Buxton Charter Commission
February 18, 2010
Submitted by Stephanie Grinnell
Call to order at 6:35 p.m. present are Chairman Andy Townsend, Vice-Chairman Dianne Senechal, Selectman Dan Collomy, Judy Sjulander, Jennifer Barschdorf, David Dunn, Brent Havu and Larry Miller. May Schumacher absent.
Approval of minutes from last meeting (Feb. 11)
There was discussion about wording but the commission did not request changes. The discussion regarded Gorham's town charter and Ebin Marsh's role in revising it when he became town manager.
Minutes approved as submitted, Jennifer Barschdorf and Brent Havu opposed.
Public Comments: none at this time
Review of Correspondence:
E-mail from Gorham Town Council Chairman Mike Phinney regarding budget numbers and full time employee count. Gorham's municipal budget is $11,629,496; school budget is $29,677,716; county budget is $789,829. Gorham has 86 full time employees and 15 part time employees (does not include temporary or seasonal hires such as summer camp recreation staff, cemetery maintenance crews or short term employees): There are 9 full time staff in the town clerk's, finance and manager offices combined; 3 full time in assessor's office; 3 full time and 1 part time in planning office; 2 full time and 1 part time in code enforcement office; 5 full time in recreation office; 1 full time and 1 part time in cable office; 25 full time in police department; 11 full time and 4 part time in fire
department; 4 full time rescue staff; 18 full time public works employees; and 5 full time and 7 part time library employees. Phinney added Gorham councilors run at-large for 3 year terms. Phinney said he strongly recommends an at-large council because it is hard enough to get people to run, let alone good people from specific district. There is no political party afficilation for Gorham councilors, recommend that as well. Description: council is like board of directors for a company, town manager is like a town CEO, in charge of day-to-day, handles complaints and questions from public and council. He reports to the council. Phinney said he can’t imagine meeting goals and guidelines without a town manager.
- Form of government scenarios (transcribed from easel notes taken at meeting)
FIRST ROUND OF OPTIONS:
SELECTMEN (5)/MANAGER-ADMINISTRATOR FORM
- town meeting
- existing boards and committees
- elected town clerk
- employees appointed/approved by manager-administrator
- hiring/firing disagreement/non-disagreement with selectmen
- where to house manager-administrator
- reduce selectmen duties and compensation
- redefine selectmen assistant duties
- $80,000 salary, $12,000 retirement, $12,000 health insurance/year
- save $25,000 selectmen compensation and business office manager salary
MANAGER/COUNCIL/LIMITED TOWN MEETING
- town meeting
- manager salary $100,000/year
- council and modified town meeting (similar to Standish)
- if a manager is hired, should be the best the town can get, held to highest standards and meet the needs of the town
- if stay with current form of government (town meeting and five member board of selectmen): should address town meeting attendance; significantly increase selectmen compensation and consider benefits in addition to salary; keep local recall provision; hold to high expectations. Benefits of current form of government include highway department facility, well-equipped fire and police departments, transfer stations and roadside trash pick-up included, recreation department, parks, front desk staff, school district. Currently, town has a $5 million budget and a competitive tax rate.
- increase pay for selectmen
- administrator salary $57,000/year
- could reduce costs by job overlap (reworking current employee descriptions whose duties may be assumed by administrator)
- try to make cost neutral
SELECTMEN (5)/ TOWN MEETING
ADD TOWN PLANNER TO CURRENT FORM OF GOVERNMENT
- salary $50,000 full time, reduce hours to 32 but include benefits
- total cost $91,700/year based on selectmen paid $15/day and 32 hours/week planner
ADD FINANCE DIRECTOR TO CURRENT FORM OF GOVERNMENT
- salary $36,400/year full time, reduce to 32 hours but include benefits
- total cost $76,350/year based on selectmen paid $15/day and 32 hours/week finance director
CURRENT FORM CHANGES
- require at least two selectmen to be present 8 hours per day
- salary increase to $31,200/year (equal to $10/hour for two people, 8 hours/day)
SECOND ROUND OF OPTIONS:
- councilors, 7 at-large, paid $1,500 stipend/year, no benefits
- manager salary $100,000/year including benefits
- total cost $76,500/year (includes savings of $34,000 business office manager salary)
- manager requirements include personnel management, grant writing, town planner (?), absolute hire/fire authority (?), budgeting/finance training
- keep: planning board, zoning board of appeals, department heads
EXISTING FORM OF GOVERNMENT/ MANAGER
- manager $100,000/year benefits included
- 5 selectmen, paid $10,000 total/year
- total cost $76,000/year (includes savings of $34,000 business office manager salary)
- manager requirements include personnel management, grant writing, budgeting/finance training, absolute hire/fire authority (?)
- selectmen responsibilities include creating policy and supervising manager
- keep: budget committee, town meeting
Mr. Pinkham indicated volume issues when meetings are shown on T.V. He inquired if seven councilors are chosen as option, would the councilors be at-large or divided by district as well as asking how to increase town meeting attendance.
The commission discussed ideas including adding a referendum vote about the town budget because if councilors are chosen, they would take the place of town meeting.
Mr Anthony inquired why commission members brought numbers to the meeting. The commission indicated public requests and a decision made at the last meeting. Mr. Anthony stated he feels the surveys indicating no need for change should be considered more heavily.
Two minute recess
New Business: none
Charter Commission Meeting, Thursday, February 25, 2010 6:30pm
Charter Commission Meeting, Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:30pm
Mr. Anthony inquired about agendas in advance of charter commission meetings. Agendas are available from the town clerk prior to meetings.
He also stated appreciation for public comment rule change to allow speaking during several parts of the meeting. He suggested alternative methods of brainstorming.
9.Adjournment at 9 p.m.