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MINUTES OF THE NEWFANE SELECTBOARD
REGULAR MEETING
FEBRUARY 21, 2008
TOWN OFFICES
NEWFANE, VERMONT

PRESENT
Selectboard members: Joe Mandell, Dan Dewalt, Peter Rysz, Guy Wachtel, Ellen Darrow (at 6:35 p.m.)
Also Present: Shannon Meckle, Administrative Assistant; Todd Lawley, Road Foreman; Christopher Williams, Road Commissioner; Nicole Orne, Brattleboro Reformer; Alex Jones, Brattleboro Reformer; Carol Destromp, Ralph Roam, Laura Beliveau, Tim Destromp, Gunther Garbe, Gary Katz

MINUTES
February 7, 2008: Dan Dewalt made a motion to approve the minutes with one grammatical change. Peter Rysz seconded. The minutes were approved unanimously.

ROAD BUSINESS:
Road Commissioner’s Report: Christopher Williams reported that the Road Crew has been working extremely hard and he is pleased with their work. He mentioned that the Covered Bridge is in serious disrepair, past the point of no return. Discussion ensued regarding the state of the Covered Bridge and efforts to get the project moved up, via the legislature. Shannon presented plans to the board that were received this week from VTrans, asking for the board’s concurrence.
Road Foreman’s Report: See Attached Report.
Highway Crew: There is a vacancy on the Highway Crew, as Herbie’s last day will be the 29th of February. Todd’s recommendation is to hire Mike O’Donnell on full time, as a permanent, full-time member of the Highway Crew. Salary and benefits were discussed. Todd recommended keeping Mike’s pay stay as it has been.
Dan Dewalt made a motion to accept Todd’s recommendation for the vacancy on the Highway Crew. Peter Rysz seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Radway Road: Peter reported that he met with Todd and Matt Mann from Windham Regional Commission and Christopher Williams. The board should vote on this before a new board comes in, so as to not have to start the process over. After discussion, Peter Rysz moved to approve the Radway Road/River Road project with Mr. Mercede, contingent on a written agreement between Mercede and the Town of Newfane, as approved by the parties’ attorneys. Dan Dewalt seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Excess Weight Permit Applications: Peter Rysz made a motion to approve both permits, as amended to 69,000 pounds, except for Lynde Well Drilling’s 74,000 lb. well drilling rig, which can’t change its weight. Dan Dewalt seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Discussion ensued regarding the green iron bridge. Peter Rysz made a motion that each overweight permit granted shall be accompanied by a cover letter, stating that no truck over 69,000 pounds shall use the green iron bridge. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. After discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
A lengthy discussion ensued regarding overweight trucks using the roads and bridges in Newfane. Keith Clark, Windham County Sheriff was present to join in the discussion regarding enforcement. A Deputy will be going to DMV Enforcement School. Once that happens, the Sheriff’s Department will be able to sign out and use the scales for a period of time at no charge. Signage was also discussed. If a ticket is to stand up in court, it needs to be a sign that meets MUTCD standards. After discussion, Guy Wachtel made a motion to call and arrange a meeting with Lieutenant McNeil with the Road Foreman and the Road Commissioner present. Dan Dewalt seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Laura Beliveau of the Vermont Department of Public Service was present to discuss that according to statute, the Dept. of Public Service needs to come and speak to Selectboards whenever a transmission project occurs in a town. Discussion followed and a question and answer period.
Gunther stated that, as discussed, John Feifel and Gunther will accept another appointment to the Planning Commission, but will resign once the Zoning Bylaw is complete. He also stated that as of February 21, the Planning Grant will run as a deficit. The grant will reimburse only proven expenses. It will be repaid, perhaps not before June 30, 2008.

SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Keith Clark, Windham County Sheriff, was present to talk about a meeting on March 19 that the Sheriff’s Department will hold to discuss the reports that towns receive, and to work on improving it. It doesn’t currently show all of the work that the Sheriff’s Department does for its towns, and they aren’t detailed enough. Also, they are currently working on getting these reports on the internet for towns to look at. He encouraged the board to appoint someone to go to this meeting. The Sheriff’s Department is also currently looking to provide some off-hour coverage.
The board asked the Sheriff’s thoughts on certain traffic calming devices and discussion ensued. He did reiterate that the most effective method of traffic enforcement is Education, Enforcement, and Engineering.
Carol Destromp came to the board regarding a problem she’s having with a neighbor on Beechtree Lane. The road is a private road, and nobody is sure just who owns it. The board encouraged her to seek legal advice from an attorney, perhaps the best choice, being the attorney who handled her closing. The board explained that the road is not up to town mandated specifications, and cannot take over a road that doesn’t meet the specifications. The cost to bring them up wouldn’t be reasonable.

