Select Board Meeting Friday 21 October 2022, Minutes (DRAFT)

The Harrisville Select Board joined the Marlborough Select Board at the Marlborough Town Office, Chair Paight called the meeting to order at 9:30am.

Attending: Harrisville Select Board members Andrea Hodson, Kathy Scott, Pegg Monahan; Marlborough Select Board Members and Town Administrator, Marlborough Police Chief and Harrisville Officer in Charge Zach Byam, and Temple-Greenville Police Chief James McTague.

Temple-Greenville Police Chief McTague was on hand to describe the process and outcomes of the towns’ decision to merge their police departments into a shared policy operation, a discussion amongst meeting participants then ensued.

His presentation was similar to the narrative he presented to the Harrisville Select Board, and which prompted the Boards’ agreement to explore the model together, and whether it might be adapted and adopted to a shared policy operation for Harrisville and Marlborough.

Highlights included:

  • !  After reviewing ways the budget would be allocated to fund a merged operation, the towns settled on apportioning revenues and expenses by town population (versus number of calls or town land size);
  • !  The State”s Attorney General created the start-up agreement contract, which renews every three years. Thus far the only update has been the allocation based on the 10-year U.S. Census;
  • !  The plan to merge the departments was approved by the towns at their respective Town Meetings and has been renewed every three years, budget is approved every year;
  • !  Leading up to the Town Meetings, both towns hosted a separate public hearing;
  • !  By their agreement, a Joint Police Board made up of two Select Board members from each town oversees the Police Chief with 3 or more votes required for any decisions. The JPB notices and meets once a month in alternating town venues;
  • !  Both towns realized substantive appropriations savings over time and increased on-duty coverage;
  • !  The merged configuration affords greater job or career opportunity for police force members in the way of shifts, assignments, and compensation. Personnel and personnel policy defer to the town administering payroll and benefits.
  • !  An inventory is kept of equipment and vehicles that includes what towns brought into the agreement at the start for purposes of reporting and in the case the towns separate.
  • !  Any grants that either town may apply for are managed separately.

    At the conclusion of this discussion, the Boards agreed to meet next at 9:30 am on Friday, November 4, to debrief and consider next steps. A response from the towns’ attorney is also forthcoming.

    The Harrisville Select Board members left the meeting at noon.