Saturday, July 21, 2018

TO:          Board of Selectmen

FROM:    Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator

RE:           Interim DPW Director

DATE:      July 19, 2018

CC:            N/A

Upon resignation of Alan Mayo as DPW director, I sent an email out to all area communities to ask them if they might be interested in exploring a shared administrative director (see exhibit A) Unfortunately, there was none.

Following that, I sent out an email to six firms seeking staffing proposals for an interim DPW director (see exhibit b). One responded with some interest and one referred a recently resigned Town Manager to us. The remaining four either did not respond or advised they were not in a position to propose at this time. At Alan's suggestion, I also reached out to the Bay State Roads program which offers technical training and support on local highway issues such as snow & ice control. They do not offer services on a consulting basis, but the instructor Alan spoke highly of does maintain a private practice in addition to his teaching responsibilities.

As a result of these efforts we have a mixed bag of proposals:

Don Jacobs Associates, a former Assistant Town Manager in Amherst and Town Manager in Southbridge and Plymouth and 30+ year professional in the business with a heavy concentration in HR matters would supply himself and Mr. Tom Woods, a 30 + year professional who worked his way up through the ranks in Leicester, MA and retired as DPW Director, who will undertake all of the assignments at $100.00 per hour.

Michael Smith, former highway Superintendent for Heath and instructor at Bay State Roads program, of Chainsaw Technologies who will undertake the snow & ice control analysis as he has done for Avon, Sudbury and Dover. His rate is $75.00 per hour.

Brian Palais, a Town Manager recently separated from the Town of Oxford as an outgrowth of a personnel matter he had to deal with that became controversial. He will undertake the assignments for $50.00 per hour.

While the most qualified proposer giving us the best overall review and work products would be Jacobs, his pricing would be virtually impossible to absorb within our current budgeting. Meanwhile, with the upcoming budget season rapidly approaching and a need to review our operational and capital needs for snow & ice control program, due to this being the last year of available sand from our pit; we have real needs within the department.

Accordingly, I seek your approval to engage Mr. Michael Smith, dba Chainsaw Strategies, in an amount not to exceed $5,500.00 to carry out an analysis of our snow and ice control operations as outlined in this proposal.

With respect to the interim DPW Director our only alternatives are to (a) keep going as we are, (b) try to do another round of inquiries, or (c) meet with your preferred candidate relative to any questions you may have on his background.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Templeton Board of Selectmen
                                  Town Hall, 160 Patriots Road, East Templeton
                                                Wednesday, July 25, 2018, 6:30 p.m.

1. Call the Meeting to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance

3. Public Comment

4. a. Meeting Minutes~ 6.11.18, 6.25.18, 7.11.18
b. Executive Session Minutes~ 7.11.18

5. New Business: 
a. Action RE: Appointments & Introductions
b. Action RE: Waive Right of First Refusal~59 Day Mill Drive
c. Action RE: One Day Liquor License ~ Templeton Fish & Game
d. Action RE: Proposed Name Change of Brazell Pond by USGS
e. Action RE: Class Action Law Suit RE: USA Payments in Lieu of Taxes
f. Action RE: Snow & Ice Planning & Status Interim DPW Director
g. Action RE: Lawn Tractor, Infield Groomer & Associated Retrofits
h. Action RE: Purchase & Financing of Fire Engine
i. Discussion RE: Personnel Policy Updates, Revenue Streams, Goal & Objective Setting, School Relations (Caplis)

6. Old Business:

7. Board & Staff Member Comments & Reports

8. Potential Request for Executive Session per MGL Ch. 30;§21.2, contract negotiations with non-union personnel (Town Administrator)

9. Adjournment

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

In the spending plan for fiscal year 2019, it states under the treasurer/collector office;
Treasurer/collector - $31.63 hourly or salary of $62,741.00
Deputy treasurer/collector - $22.01 hourly 19.5 hours /  $22,404.00 year.
administrative assistant - $15.15 hourly  19.5 hours / $15,421.00 year.

Not for nothing, given Templeton history of finance, perhaps we should stick to a stated plan rather than change after annual town meeting with voted appropriations? Why present to the people one thing, then after the vote, change it up? Maybe they think no one is paying attention.

TO: Board of Selectmen 
FROM: Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator 
RE: Administrator’s Weekly Report 
DATE: July 12, 2018 
CC: All Departments ______________________________________________________________________________ 
Important Notice to All Departments Job Openings: 
Assistant Town Accountant / / Assistant Treasurer/Collector // Director of Public Works

Also on Town website, under box; paid, volunteer and contract opportunities - there is position of assistant treasurer/collector listed.

Then there is this: 

On Jobquest the listing  Job Details   Massachusetts jobquest
 Assistant Treasurer/Collector

Pay rate offered will depend on qualifications and experience.
Board of Assessors:

Town of Templeton spending plan for FY 2019 has an item, Vision software upgrade for the Assessors.

Going to be funded by a contribution from Templeton Municipal Light & Water department.

Dollar amount - $20,000.00.

March 6, 2018, meeting of TMLWP /  commissioners vote to not fund this item, voting instead to put that money towards improvements to Bridge street, the road that goes by the TMLWP building (s).

Assessors office finds out about this on June 25, 2018 - after annual Town Meeting, which was in May. Great communication here!

So, this required item was going to be funded from a sum of money provided by the TMLWP, except on March 6, 2018, the commissioners vote to not do it.

