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February 24, 2005 Minutes
FEBRUARY 24, 2005

I.      Call Meeting To Order
Due to absence of the Chairman and Vice Chairman, Joseph Roberts served as temporary chairman.  Mr. Roberts called the meeting to order at 7:40.

II.     Attendance:    Joseph Roberts, John Parda, Peter Nevers, Noreen Farmer,  Kathy Bilodeau, Cliff Nelson
Unable to Attend:  Richard LeBorious, Ralph Saunders, Edward Filipone

III.    Added Agenda Items – None

IV.     Public Participation – None

Mr. Roberts discussed the need for public participation and the continued efforts of the Commission to garner as much input and involvement from the public sector as possible.  To date, public participation has been minimal.  The Commission will look into advertising the regular meetings on the town public bulletin boards and cable television.  

V.      Written Communications
·       Mary Szabo, Treasurer memo dated February 24, 2005;
·       Lauren Whitten, Town Planner memo dated February 24, 2005;
·       Joann Kucejko E-mail correspondence dated February 20, 2005;
·       Peter Nevers memo dated February 24, 2005 re: Advertising Inserts, Reminder Community Newspaper.

VI.     Previous Minutes
MOTION: To approve the February 14, 2005 Public Hearing and Regular Meeting, with the following correction:  Page Two, Call to Order, the regular meeting started at 7:40 p.m.
                Made by Mr. Nevers, seconded by Ms. Farmer

VII.    Town Department Input on suggested Charter Revision(s)

Ms. Gaudreau was not able to attend tonight’s meeting, but had previously provided the Commission with her input.

Ms. Szabo’s suggested revisions are detailed in the memo distributed to the Commission as referenced above in “Written Communications”.  In sum, she is seeking changes to Section 8.3B submission of budget request, an extra two weeks is needed for the budget books to be ready.  Also changes to Section 10-3, moving the annual town meeting to a later date, possibly January 30. This would allow for the audit paper work to be completed and published in the town report, wherein that town report is part of the annual town meeting.  That difficulty aside, December 30 is a terrible date for those working on these items, and for attendance at the meeting, as it is the height of the holiday season.

Ms. Whitten’s suggested revisions are detailed in the memo distributed to the Commission as referenced above in “Written Communications”.  In sum, there needs to be clarification of job descriptions/duties and/or a hierarchy of each official, perhaps an organizational chart.   For example, the ZEO reports to the Town Planner, not the First Selectman.  The Commission discussed whether this was a Human Resources function, rather than charter driven item,  as job descriptions and duties can be constantly evolving.   The Commission asked Ms. Whitten if she has seen a successful hierarchy chart in her work experience, and if so, a copy would be welcome for the Commission to view as an example.

Ms. Madore came before the Commission and outlined she agrees with those items discussed thus far. She cautioned the Commission to be conscious of dates for budget and referendum as there are tax collection dates, which need to be adhered to, and a Grand List to be filed.   Ms. Madore also mentioned that currently referendums are held 6-8, while the charter outlines 12-8, this item might need to be looked at.  When the referendum is 6-8 the Assessor needs to be there the entire time.   The Commission asked that Ms. Madore put her comments in writing for their future reference.

Ms. Buckley reiterated the name change that needs to be reflected in the charter – “Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security”  (DEMHS).  She also cited some specific language changes to Section 7-6B which she will submit in writing for the Commission’s reference.

Ms. Burns described for the Commission the numerous arenas of human interaction that this office encompasses, including but not limited to, ADA requirements, rebate programs for the elderly, fair housing, medicare, senior referrals and outreach to seniors, and the juvenile review board.   Ms. Burns suggested that a name change for this department might be prudent in that often her department is mistaken to be a human resource division.  A more suitable name might be “Department of Social and Elderly Services”.

At this point the Commission discussed the idea of the departments that deal with the social arena being intermingled and connected, i.e., youth, elderly, disadvantaged, etc.   Currently these areas maintain separate identities, but would a combination of these entities provide a maximum of services to the Town?  Redundancy is costly.  It was noted that the physical location of the various entities do not currently allow for that.  

The Commission would like a memo to go out to Department Heads reminding them of tonight’s meeting and asking for input from all on charter revision changes, if any, by way of attendance at a future meeting or a memo to the Commission.  If no changes are deemed necessary, the Commission would be interested in receiving that information in writing.

Of note:  the Senior Center is not mentioned in the Charter.

VIII.   Continued Review Of Charter And Discussion Of Potential Revision(s)
·       Status of Student interest for input on charter revision – no action.

·       Status of date for local town manager discussions – March 24, 2005 is the date for these discussions.

·       Status of pubic forum regarding education of forms of town government – no action.

IX.     Adjournment

MOTION: To adjourn at 9:20 p.m.
                Made by Mr. Nevers, seconded by Mr. Nelson.

Respectfully submitted,

Cynthia D. Croxford
Recording Secretary