NEW BUSINESS
Sexual Harassment Policy:
The following changes were suggested by Dan Dewalt:
The Town of Newfane should have a procedure in place as to how an investigation would be conducted if the chair were the subject of the complaint. It could be as easy as the other four members selecting one to conduct the investigation.

Under the section subtitled "What the Town of Newfane will do if it learns of possible sexual
harassment," the following sentence does not make sense - "Every supervisor is responsible for promptly responding to, or reporting to the Chairman of the Newfane board of Selectmen …complaint." Responding to what? -I think that we should strike "responding to," and just have the supervisor report it to the board whether or not the supervisor tried or succeeded in solving the complaint.

At the end of the sentence referenced above, I would add the following: "Once a complaint has been made to a supervisor or member of the select board, there shall be no direct communication between complainant and subject of complaint until the concluding stage of the investigation, and only with the mutual consent of both parties." This would protect the town from any claims of coercion or favoritism and would assure both parties of a fair hearing of their differences by a neutral party. Note that already under the current policy, a complaint is made only after attempts at direct communication have failed or the complainant is unwilling or afraid to engage with the subject directly.

Let's add the employee assistance phone number along with the other phone numbers listed for AG and EEOC. It was also noted during discussion, that there should be a method or procedure for investigating claims.
Guy Wachtel made a motion to send Dan’s changes to VLCT in the next week, for their review and comment. Ellen Darrow seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Zoning Permit Process: Gunther reported that he looked into this issue, and stated that they got conflicting information between VLCT and the Secretary of State. The cleanest way to do it is to have the Selectboard take responsibility. DRB is the next appellate level. They can ask Gunther for assistance. Discussion ensued regarding the board’s ability to review a permit application, also the possibility of a Zoning Administrator’s Report for each meeting, much like the Road Foreman and the Administrative Assistant present.
The Zoning Administrator acts independently and acts independently with the Zoning Bylaws. After more discussion, Dan Dewalt made a motion to ask the Zoning Administrator to give a report once a month, of what’s happening with zoning, like the Road Foreman’s Report. Ellen seconded the motion. After discussion, the motion passed unanimously.

EXECUTIVE SESSIONS
Peter Rysz made a motion to enter Executive Session to discuss a Civil Action. Ellen Darrow seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously, and the board entered Executive Session at 9:00 p.m.
The board came out of Executive Session at 9:11 p.m. Dan Dewalt made a motion to authorize Guy to find an attorney to handle the Board of Civil Authority appeal and litigation. Ellen seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Dan Dewalt made a motion to enter Executive Session to discuss the appointment or employment or evaluation of a public officer or employee. Ellen Darrow seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously, and the board entered Executive Session at 9:35 p.m.
The board came out of Executive Session at 9:45 p.m.
Guy Wachtel made a motion to rescind the motion ordering John Mudgett to do an audit of the Town Offices. Ellen seconded the motion. The motion passed with four in favor. Peter Rysz abstained, as he was not at the meeting.
Guy Wachtel made a motion to ask for an audit of the parts of the office that were not previously audited for fiscal year ending June 30, 2008. Dan Dewalt seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Guy Wachtel made a motion to enter Executive Session to discuss labor relations agreements. Ellen Darrow seconded the motion. The board entered Executive Session at 9:50 p.m.
The board came out of Executive Session at 10:45 p.m. Guy Wachtel made a motion not to hire an attorney to do an investigation into this matter; noting that there was no longer a sexual harassment complaint pending. Ellen seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

PAY WARRANTS:
Guy Wachtel made a motion to approve the pay warrants as presented. Dan Dewalt seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Pay Orders:
2/22/08 - $67,113.22
2/13/08 - $581,472.03

Payroll:
2/11/08 - $4,521.39
2/20/08 - $5,020.01
2/22/08 - $1,660.59

IRS Electronic Payment:
2/15/08 - $1,596.16
2/27/08 - $1,848.15

Guy Wachtel made a motion to adjourn at 11:10 p.m. Dan Dewalt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully Submitted,

Shannon Meckle, Administrative Assistant

Posted At: Town Clerk's Office, Newfane Store, Williamsville/South Newfane Post Office, and South Newfane General Store & Deli. www.newfanevt.com (after approval)

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