Select Board
Friday, January 27, 2023
Meeting Minutes

Select Board:  Kathy Scott, Andrea Hodson, and Pegg MonahanAttendees:  Road Agent Wes Tarr, Librarian Susan Weaver, Police Chief Steve LaMears, Treasurer Anne Havill, EMD and Facilities Jeff Cady, Town Clerk Cathy Lovas, Fire Chief Wayne Derosia, Andrew Maneval, Earl Horn, Richard Lavatori

The meeting opened at 9:00 am.

Agenda, Minutes – The board approved the agenda.

Requesting two addenda to the Minutes of 1/13, the board noted its discussion of circumstances for allowing public comment at Select Board meetings, clarifying that, at regular meetings of the board, public comment is at the invitation of the board; at public hearings, parties whose rights are to be affected have the right to be heard. The SB further clarified for the 1/13 minutes that, RSA 91-a:3II, which outlines conditions required for non-public session, does not apply to the public body itself.

Kathy Scott added that, under the 1/13 Road Work Committee discussion, the board agreed to Seth Kallman’s proposal to hire Dynamic Drilling & Blasting at the quoted rate of $2,200 per day plus transportation costs from New Boston, upon receipt of a certificate of liability insurance. The latter information has been submitted.  With these amendments, the board approved the 1/13 minutes.

Department Heads – Department heads discussed outstanding budget questions and issues with the board, and discussed facilities updates and requests.

Treasurer Anne Havill shared year end actual expenditure numbers to reconcile against the board’s. On the matter of compensation of a select board member for duties performed in the position of Finance Coordinator, the Treasurer submitted the following statement for the record:

I, as treasurer for Harrisville, am voicing my concern regarding the matter of the payment of payroll for the position of financial coordinator for the past year 2022. The 2022 budget was unanimously approved at the March town meeting. This budget included the salary of the “financial coordinator,” whose responsibilities include executing payroll and paying bills. Taxes were duly raised to cover this payroll expense and these duties were performed for the entire 12 months of 2022… but only 5 months of the salary allocation was paid out. The remaining 7 month’s salary was not paid. When Amy Roberts resigned in May as financial coordinator, this position was immediately temporarily filled by Andrea Hodson, yet she was not paid for the 7 months that she performed these duties. No matter who performs these duties, the taxpayers approved salary for this position and the town is obligated to pay out this salary if the duties are performed.

Andrea initially said that she would do these duties for no pay and the other 2 SB members agreed to this arrangement…A HUGE ERROR!!! When Andrea later found it difficult to find a replacement and requested to be paid for her many months of work, the 2 other SB members refused… 2nd HUGE ERROR!!!! These 2 essential duties were performed for the entire 12 months so 12 months of compensation should have been paid. I, the treasurer, want it on the record that I think 2 SB members have been financially irresponsible in refusing to pay the person who did this work. I recommend that the SB rectify this error by paying the “temporary financial coordinator” for the 7 months that she executed these duties. (Andrea was doing these duties only as an emergency “stand-in”… not taking on this official position.) I, as treasurer, think these duties require compensation above the $13/hour that the other 2 SB members have recently suggested Andrea be paid. Since there is no written policy that says SB members doing extra duties be paid only $13/hr, the SB has discretion to pay what they think is correct compensation for the duties performed.  The town definitely needs to make a written policy regarding paying elected officials for doing duties outside their official duties.
Respectfully, Anne Havill, Treasurer

The SB acknowledged that a board member is not supposed to serve in this position, but that this was a temporary vacancy as the board worked toward backfilling the position. Andrea Hodson added that the auditors were aware at the outset that she was serving in this capacity on a temporary basis and advised that only the other 2 board members sign the checks being issued, which has been the case.

Discussion ensued as to the importance of establishing a policy regarding payment of officials for performance of duties above and beyond official duties.  The board and attendees agreed, whether drafted immediately or after Town Meeting. Longtime town employees attested to the practice of former board members’ receiving compensation for work above official responsibilities.

