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October 17, 2007 Meeting Minutes




TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
BOARD OF FINANCE
OCTOBER 17, 2007 MEETING MINUTES
                   

Chairman Catino called the Board of Finance meeting to order
at 7:36 PM at the East Windsor Town Hall.  

I.                 ATTENDANCE

                Paul Catino
                Noreen Farmer-Secretary
                Jack Mannette
                William Dove
                Dale Nelson
                Robert Little-Alternate
                Edward Filipone-First Selectman

                    Members Absent
                Marie DeSousa
                Leo Szymanski-Alternate
                Mary Szabo-Town Treasurer

II.           Appointment of Alternates

Upon motion by Mannette, seconded by Farmer, it was unanimously:

VOTED:  to appoint R. Little to a full voting member due to the absence of M. DeSousa


III.          PREVIOUS MINUTES

Regular Meeting-September 19, 2007

Upon Motion by Farmer seconded by Mannette, it was:

VOTED:  to approve the minutes of September 19, 2007 as submitted.

APPROVED:  Dove, Farmer, Little, Mannette
ABSTAIN: Nelson, Catino






IV.           COMMUNICATIONS

Communications were distributed and reviewed. There was no discussion.



V.            TREASURER'S REPORT

Town Treasurer, Mary Szabo was absent due to illness.
The Board Members reviewed the September revenue and expense reports.  There was no discussion due to the absence of the Treasurer.


VI.           OLD BUSINESS

    A.   Senior Center-FY 06/07 Budget Surplus

The Board of Finance had a discussion with First Selectman, Edward Filipone, about expenses accrued during the 06/07 fiscal year being paid from the current 07/08 budget.  They instructed the First Selectman that this type of practice is against sound municipal accounting practices, represents poor fiscal management and cannot continue.  The First Selectman assured the Board of Finance that all department heads had been spoken to and this will not continue to happen.


B.      Oil/Gas Expenditures-Senior Center, Police Department, Public       Works      

                This item was tabled to the November Board of Finance agenda in order for the information provided recently by the First Selectman’s Office to be reviewed before any discussion.













C.       Chief of Police Employment Contract.

There was lengthy discussion between Board members and the First Selectman. Chairman Catino began by making it clear that the Board’s concerns are not with the individual involved in the agreement but are solely about who can legally enter into employment contracts with non-union employees of the Town. There was much discussion regarding the October 16 Legal Opinion and the consensus of the Board was that it in no way answered any of the Board’s concerns raised in its October 1 Memo to the First Selectman, and that it did not address the question of the legality of individual boards and commissions (separate from the First Selectman and Board of Selectmen) entering into agreements and contracts that obligate the Town financially.

The Board insists that the First Selectman, with approval by the Board of Selectmen, is authorized to negotiate and enter into long-term agreements with non-union personnel and that any Board or Commission attempting to do so on their own lacks legal authority (with the exception of the BoE). The Board referred to the Connecticut General Statutes, the Town Charter and to the Town Attorney opinion of May 9 that stated: “The First Selectman has the authority to negotiate employment agreements with non-union employees, subject to the approval of a majority of the Selectmen.”
Whereas the Board feels that statement has been ignored by various parties subsequently, that the First Selectman expresses he was not a party to negotiations that resulted in new agreements for non-union personnel, that the statement above was not addressed nor the issue in any way resolved in the Town Attorney’s October 16 opinion, and further that the issue has been actively pursued for several months without resolution, the Board re-iterated its request that the First Selectman solicit a legal opinion from a separate, qualified attorney not in any way connected to the current Town Attorney as to whether a (non-Education) Board or Commission, separate from the First Selectman and Board of Selectmen, can negotiate long-term, non-union personnel contracts such that they become legal obligations of the Town.

The Board expressed that the issue must be resolved quickly and that it should not be delayed.  Mr. Filipone agreed to consult a third party law firm and report back to the Board at the November 14, 2007 meeting.



D.      Registrar of Voters.

The First Selectman forwarded the audit done by Jack Mannette to Connecticut Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz.  Her staff reviewed the information and found that no violations of state election law were made and that the issues raised were of local concern.  The First Selectman addressed changes that he has instituted to ensure that all purchases are processed through his office.  The First Selectman office will review and approve all expenditures from the Registrar budget.  Jack Mannette presented suggestions for line item changes to the Registrar budget to ensure that expenditures are allotted correctly.  The Board agreed that the best time for consideration and execution of line item adjustments would be during the upcoming FY09 budget process.


VII.        NEW BUSINESS

                A.  November meeting date.

                November’s meeting will be held on the 14th instead of the 21st due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.  The 14th was the date originally scheduled and will not be a special meeting.

     B. Legal Bills

                The Board of Finance reviewed the legal bills for July, August, September and October.  There were questions regarding expenditures for items that seemed to not be the responsibility of the Town.  The Board questioned legal costs involving the Broad Brook Fire Department's desire to become a Fire District.  Mr. Filipone informed the Board it was due to a waiver we received allowing the BBFD to utilize Pullman and Comley who are currently representing the Town in other matters.  The board felt the Broad Brook Fire Department should pay the bill as it was to the Broad Brook Fire Department’s benefit, not the Town’s.  There were also fees associated with the Sylvester Trust, which is a separate function from the Town and may fall under the Board of Education. There were concerns that the Town is paying legal fees for the review of the separate trust account.  


VIII.   REQUESTS FROM THE BOARD OF SELECTMAN

None

     


The Chair called for a five minute Recess at 9:05PM to allow for the arrival of Mr. Timothy Howes, Superintendent.



IX.     EXECUTIVE SESSION

Upon motion by Mannette seconded by Farmer it was unanimously:

VOTED:  to enter executive session regarding Contract Negotiations to include the First Selectman and Superintendent of Schools, at 9:10PM.

Upon motion by Nelson, seconded by Mannette it was unanimously:

VOTED:  to leave executive session at 9:46 PM.


X.          ADJOURN  

Upon motion by Nelson, seconded by Mannette it was unanimously:

VOTED:  to adjourn at 9:47PM


                    Respectively submitted,

                    Lori Butenas
                    Recording Secretary