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MAY 15, 2008

Selectboard: Gary Katz, Guy Wachtel, Jeff Gouger, Joe Mandell, Peter Rysz
Also Present: Ed Druke, Gunther Garbe, Judy Egan, Fred Lawrence, Ladd Wilbur, Robert Lakin, Carol Destromp, Tim Destromp, Shannon Meckle, and Todd Lawley

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by Gary Katz, Chair.

Gary asked for a quick Executive Session to discuss the hiring of an investigator into the on-going discussions with Thomas French at 6:30 p.m.

G. Wachtel made a motion to come out of Executive Session at 7:00 p.m. J. Mandell seconded the motion. Unanimous.

G. Wachtel made a motion that the board authorize Gary to sign the letter of retainer, with Blackwood & Danon, the name of the firm that Eileen Blackwood works for, with suggested change of language. J. Mandell seconded the motion. Unanimous. (Peter Rysz and Jeff Gouger have recused themselves.)

Gary went over what the different sets of minutes were, as there were numerous special meetings since the last regular Selectboard Meeting.

The first special meeting, April 24, 2008, was to discuss the first letter from Thomas French, and to draft a response.

The second special meeting, May 8, 2008, was a warned Executive Session to discuss the second letter received from Thomas French, and to discuss hiring an attorney to represent the town.

The third special meeting was a warned Executive Session to meet with the attorney representing the town, and to sign the retainer letter. Upon advice from the attorney, the following motions were made:

“Motion was made by G. Wachtel and seconded by J. Mandell that on the advice of Attorney S. Saltonstall, there is no reason to withhold the May 2nd letter from Attorney T. French and it may be released for public record. Unanimous.

Motion was made by G. Wachtel and seconded by J. Mandell that Chairman G. Katz sign the letter of representation by Attorney S. Saltonstall for the Town in connection with a claim of potential sexual harassment and claims of retaliation in connection therewith. Unanimous.

Motion was made by J. Mandell and seconded by G. Wachtel that on the advise of Attorney Saltonstall, there be no further public discussion on this matter except between Board members G. Katz, J. Mandell, G. Wachtel, Attorney Saltonstall and the investigator, Eileen Blackwood, Esq. Unanimous. It is expected that any communication will go through Chairman G. Katz and those mentioned in the motion and is considered privileged and confidential.”

Judy Egan stated that she was upset that minutes were not taken during the Executive Session, as documentation is very important; and questioned whether the Town has to pay for Peter’s attorney as well as the Town’s. Gary stated that VLCT has advised that if the matter goes into an actual suit, VLCT PACIF will pay for the town’s attorney, but until then, everything done by the board is considered preliminary, and would not be covered by VLCT PACIF. He also stated that the town is not paying for Peter’s attorney.

Peter Rysz wanted it on the record that dissemination of the information was clearly against the Sexual Harassment Policy, and as information continues to be made public, it will be a problem.

Gunther Garbe stated for the record that he can’t see how Peter can ethically or morally remain on the board under such adversarial circumstances.


The board reviewed the minutes of April 24, 2008. G. Wachtel made a motion to approve the minutes. J. Mandell seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously. (Peter Rysz and Jeff Gouger have recused themselves.)

The board reviewed the minutes of May 1, 2008. G. Wachtel made a motion to approve the minutes. J. Gouger seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously.

The board reviewed the minutes of May 8, 2008. G. Wachtel made a motion to approve the minutes. J. Mandell seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously. (Peter Rysz and Jeff Gouger have recused themselves.)

The board reviewed the minutes of May 12, 2008. G. Wachtel made a motion to approve the minutes. J. Mandell seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously. (Peter Rysz and Jeff Gouger have recused themselves.)


Road Foreman/Road Commissioner’s Report: See attached report.

Williamsville Covered Bridge: Todd went over Renaud’s price quote on the bridge repairs. It was pointed out that they might be able to save some money using slightly less expensive wood, because it doesn’t need to be rot resistant, as the bridge will be replaced next year.
G. Wachtel made a motion to approve the temporary repairs to the bridge, and see if there’s a way to shave off some expense by using less expensive wood. P. Rysz seconded the motion.

Discussion: Peter Rysz questioned whether it was worth saving money on less-expensive wood, that’s not rot resistant, in case the reconstruction doesn’t happen next year.
Budget discussion ensued, finding that there is $29,000 still in bridge repairs. Also, does this need to go out to bid? The board reviewed the bid policy of the town, and found that in an emergency situation, it is the board’s decision, and the bidding process was not necessary.

Guy amended the motion to authorize the emergency repair, to be done by Renaud, as described in the proposal. P. Rysz seconded the amendment to the motion. Discussion: Peter asked Todd if he could relay the board’s concerns about the price to Renaud, and see if he might be able to cut some of the costs. The vote was unanimous. Todd will contact Renaud to see how soon they can do it.

Guy questioned whether they knew if the Town would be able to hang onto the remains of the old bridge, so they could try and sell them at auction. Todd will follow up with the state on this.

Gary noted that the owner of the pull-off by Mayor Road (Halovitch) agreed to let them us it for reconstructing the bridge. The agreement was signed when he was last in Vermont.

Stratton Hill Bridge: Shannon will draft a letter to Fred Nicholson, with a copy to the Secretary of Transportation and the Governor. Shannon will call Gary to have him sign it when it’s ready.

Recycling Bins: J. Mandell made a motion to have Shannon to draft a letter to WSWMD that we’re not getting pickups often enough; and also to accept Ed Druke, Jr.’s offer for fencing. G. Wachtel seconded. The vote was unanimous.

Truck Bids: Todd asked if Shannon could send the truck bids out before the next meeting, or if it was necessary to wait for the board. The board’s consensus was to send them as soon as possible.


