Buxton Charter Commission
January 14, 2010
Minutes recorded by Stephanie Grinnell
I.Call to order 6:28 p.m.~~ Present are Chairman Andy Townsend, Vice-Chairman Dianne Senechal, Selectman Dan Collomy, Judy Sjulander, David Dunn, May Schumacher, Brent Havu, Jennifer Barschdorf and Larry Miller.
II.Thomas Hall, Scarborough Town Manager (6:30)
Hall opened with a description of his 17-plus years of experience as a town manager and explained Scarborough procedures and charter. Scarborough reviews its town charter every 10 years using an appointed charter commission. Scarborough is a town council/town manager form of government. Hall is the chief administrative officer, the town council is a legislative body that makes policy decisions. Hall said Scarborough is a typical example of the town council/town manager form of government in Maine.
Hall said it is important to outline duties for a town manager and council. Key duties for a manager include a clear line of authority and responsibility for staff. Note which staff is appointed by selectmen and which are hired and fired by a town manager. Non-interference clause is important as well as assuring the selectmen and manager play by the same rules defined in the charter. Scarborough has been working on its administrative structure for years.
Questions and answers:
Scarborough has seven councilors, all elected at-large.
There is no town meeting.
Scarborough employs 160 people full-time.
Scarborough’s population is estimated at 25,000.
Scarborough’s annual municipal budget is $30 million.
Hall has an administrative assisstant.
Hall’s duties include meetings, preparing for meetings, budget process, running a $30 million operation with 160 full time employees. Responsible for hiring and firing employees (without council approval); implments council policies; prepares grants
Advice when considering a town manager form of government:
HALL: I don’t think there are any triggers but you will know when it’s right. Population gives some considerations and complication. Financial complexities, litigious society, chasing grants. Having a person at the wheel to manage could be a good thing. This requires someone with budgeting experience and could save money. There are no specific ways to point to but quality of decisions made should improve because the are not chasing down info on their own. Look at adjoining towns, they have a long-standing history of managers. Say ‘why are we different than them?’ Someone ought to look at what it will cost the average taxpayer. (Andy said an estimated 42 cents.) I would suggest initial interviews with someone other than selectmen. Deliver short list of 2 or 3 names.
Three minute recess.
III.Nancy Brandt, Waterboro Town Administrator (7:15)~~~~~~~~
Brandt started as a secretary and has worked for Waterboro for more than 23 years. Brandt was hired as town administrator when the charter was reviewed and the town dropped selectmen assistant position.
Waterboro has five selectmen and does hold a town meeting annually in June.
Waterboro employs 13 full-time staff year-round, with increases in summer for parks and recreation.
Waterboro’s estimated population is more than 6,000; with an increase to more than 10,000 in the summer.
Waterboro’s annual municipal budget is $10 million.
Brandt does not have a secretary. *
Brandt’s duties include accounts payable, payroll, department meetings every two weeks, staff meetings, selectmen meetings Tuesday nights, budget, personnel director. Allowed to fire personnel with permission of selectmen. Brandt said her postion works in Waterboro but may change.
IV. Minutes from last meeting were approved as presented.
V. Public Comments: none
VI.Review of Correspondence: none
VII.Open issues: Introduction of Stephanie Grinnell, who will take meeting minutes.
a)~ Other open business:
The board discussed establishing a public comment policy for meetings based on concerns voiced to selectmen.~
Motion to accept public comment limited to three minutes per person except as approved by board; at the beginning, after approval of previous minutes, at the end before adjournment and where reasonable where there are subject breaks.
The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
a)~Other new business:
The commission discussed the timeline for a preliminary draft of the charter to be submitted to selectmen and rules for extension. The commision decided the issue did not need to be discussed at this time.
b)~The commission discussed the content and guests for the next meeting, which will take place Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss resident surveys and speak with Town Clerk John Meyers.
IX.~Charter Commission Meeting: Jan. 28, 6:30 p.m. Kennebunk Town Manager Barry Tibbetts, Buxton selectmen
Charter Commission Meeting, Thursday, February 11, 2010 6:30pm
X.~Adjournment was at 8:33 p.m.
*Minutes revised per commission request Jan. 22, 2010.