Buxton Charter Commission
April 22, 2010
Call to order at 6:30 p.m. Present are Chairman Andy Townsend, Selectman Dan Collomy, David Dunn, Brent Havu, Larry Miller, Jennifer Barschdorf and Judy Sjulander. Absent are Vice-Chairman Dianne Senechal and May Schumacher.
Approval of minutes from last meeting (April 8, 2010)
The minutes were amended to reflect “minutes” rather than “agenda;” adding “Submitted by Stephanie Grinnell;” changing “requiring a supermajority of selectmen” to “permitting a supermajority of selectmen;” and rewording “to change it” to “reject the manager's employment recommendations.”
Unanimously approved as amended.
Public Comments: none
Announcement of Correspondence:
Correspondence received from selectmen is listed as an agenda item. No other correspondence was received.
The chairman suggested changing the order of open business agenda items. The commission discussed their time extension request, followed by budget request, followed by the tax collector charter change response letter from selectmen, followed by charter discussions.
- Extension Request Approved/Denied:
The secretary read aloud the selectmen's response letter regarding the commission request for allowing the commission the full 24 months to complete charter changes. The selectmen's letter states the commission will be allowed a three month extension of time to complete a preliminary report to be submitted to selectmen no later than July 15, 2010. The letter was signed by Linda Pulsoni, Peter Burns and Bob Libby. Selectman Dan Collomy stated he did not participate in the discussion with other selectmen regarding the extension request and said he does not know why Selectmen Chairman Jean Harmon did not sign the letter. The commission discussed requesting more details from selectmen in regard to their expectations for the preliminary report. The commission discussed meeting weekly rather
than twice per month to have more time to complete changes.
The commission discussed if there is need to speak further with selectmen about the requested budget. Larry Miller said the amount has been inserted by selectmen on the warrant.
The secretary read the response letter from selectmen regarding the decision to change the charter without consulting the commission. The letter states selectmen are allowed to make charter changes appropriate due to circumstances. The letters states changing the tax collector from elected to appointed has been discussed for years and was brought to the attention of the charter commission in January. The commission chairman said he misunderstood the selectmen's intentions in taking action on the issue themselves and thought it would be included in the proposed charter changes being made by the commission.
- Town Manager Job Description
The commission discussed several town manager descriptions from charters including those of Kennebunk, Rockport, Scarborough and Waterboro as well as a Maine Municipal Association discussion document. The commission decided to base most of the manager description on Kennebunk's charter description, though the description may not be included in the final changes to the charter. The commission determined a description of manager responsibilities is needed to assist with other job description changes.
The commission began with reviewing Kennebunk's charter by section. They discussed the need for broad umbrella statements that can be refined later.
The commission discussed inserting term limits and eligibility requirements for selectmen.
The commission discussed who would be responsible for appointed boards and department heads. The commission discussed the other town charters and how they operate; a majority allow the town manager to hire/fire department heads with selectmen approval.
MOTION: To not include term limits in Buxton's charter. Made by Judy, seconded by Larry. Motion passes with Jen opposed.
MOTION: To allow a simple majority of the board of selectmen to confirm or reject department head applicants suggested by the town manager. Made by Larry, seconded by Jen. Motion unanimously passes.
The commission discussed other boards and town employees and who should be responsible for hiring them. The commission discussed a town attorney, tax collector and town clerk.
MOTION: To allow selectmen to appoint and remove the town manger and town attorney. Made by Jen, seconded by Judy. Motion passes with Brent opposed.
The commission discussed the need for a comprehensive list of town boards, which the secretary will collect prior to the next meeting. The commission discussed allowing the town manager to be appointed by selectmen to chair elected boards as well as requiring a town manager recommendation on the annual budget.
MOTION: To continue to elect planning board members. Made by Larry, seconded by Brent. Motion passes with David opposed.
MOTION: To continue to elect the budget committee, as the charter states currently. Made by Larry, seconded by Judy. Motion passes with David opposed.
MOTION: To keep the board of appeals appointed, as the charter states currently. Made by Larry, seconded by Judy. Motion unanimously passes.
MOTION: To allow health officer to be appointed by the town manager rather than selectmen. Made by Jen, seconded by Andy. Motion passed with Judy opposed.
MOTION: To accept general language in Kennebunk's charter (page 5, bullet point 3) to allow selectmen to set pay after having recommendations made by town manager. Made by Brent, seconded by Jen. Motion unanimously passes.
MOTION: To essentially adopt the essence of Kennebunk's charter regarding payroll warrants and accounts payable being signed by the town manager in addition to one or more selectmen as well as the finance director. Made by Larry, seconded by Brent with the amendment to remove finance director and insert selectmen sign on a rotating basis. Larry conceded removing finance director. Following further discussion, Brent withdrew his second. Jen seconded the amended motion (to essentially adopt the essence of Kennebunk's charter regarding payroll warrants and accounts payable being signed by the town manager in addition to one or more selectmen.) Motion passes with Brent opposed.
MOTION: To include verbage allowing selectmen to authorize appropriations for emergencies effecting public health, safety and welfare, not to exceed a half percent of the municipal budget. Made by Jen, seconded by Andy. The commission discussed what constitutes an emergency and how emergency appropriations are currently approved by special town meeting. Jen revised the motion to allow a set amount to spend without the need for a special town meeting. Following discussion, Jen withdrew her motion and Andy withdrew his second. The commission decided to ask selectmen what set amount would be appropriate before making a motion.
The commission continued to discuss Kennebunk's charter by section. Changes were not discussed in regard to sections referencing town meeting and town report; ordinance enactment; annual audit; bonds and securities; town meetings; state statutes and authorization of legal activity on behalf of the town. The commission discussed requiring one selectmen training session per year regarding conduct during selectmen meetings. The commission determined the existing rules of the board cover most of the issues and annual selectmen training will most likely not be required.
- Other open business: none
Set agenda for next meeting. Open business will continue review of Kennebunk's charter.
The commission discussed setting weekly meetings beginning next week (April 29). The commission discussed changing meetings from Thursday night to another night. Meetings will remain on Thursday nights. The commission discussed changing the time of meetings to 7 p.m. rather than 6:30 p.m. The commission agreed to start meetings at 7 p.m. and adhere to two hours only. The commission requested minutes be submitted as soon as possible to allow additional time for review before the next meeting.
Other New Business
Charter Commission Meeting, Thursday, April 29, 2010, 7 to 9 p.m.
Charter Commission Meeting, Thursday, May 6, 2010, 7 to 9 p.m.
Charter Commission Meeting, Thursday, May 13, 2010, 7 to 9 p.m.
Public Comments: none
Adjournment at 8:57 p.m.
Submitted by Stephanie Grinnell