Saturday, October 14, 2017

Reading thru some comments, a couple of things stand out; "you made the request as an Advisory Committee member. Certainly you were not looking to pay for the request like a citizen."

Another comment had "for their old guard mentality"

First things first, The only requests I made as a representative of the Advisory Committee were some questions that came about at a recent meeting. There was a motion and a vote on the questions and to have myself ask them via email, which I did. Following a response from the Town Accountant, I sent back a thank you. Following an email response from the interim town administrator, which I had CC'd as a courtesy, I responded back with my view on his statements. At no time did I make a public records request or ask for copies of material as a member of the Advisory Committee. I did offer up the thought, opinion, statement that there would be many questions to follow and you may wish to clear your calendar; as in it may be good to have free time to deal with said questions. As for ""pay for the request like a citizen", I do not believe there is any law that says one must pay for a public record. There is a law (s) or guidelines that state if a government wishes to charge for public information, they may do so and there are amounts, in dollars and cents given as to cost per a double sided page. There are charges given for what salaried costs may be included and so forth. One may contact the secretary of the Commonwealth for more assistance with that. Some government entities use large fees and costs as a deterrent to providing information. Since government is basically a service industry and in the case of the town of Templeton, there are budget items for office supplies such as paper, ink, printers etc., as well as Town employees being paid for their work, so why are taxpayers charged a second time for public information by their representatives which they elect? Seems like the selectmen are charging them twice, first by way of taxes and other fees, then another set of fees to get information the people already pay the town to produce. Seems like master Fortes is of that thought process, "pay for the request like a citizen."

I think Master Fortes should take his own advice, if he wishes to tell the Advisory Committee what their job or duty is, what their role is and how they should go about it, he should attend a meeting of the Advisory Committee. I promise he will be allowed to speak and make his point. I cannot tell him in advance what the answers, if any, he will receive. Secondly, grow up, putting a picture of yourself on twitter, doing a face dive into a swimming pool, with a drink in hand, in your clothes, is hardly professional. Remember, you are an elected official for the Town of Templeton. One other thing, and it may be a generational thing these days, but show a little respect for your elders.

As for the old guard mentality, not sure what that entails, perhaps it is talk of what happened in 1991 or 2003 or whatever. Perhaps it is questioning change in a financial document that at one time showed things in an open matter and now that document has been changed so it shows less information. Maybe it has to do with the perception or the reality, that at one time, town meeting was a place and time where debate happened and questions were kicked around with less parliamentary procedure used to shut off discussion and debate. Sometimes it seems elected officials like to have few questions and just a vote for things and that seems like a move toward people being subjects rather than citizens with a say in how their money is being spent or taken care off. Why else would a selectmen have to fight for town employee salaries to be included in the annual town report? Which, if any,  selectmen  are against that? Why would they be against that. Why the big secret concerning what town employees make? Let us see what they make so we can compare to other towns and then we, as citizens, can decide if we are being told the truth or being lied to, with regards to how Templeton town employees are poorly paid, compared to other towns.

TO: Board of Selectmen
FROM: Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE: Administrator’s Weekly Report
DATE: October 11, 2017
CC: All Departments ______________________________________________________________________________

Important Notices Positions Now Open: DPW - Highway: Laborer/Truck Driver 

BoS Workshop 10/16 to review Draft Warrant. Please plan to attend if you have an article.

Business Meeting or Workshop: The following is intended to supplement agenda items where a full memorandum may not have been required or updates are needed.

Item 5 is still in progress and will need a bit more discussion with you. Item 6 i&ii are now being worked on by Mr. Fortes and will not be available for distribution until Monday.

 Weekly Report: I met with our health insurance representatives to prepare for the upcoming renewal and budget season. John Driscoll was able to join me. Our loss ratios year to date and over the past two-year rating period look fairly good on the HMO side but the indemnity plan still remains at an extremely high level (2x loss over premium). We discussed potential savings now available on the Rx side which we need to do more PR on, a potential no-cost program expansion (though one always has to look at the effort needed if you ever have to constrict that improvement) and potential tweaks to contain the premium increases we are told to think of in terms of 8 – 10%. They will package all of this – and more – up for an IAC meeting in mid-November. I attended the meeting of the School Building Committee. Your bids came in very nicely at roughly $32.55 million. You will have roughly $4M for your construction contingency, furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E), permits/inspection, testing and the like. The timeline is for the Committee to present to you on 10/23, the School Committee to vote the Notice of Intent to Award on 10/25, you to get the next phase of BAN bids on 11/22, you to award the BAN on 11/27 and the contract to be signed shortly thereafter. The Financial policies are here for your signature so that we might circulate them to all. Collins will now proceed to comments on revenue optimization, and look at potential forecasting templates so that we do not have to construct them at our end. I finalized a Draft of the Fall Town Meeting warrant for 10/16 and kicked it off to Town Counsel to get a head start on review. There were no citizen petitions. The permits for the timber cutting were received this week so the bid process can commence shortly. The Police Station is out to bid. Given the virtual elimination of the USDA grant program ($25k - $50k) toward the project we will be looking at a general borrowing. Given the increase in the rate this year to claw-back the unrecovered debt of ’13 – ’16, given the payment patterns for the school in FY ’19; we may yet be able to shoe-horn that debt into a three – four year payment plan closer to what was originally projected. Holly and I have sorted out a relatively easy means of publishing online supplemental documents submitted during your meetings and we will start this process starting with your 10/16/17 meeting
Selectmen Fortes writes in part;

"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."

Perhaps Mr. Fortes has not read up on public record laws, the fact that Town employees can very well be charged as holders of that information and most importantly, as a Templeton resident who regularly votes and attends most Town Meetings, I have a right to make as many public records request as I want and I can ask for such records as simple and small as one page or twenty pages.  Town employees are there to provide a service to residents in one way or another, and if that involves collecting and producing public records, then how is that a burden? How is that a threat informing "town government" that one will be seeking many or multiple items of record, so be ready and do not be surprised when many requests come your way. I believe that in most instances, that is why there are assistants, such as assistant in assessors office, assistant treasurer/collector, assistant town accountant and so on. Perhaps selectmen Fortes should read up on some things rather than sending lecturing and threatening emails to Town residents. Perhaps begin with the Templeton general by-laws.