According to the meeting minutes of the TMLWP commission, two former Templeton selectmen, Chris Stewart and Gregg Edwards and Dana Blais voted to:

$82,000.00 for: $8,500.00 for a tractor, $5,000.00 for groomer, $20,000.00 for SCBA tanks and the rest towards Bridget Street reconstruction. Perhaps it slipped the mind of the town administrator to inform the assessors of this, so where were the selectmen in this? Are they engaged in the budget process or not, it is essentially their budget that is presented and then sent to Advisory Committee.

Back in 2006, when Gregg Edwards was a selectmen, Vision is mentioned in the report from the assessors. Strange two former selectmen did not suggest to find out the details of Vision first, prior to voting it down.

On a more important front, Chris Stewart suggested the town begin paying "their" electric bills in full again. Suggestion of a tiered approach, 20% in FY2019, 40% in FY2020, 60% in FY2021, etc., until the town is back to full payment again.

Ideas about Vision software: The GM at TMLWP stated not sure what Vision software upgrade was, but he suspected it had something to do with the Sewer department and the Town's plan to take over sewer collections. Gregg Edwards was concerned it was some new yet to be tested accounting software and he did not want Templeton being the test case for it. Chris Stewart stated instead of $20,000.00 for Vision, the 20K should go to Bridge street reconstruction. The commission went for 20K for tanks instead, per the above vote. Interesting thought process from the people who oversee TMLWP.

Great transparency from Town Hall - a firing offense perhaps???
Watching the board of selectmen meeting of April 23, 2018 and hearing the town auditor, CPA Tony Roselli, talk about cash collection control. Specifically, with regards to department collections,such as say, the Town Clerk collection of dog license fees; they need to be accounted for, because although the dollar amounts are small, they add up!

So, we have seen that the threshold of worry for that think tank justsmartnuff is around 14 cents a year per tax payer, I believe when a CPA or certified public accountant, states that all dollar amounts should be tracked and thought about, well, that justifies the Advisory Committee discussing $700.00 per year.

Advice to justsmartnuff; stick to making salads!
So, at Town Hall, the full time employees, so called, do not work 40 hour weeks (38 hrs +/-)

At the budget hearing meetings, with sewer department, there was a pretty involved discussion on the sewer administrative assistant getting up to full time. The town administrator indicating 40 hours was required (why not for town hall?) After much back and forth, it was stated it would be 36 hours full time this year and fiscal 2020, the hours would move to 40 hours.

Fast forward to now, there was/is money in the budget (s) for a 2%  non union raise, apparently, the sewer department administrative assistant was left out. Why would that be? I was at a meeting of sewer commissioners (elected by the town to take care of "all things sewer" look up the MGL on that!) There was and still is,apparently,  a point of contention between the town administrator and the elected sewer commissioners on the collections of the sewer department. One item is the sewer commissioners feel the town should get their house in order first, before taking on sewer collections, and charging the enterprise fund for indirect costs.

I have to wonder if this raise issue is the result of payback, that has seemed to be the way of the operation from the BOS office, tow the line or else, follow my lead, or else. Look at the number of long time employees gone recently? What conclusion do you come to? Select board chairman states it is probably an oversight, so give us time to look at it. Time for select board members to follow the town general by-laws and lead and manage, give direction to town administrator, rather than the other way around. No excuse for promised, stated, accounted for and appropriated by town meeting, raises not given out to all included.

Interesting to see how this perceived arm twisting works out. Why should there be such a struggle to do things correctly? I mean, the town has good numbers, the audits are all done, we have qualified people in position, the financial team, so why this issue of a raise not being passed on. All of the union raises were handed out. Seems to be an operational approach, come up with a way to get an employee to leave if they do not become a good little pawn and then, well, since you don't have an assistant, we will be glad to have collections in town hall.

If you doubt this, attend a meeting of sewer commissioners and ask them, contact the chairman of the select board and ask him about this. This is a management issue that the select board is responsible for.

Monday, July 16, 2018

follow up to a speech by Cameron Fortes:

Using the cold war as a possible parallel (a stretch perhaps)

in the 1960's, there was the Cuban standoff, involving America and the USSR.

Then there was the Berlin Wall come down.

A stand off of sorts between the Templeton Board of Selectmen and the Advisory Committee.

Was the Board of Selectmen meeting of July 11, 2018 the day that some from one blinked?

Cameron Fortes, like Nakita Khrushev, seems to have moved away from the rest of the leadership at town hall  (leadership at town hall, another stretch?) I think someone blinked, and like Khrushchev, Fortes seems to be willing to try something different.

As I recall the big to do concerning Open Meeting Law supposed violations, I use that in parallel with the blockade, with no movement, no solution, until someone blinked.

Now, with regards to the Berlin Wall, we have one player, but who will be the one for the "other side"? It may be time for two most unlikely of folks to "tear down that wall" and begin a new movement. Just like the Cuban blockade ending, some internal things need to happen in Town Hall: a new chairman of the board of selectmen perhaps? New dialogue from the Advisory Committee, because using the old same ole same ole has not worked. An uneasy "peace" while new ideas / rules are crafted and agreed upon, to better the Town and move people back to Town Meeting.

The who, how and when may pose the bigger problems, but this needs to happen.

Now, so justsmartenough does not have a melt down and burn all his/her salad recipes, I am not really comparing the politics of Templeton to the cold war and the USA / USSR stand offs, satellite wars and Nuclear showdowns, but I do think there is a legitimate parallel: two powers who in the past and perhaps even still, working towards dominance, while leaving things that really matter in the cellar. It is time to let some light in.