Friday, October 13, 2017

Re: Advisory Committee and Town by-laws
Fri 10/13/2017 11:03 AM
You forwarded this message on 10/13/2017 9:41 PM
Good Morning Jeff,

I hope all is well. I would like to express my concern with the way you are talking to town personnel. These are people with functions that do not need your concerns expressed to them directly. I would suggest if you have a concern over the nature of any town employee you bring that before the Town Selectmen. As we are the one's who would handle such matters. The response you were given actually suffices to any and all your questions. Carter & Kelli stated in their email, if you have a question they will be happy to answer it.

This is not your place to pick a quarrel with the Town Administrator or the Town Accountant. Your place to take it up would be with the Selectmen and give us your feed back in a public forum about your qualms about financial details. I am sure the Chairman would be willing to accommodate.

Also, sending a line as if to threaten town employees that you will be making burdensome inquiries into their financial items so they "may wish to clear their calendar"  is as bizarre as it is unprofessional. I highly suggest you correct your actions in correspondence with Town Employees as this will not be tolerated.

Furthermore, The Advisory Committee is not a spending watchdog. Your task as an advisory committee is to review the budget and make recommendations. The Select Board reviews and signs all warrants once a week. We have been tasked with reviewing day to day financial operations & spending within the community. As the executive body of Templeton, we also have the power to put a financial team in place and as such we are responsible for their actions and reviewing their work.

The Advisory Committee is not an investigatory body and it is certainly not an audit committee. Kelli has three auditing bodies already. Tony Roselli, the Department of Revenue, & the Board of Selectmen. Which would make three entities reviewing the books and as you can imagine makes for some incredible strain on Templeton's financial department when they are asked the same questions regularly. Your scope, once again, should be defined as budgeting review and recommendation of warrant articles. You do not create the budget and you are not the financial arm of the town. You are an advisory committee.

So I direct you again Jeff. If you have a question about insurance payments being paid timely or in full. That isn't in your jurisdiction. If you have a question about what the insurance policy being paid in full and how much that would save the town versus payments over time and have a possible recommendation to the budget based on that information, you would be in your role as an advisory committee member.

If you have a budget related question, ask it Jeffery, if not then I would suggest you reach out to the Chairman of the Selectmen Board to discuss your specific complaints in open forum but in no way within your scope of duties does it say you can threaten members of town hall with burdensome work or enforce by-law requirements leave that to the elected officials.

Cameron Forte

Good Day:

While it was not uncommon for some towns to use the accounting systems for the kind of details you had formerly it is also not uncommon for a town to have as few as two (personnel and expenses) accounts.  We chose to collect our expenditures around their activity.  Even reverting to the old system would not tell you if the insurance was paid in full for the year.  We can always give you a specific response to any question  that you have and are more than happy to do so.

Kindly understand that there is no addition to the overall staffing levels within the finance unit.  We had 5 f.t.e’s and when we added the .5 Assistant Town Accountant we reduce the Deputy Treasurer Collector to .5.  The total staffing remains at 5 f.t.e’s.  That said, we are looking at how we might give you some better access to payments (perhaps posting the payment register on-line) and would hope to complete that within the next week or two. 

Many Thanks

Kelli &
Carter Terenzini
Interim Town Administrator
Town of Templeton
160 Patriots Road
East Templeton, MA 01438
(978) 894-2753

From: jeff bennett []
Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2017 7:03 AM
To: 'Kelli Pontbriand' <>
Cc: Selectman Caplis <>; Selectwoman, Diane <>; Doug Morrison, Selectmen <>;; Town Administrator <>;
Subject: Advisory Committee and Town by-laws

I have again been tasked by a vote of the Advisory Committee to bring to your attention as well as to high lite one article/section of the general by-laws of Templeton;

Article IV, section 5 -Article IV – Advisory Committee:

Section 5. In the discharge of its duty, said committee shall have free access to all books of record and accounts, bills and vouchers on which money has been or may be paid from the town treasury. Officers, boards, and committees of the town shall, upon request, furnish said committee with facts, figures, and any other information pertaining to their several activities.

We bring this up because in the discharge of our stated responsibilities and duty, we look at the recent document of expenditures or the budget versus actual and we do not see the accounts and records in the detail required to look at and analyze the spending and care of taxpayer dollars. For instance, with the current presentation, the committee cannot see if the Town has paid group (health) insurance in full, which if done, saves taxpayer dollars. This is one of the reasons for the committee asking for a return of detail in the monthly expenditure reports sent out from the office of the Town Accountant. With the addition of more staff, assistant town accountant, the committee feels this would be a simple and beneficial step towards bringing resident confidence back to town government.

Jeff Bennett
Advisory Committee vice-chairman
on behalf of the committee