aware that surveys for Town Residents would be coming soon. Larry suggested that on the resident survey a question could be asked if they work for the town with limited information. Judy felt that this was worked out. Dianne reiterated
Full-time and Permanent Part Time employees receive the survey. Brent stated that would disenfranchise one department. Judy stated that when people come to vote they will be able to complete the resident survey, however, stuffing the ballet box is a concern. Judy made a motion to distribute the employee survey to Full Time and Permanent Part Time employees, Brent seconded the motion. 8-0-1
The survey is to be distributed with the October 1st paycheck. Larry wondered if it would be acceptable to send the survey in paychecks. Dianne made a motion to ask Selectman Libby if the survey could be added to the paychecks on October 1st. Judy seconded the motion. 8-0-1 Selectman Libby responded that would be okay. It was then discussed that the Commission would need a mailbox at the Town Hall, and that we should attach envelopes to the survey that say Charter Commission and have the employees return the surveys to the Town Hall.
The Commission then began to discuss how and where the Resident Survey should be distributed. Dan let the Commission know that the last Commission had mailed a survey to every resident using the Bulk Rate. It was stated that the Town no longer has that service. Larry suggested inserting it in the newsletter. Dianne responded that the newsletter is no longer mailed. Brent suggested grocery stores, Andy suggested convenient stores, Dianne offered libraries. Jen asked if papers could be sent home with students at the local schools. Judy replied that that was no longer allowed.
A preamble was written for the Resident Survey.
The Commission began working on the Charter starting with Article I. Larry suggested that the Commission compare Buxton’s Charter with other town charters. Article I was reviewed with no suggested changes.
Article II was not reviewed at this time, the commission thought it would not be prudent to begin changes to this section until all surveys had been distributed and reviewed.
Article III Section 3.01 no suggested changes at this time. Section 3.02 thoughts on this section include adding the Fire and Rescue Chief, Police Chief, Recreation Director, Solid Waste Manager, and the Welfare Director. It was also questioned if the Treasurer is bonded. Section 3.03 Dan informed the Commission that he believes a new law will be in effect that will make any write in candidates declare their intentions with the Town Clerk by a specific deadline. It was questioned by the Commission if in order to be elected one must be a citizen of the United States.
The Commission stopped the review at Article III Section 3.03(b).
After reviewing the charter to this point the following questions were raised to be answered at the next meeting:
- What positions are Bonded
- Can copies of Job Descriptions be obtained
- What documentation is need to register to vote in Buxton
The agenda for the next meeting was set.
Dianne made a motion to move the meeting time from 7:30pm to 7pm and try to limit the meetings to a 2 hour period, so that the meetings should end by 9pm. Judy seconded the motion. 8-0-1
Andy stated that he would not be at the next meeting and that Dianne would be filling in for him.
Brent made a motion to adjourn the meeting Larry seconded the motion. 8-0-1
The meeting was adjourned at 9:47pm.
Minutes submitted by: Jennifer Barschdorf