Regarding rate of compensation, the Town Clerk recommended that annual COLA adjustments be applied since the $13 rate was established, suggesting $19/hour in today’s wages. The Treasurer agreed.  Board members felt uncomfortable paying a higher rate as there is no written policy on record, only the budget line since 2008 or 2009 for SB compensation above stipend. Andrea Hodson requested a decision. Pegg Monahan urged a longer discussion at a separate meeting. Kathy Scott agreed compensation should be issued.  Andrea Hodson will resubmit an invoice for hours worked.  The board will render a formal decision at its next meeting. At the urging of the Treasurer to consider raising the SB stipend, Ms. Hodson will explore statewide commensurate stipend pay.

Department Heads / Additional budget items
Facilities – Jeff Cady suggested an additional budget line for a part-time position for the RC as a back-up in the event of absence or vacation or needed support. Kathy Scott noted the RC Committee will consider suggestion at its next meeting as part of research into longer term plans for the facility.

Assessor – Lynn Cook recommended increasing contributions to the Capital Reserve funds for Re-Valuation to $6K annually.  Following the Re-Val this year, another will be scheduled for 2028.

Utilities/fuel/insurance – Andrea Hodson will add projected budgets for these lines to the proposed 2023 draft budget.

Fire Department  – Chief Derosia requested increased contributions into the CR Funds for Fire Equipment to reflect aging vehicles and increased costs to replace. The Treasurer and Road Agent agreed. The SB is committed to doing so. The Fire Chief also asked about grant writing assistance. Pegg Monahan suggested the town contract this out to someone skilled in identifying opportunities for which the town and FD would be most eligible.

Highway – The Road Agent has estimates for Tolman Pond Road and Piper Lane and confirmed the Warrant Article amount for a new dump truck.

Ambulance service – Andrew Maneval updated the board on requested contract revisions related to termination and reimbursement, in order to further protect the town in the event of insolvency. He feels the contract provisions related to training look good. Assuming DiLuzio agrees, he recommends the SB sign. The board will await an update on the response from DiLuzio.

Land Use fees – Regarding the requirement to publish certain Town Notices in the Keene Sentinel, the  Town Clerk and SB Admin will double check current legal requirements, and whether posting on the town website is considered equivalent for legal purposes. The requirements could affect application fees under review by the town boards and committees.

Staffing – Following discussion on the bookkeeper position, the SB agreed it will make an offer pending agreement on revised contract terms. Pegg Monahan awaits a response from a cleaning service.

Personnel Policies Manual – The board is making final revisions and agreed with the Road Agent’s suggestion for time and a half after 8 hours and holiday/emergency pay at twice the hourly rate.

Wilcox & Barton: Following discussion and fee comparisons, the board moved and voted unanimously in favor to approve the contract with the environmental firm Wilcox & Barton for groundwater monitoring, well testing and DES reporting related to the closed landfill.

Digital sign – The board agreed on one slide to display the meeting schedule, one slide for Town Clerk announcements and one slide for occasional or emergency or seasonal announcements.

Crexendo /voice over fiber – Phone equipment is being ordered and turn-on is anticipated by end of February. A couple of landlines will remain operational in case of emergency. The office will confirm with Monadnock Security on the needs for the FD alarm panel.

Correspondence & other business
-Request to name town hall conference room
– Richard Lavatori followed up on previous requests to the board to honor longtime SB member/Chair Jay Jacobs, who passed away in 2019, by naming the town hall meeting room after Mr. Jacobs.  Attendees offered several suggestions, including whether a bench or another type of monument would be more appropriate. Discussion will continue next week.

-The SB signed the Trustee of the Trust Fund Transfer Authorization, Cemetery Maintenance Trust; the SB signed off on 2023 holiday and payroll schedule; the SB signed the pay warrant in amount of $36,644.42; the SB signed the receipt for Shoreland / Wetlands Permit applications for Map 21 – Lot 25.

-Hearing assistance technology– The board revisited the research done regarding hearing assistance technology.

-The town awaits feedback from the DOT on speed limit along Chesham Road.

Community Power – The SB accepted the Energy & Electric Aggregation Committee’s recommendation to name Andrew Maneval media spokesperson for the town on media inquiries related to Community Power.

-Proposed agenda for February 2: Ambulance service, land use noticing fees, staffing update, personnel policies manual, digital sign, naming of town hall conference room, draft warrant/budget updates.

The meeting adjourned at 12:00 pm.