Ladd Wilbur and Robert Lakin of the Windham County Sheriff’s Department were present to discuss contracting and budgeting ideas for the next fiscal year.

The board and the officers held a short discussion regarding bridges and overweight trucks.

Jeff will work with the Sheriff’s Department to get more information, and follow up with the board for a decision at a later date.

Gary noted that there was communication from Maureen asking the board to approve the loan arrangements. Gary read the letter from Maureen to the board and the public. The loan will be for $300,000, to be paid back by August 25th. The board needs to sign the loan documents and the resolution for borrowing. J. Mandell made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s recommendation and borrow $300,000.00 from Chittenden Bank. J. Gouger second. Unanimous.

Budget Trimming Options: Todd noted that the town may not have to spend the entire road budget, before the end of the fiscal year, if there are no unexpected expenses.

Todd also felt it might be okay to push some Capital expenditures for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Discussion occurred regarding the possibility of having bridge funds be distributed by the state proportionately to the amount of bridges in Newfane. Peter will draft a letter for the next meeting. Shannon will put it on the agenda for discussion.

Also, school funding could be looked at. Shannon will draft a letter to Bruce Garrow to ask where they are going to be budget-wise at the end of the Fiscal Year. The consensus of the board was that it was okay to draft the letter.


Jon Julian and Steve Levine were present to start a discussion with the Selectboard regarding the possibility of a buyer’s cooperative at the Williamsville Hall. The group would purchase the produce bulk and pass the savings on to the community, on a pre-order basis. The group feels that it has the potential to morph into something else, perhaps even a general store (a cooperative) utilizing the downstairs space.

Discussion ensued regarding details of the idea, as well as possibilities for the future.
Jon didn’t feel that it would affect the rentals of the hall.

Ed Druke expressed his concerns regarding change of use, as it relates to zoning, as well as the parking issue.

Peter felt that the board should firm up some ideas, bring them back to the board for more discussion.

G. Wachtel felt that the rentals should be higher, in order to cover more costs. Peter felt that even though it’s low, a large increase in one shot, would kill the momentum of renters, and repeat renters.

Jon Julian and Steve Levine would like to use the Williamsville Hall for a Produce Pick up on 5/24/08.

Discussion occurred regarding repeat uses for this purpose, as it related to other events on the same day. Also discussed was what type of organization this would be, and the details of how it would work.

Judy Egan stated that the idea seems confusing, asking about the process. It was explained that there would be a process, of people ordering what they want on Wednesday, the group purchasing what was ordered, and delivering on Saturday. There would be no profit to the group.

Liability issues were discussed, as well. The group would not pay rent for the hall, as it is a non-profit group.

J. Mandell made a motion to approve the use of the Hall for either May 24, 2008 or May 31, 2008, to sell produce. Seconded by G. Wachtel. J. Mandell called the question. 4 in favor. G. Katz opposed. Motion passes.

Discussion ensued regarding expenditures at the Hall, as well as income. The Hall Committee is working on ideas for budgeting and cost saving, however Steve Levine found the information from the Treasurer confusing, and wasn’t able to come up with any ideas from the information provided.

Discussion regarding donations that have been made in the past: Numerous donations have been made and the donors are still unsure where the donations were applied to.

As the 24th is Memorial Day weekend, the date for the Produce Pick Up was moved the date to the 31st from the 24th.

Animal Control: Carol Destromp asked if the board had planned to attend the Sheriff’s Department meeting regarding coordination of animal control. The board noted that they had forwarded the information to the Animal Control Officer, Kevin Behan, and will follow up with him.

Fire Inspection: Judy Egan asked about the status of the inspection done of the Williamsville Hall. The board received a typed-up version of the written notes taken at the inspection, but had not received the official results that included next steps. Shannon will follow up with the Fire Inspector.


South Wardsboro Junk Ordinance Violation: The board went over correspondence from Administrative Assistant, S. Meckle, outlining her conversation with the property owners, and decided to table the issue until the property owners could attend. Shannon will contact the attorney to update her and find out what the court schedule is.

Conflict of Interest/Rules of Procedure for Selectboards: Tabled until next meeting.

Guy Wachtel made a motion to enter Executive Session to discuss litigation relating to a Real Estate Matter. Jeff Gouger seconded the motion. The matter falls under the first provision of the Open Meeting Law’s reasons for Executive Session. The vote was unanimous, and the board entered Executive Session at 9:45 p.m.

Peter Rysz made a motion to come out of Executive Session at 10:05 p.m. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. Unanimous.

Peter Rysz made a motion to authorize Jeff to represent the board in discussing this matter with Laurie Rowell. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.



Letter received from Kim Friedman and Deb Feiner regarding Williamsville Hall Use: Shannon will acknowledge and thank them for their letter.

Certificate of Highway Mileage received from State of Vermont. Todd to review and concur.

Memo from Brad James regarding budgeting received. No action taken.

Transportation Enhancement Grants package received. Guy Wachtel will review.

10. PAY ORDERS: – Guy Wachtel made a motion to approve the pay orders as follows. Peter Rysz seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Pay Orders: 05/16/08 - $111,421.51
Payroll: 05/16/08 - $109.30 IRS Electronic Payment: 05/21/08 - $27.80
05/07/08 - $2,815.85 05/21/08 - $893.83
05/14/08 - $2,769.72 05/14/08 - $904.22


Motion was made by Guy Wachtel and seconded by Peter Rysz to adjourn the meeting at 10:20 p.m. Unanimous.

Respectfully Submitted,
Shannon Meckle

Posted: Town Clerk's Office, Newfane Store, W.W. Building Supply,
S. Newfane/Williamsville Post Office and the South Newfane General Store & Deli.
(after approval)

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