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Selectmen’s Meeting Minutes — April 24, 2007—3:30 p.m.—Memorial Hall

Call to Order:  Chairman Manners called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.  Other members present: Joe Judd and John Payne.  Bob announced that now that the fiscal year 2008 budget has been finalized and summer months are approaching, afternoon meetings will cease unless some unforeseen circumstances arises.  The Board will continue to post Tuesday afternoons so to allow members to come in and sign the warrants at 3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m.  Scott Sawyer RE: Town Meeting Budget Presentation – Scott presented the double-sided financial sheet that he intends to hand out to town meeting voters.  Joe suggested that once article 4 has been moved, he would like to speak about the team effort that went into developing the budget.  Following that brief introduction, he will then introduce Scott who will give a 5-10 minute presentation.  The only potential change in the budget at this point is a reduced assessment from the MTRHS district.  If in fact, Shelburne’s assessment is reduced it could result in approximately $60,630 in savings.  Although Scott cautioned the Board from reducing the town’s levy limit by that amount, it appeared that the general consensus of the Board was to lower the tax rate as much as possible.  No votes were taken. 
Following review of the budget, Board members assigned the individuals warrant articles that each would speak to.  It was decided that members of the Board should speak to the petition articles as individuals rather than as a Board.  The only exception discussed was the article relative to the disbandment of the Open Space Committee.  Members of the Open Space Committee were hopeful that the Board of Selectmen would speak against that article.  Joe stated that he would prefer not to take a stand unless asked to do so; adding that he wants to resolve this whole “appointment issue” by June.

Continuation of Town Meeting – in the event town meeting needs to be continued, Joe has asked the Moderator to research who makes this decision to continue and what day it shall be continued to.. At their last Selectmen’s meeting, the Board chose a continuation date of May 8th.  Since then Joe has been told that it is the “will of the meeting” who determines the continuation date.  

All Board’s Meeting – Bob recommended scheduling an All Board’s meeting after annual town meeting so that a uniform approach to all practices could be developed for town boards and committees (fee structure for copies; application process for appointments, etc).  Joe reiterated his earlier position stating that he does not want an application for appointment to be put in place or even considered until after June appointments have been made.  John suggested that there may be some simpler areas of change that could be addressed in a timely fashion rather than wait until the more complicated areas have been addressed.  Joe stated that the hourly clerical rate is a bone of contention for him.  Bob reminded Joe that the public records law does allow for municipalities to charge individuals for services rendered.  Regardless of the public records law, Joe was in disagreement and stated that he would like to hear other people’s opinions noting that we are in these positions to “serve the public.”

Dedication of Annual Town Report – the Board would like to schedule a time in advance of town meeting to meet with this year’s recipient.

4:15 p.m. Eugene Butler RE: Telephone Conference Call Regarding Open Space Committee – Karen Gould appeared on behalf of her father stating that he was unable to place the phone call due to a conflict in his scheduling however, he intends to address the Board on town meeting floor.  On her father’s behalf, Karen stated that he is dismayed by the fact that the first six people have not yet been appointed.  Karen believes that the six residents are being discriminated against and alleges that Davenport-Smith who is not a member of the Open Space Committee is participating as if she is one.  She referred to the Open Space Committee Meeting held on March 26th and the “alleged” behaviors of Committee members present.  Ms. Gould believes quite strongly that members of the Open Space who were serving that evening should be removed.  Ms. Gould went on to say that candidates interested in serving on the Open Space Committee did not attend Monday’s meeting because they have not been made to feel welcome and the atmosphere has been “intimidating.”

Richard Dils reminded the Board that there has been a process in place for appointments that has been guided by past precedent and by-law.  He asked why that process has been manipulated.  Bob assured Mr. Dils that the “process” has been followed meticulously.  All letters of interest received by residents wishing to serve on the Open Space Committee were referred to that Committee for recommendation and to date, the Board has heard nothing therefore no action has been taken.  The application that was created by the Open Space Committee was not sanctioned by the Board of Selectmen.  Given recent circumstances the Board voted to suspend all appointments to the Open Space Committee until they have had an opportunity to look at the process and develop a more standardized approach if necessary.  Joe recognized the fact that there have been misunderstandings but encouraged the Board to make the appointments.  Bob stated that he would prefer to wait until after annual town meeting to see whether or not voters approve the disbandment of the Open Space Committee.
Glen Ridler of Patten Road stated that he cannot remember ever having such a “rush” to join a Board.  He asked if there has ever been a time where there have been more applicants than slots available.  Mr. Ridler does not believe that appointments should be rubber stamped.  Members of the Open Space Committee are doing their best to carry out very specific goals.  He asked why on earth a committee with very specific goals would want to appoint a group of people who want to “derail” the process.

Mr. Dils took offense to Mr. Ridler’s comments.  Rather than allow the dialogue to digress any further, Chairman Manners recognized Mr. Wall who had a scheduled appointment.

4:30 p.m. Jim Wall RE: Planning Board’s Fees for Records Requested – Mr. Wall stated that he had expected Charles Washer, Chairman of the Planning Board to be present as he has not returned any of his phone calls.  Mr. Wall requested the appointment in response to an invoice he had received from Chuck Washer in the amount of $107.80.  The invoice represented charges for 6 hours of clerical services at a rate of $16.40 and 47 pages of photocopying at a rate of $.20 per page.  Bob explained that Chuck was unable to attend the afternoon meeting due to his work schedule and offered to try and facilitate a meeting between the two. 

Richard Dils asked why the Town Clerk was ordered not to turn the records over until payment was made.  Bob reminded Mr. Dils that the Planning Board is a separate, autonomous entity.  Despite the perception that the Board of Selectmen can arbitrarily act and intervene, it is simply not true.  Mr. Dils asked why there is no record of the Planning Board’s decision to enact a fee structure.  Joe reminded Mr. Dils that the Board of Selectmen was not involved in the Planning Board’s decision.  “How it was derived?  We do not know.”  Joe encouraged Mr. Dils to seek clarification from the Planning Board.  Jim Gamache asked who the Planning Board answers to.  Bob explained that because members are elected, they are held responsible by the voters who elected them.  In an attempt to answer some of the questions being asked, John Payne asked to step down from his role as Selectmen and speak as a member of the Planning Board.  Bob appreciated John’s willingness to speak on behalf of the Planning Board however he thought it would be best to have Mr. Washer present for discussion.  Ms. Gould asked whether or not there was a vehicle in Massachusetts General Laws that would allow the Board of Selectmen to take action against another elected Board.  Given the autonomy of each Board, Bob doubted such a provision existed.

4:45 p.m. Richard Dils RE: Slanderous & Libel Statements – Mr. Dils wanted to express his displeasure for the manner in which the Board of Selectmen handled the letter written by Rita Jaros.  He requested that his letter in response to Jaros’s accusations be read into the minutes (see attached letter).  Responding to Mr. Dils letter, Joe stated that the District Attorney’s Office has issued no findings as a result of the Board of Selectmen turning the letter written by Ms. Jaros over to the Chief of Police.  Furthermore, the Chief of Police after review of the letter has stated that no further action will be taken.

Public Comment:
Karen Gould expressed her views on the many ways residents of Shelburne volunteer their time.

A motion to adjourn was made by Joe at 5:10 p.m.  Motion seconded by John.  Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary