Selectmens Meeting Minutes - 6/1/2010
Selectmen’s Meeting
Fuller Meadow School
Nathan Media Center
June 1, 2010
7:30 p.m.

Call to Order:

Chair Chris Lindberg called the meeting to order at 7:37p.m.  

Present:  Mr. Prentakis, Ms. Lindberg, Mrs. Jones, Mr. Houten, Mr. Cresta, and Ira Singer, Town Administrator.

Other’s Present:  Paula Lanfranchi, Acting Recording Secretary.

Administrator’s Report:

  • Mr. Singer asked members of the Board if they were prepared to vote on the minutes of the May 18, 2010 meeting.  N. Jones made a motion to approve the minutes as presented.  Second by T. Houten.  All were in favor and the motion passed unanimously, 5-0-0.
  • Mr. Singer presented a report from the Town Accountant, asking the Board to sign off on certain uncollectable receivables.  He explained that with ambulance billing, some customers pass away, have no insurance or have another reason not to pay.
  • Mr. Singer offered his thanks to A. Vanni, Town Accountant, who recently spent nine hours on a Saturday while the servers were taken down, preserved and reloaded.  It was a lot of work, but a job well done.
  • Mr. Singer mentioned a petition from the residents of Thunder Bridge Lane, submitted by Angelo Trodella.  It was a request for financial assistance for paving a private way.  Mr. Singer responded to him in writing with the requirements for filing for assistance, and a copy of that letter is included in the packet. They want to request half the funding at the next Special Town Meeting, whenever it comes up.  The Board has the prerogative to put this special request for funding on the warrant.
  • Mr. Singer referred to a copy of an e-mail, included in the packet, which offered an update on ERRB legislation.  The Senate adopted the change that the ERRB Board have a full reorganization after receivership, and that the first seat must be a Town Manager or Administrator from a member community.
  • Mr. Singer provided an update on the Howe Manning School Building project. All is on schedule.  Half the foundation is in place, excavation is 75% finished.
  • The Conservation Commission position has been posted.  To date one application has been received.  The deadline is 6/26.
  • C. Lindberg asked to take the opportunity to acknowledge the Memorial Day Parade.  T. Butler did an outstanding job.  It was a beautiful day, the parade was well attended and overall it was a job well done.  She offered her thanks to all who made it happen.
Joint Meeting with School Committee:

Representing the Middleton School Committee were Teresa Buono, Chair, Deirdre Donarumo and Mindy Wogan.  The purpose of the joint meeting was to interview Ms. Tasha Cooper to fill the one year vacancy on the School Committee.  Included in the packet was a copy of her letter of interest and her resume.  T. Buono introduced T. Cooper, and explained that they have been talking for a couple of weeks, and is happy that T. Cooper has expressed an interest.  C. Lindberg asked T. Cooper to tell the Board a little about herself.  Ms. Cooper has lived in Middleton for ten years, has a 1st and 3rd grader.  She is currently serving on the anti-bullying subcommittee and is not someone who volunteers for things lightly.  She was asked if appointed to serve this one year term, would she be willing to run for re-election for another three years.  She responsed yes.  

B. Cresta made a motion to appoint Ms. Tasha Cooper to the vacancy on the School Committee for a one year term.  Second by T. Buono.  All were in favor and the motion passed unanimously, 8-0-0.

Hearing for Class II (Used Car Dealer’s) License Violations:

Mr. Singer asked Rick Bienvenue, Building Commissioner, and Officer Peachey to join the Board at the table.  On behalf of the Police Chief, Officer Peachey was asked to present an incident report dated 5/17/10.  A full copy of the report was included in the packet.

In summary, the report filed by the Police Chief stated that he was asked to investigate possible violations at Middleton Auto Exchange, 184 North Street, Middleton.  He met with owner Michael Hancock and after some inspection, found he was violating the terms of his license with the Town.  Violations included 69 vehicles on the lot, when he is licensed for no more than 60.  He was open on Sundays, which was clearly a violation. Mr. Hancock informed Chief Digi that he would be getting an attorney, and Chief Digi and Officer Peachey both advised him that they were only there to make sure that he is in compliance with his license.  Attached to the packet were photographs of the Hours of Operation sign, numbered cars on the lot, and various others.

R. Bienvenue referred to his memo, which was included in the packet.  The memo stated his opinion that the subject property can be used as a use car lot with a maximum allowed capacity of 60 cars.  There are currently two buildings located on the lot.  One that can be used as an office only, not as a residence as stated in the lease agreement between Kenneth Menard and Michael Hancock, dated September 2009.  The other building is for use as a garage for the purpose of cleaning and polishing vehicles only.

Discussion continued about specific violations to the license, as were observed by Chief Digi, Officer Peachey, R. Beinvenue and R. Comacho.  The Town has been receiving complaints and has a duty to investigate.

Attorney Jill Mann introduced herself on behalf of Michael Hancock.  She stated that the purpose of this evening’s hearing was to show cause why the business should not have its licensed revoked.  She acknowledged that at one point, her client had too many vehicles on the lot, which he didn’t realize, and has since remedied that.  He is in compliance with his license.  His license includes the ability to install radios and detail cars, which is naturally part of the business of a used car business.  She explained that used cars are bought in volume and don’t get inspected until they hit the lot.  Mr. Hancock understands this now, but did not before.

T. Houten reminded Ms. Mann that she was not present at the last meeting when the Board was specifically told no repair work was being done on site.  He is upset about what is being said because the Board is being lied to.  He told Mr. Hancock he should ask the Board for what he wants, be honest, pay the fees for the license and do it right.

B. Cresta, new to the Board, says his position would be that this is the second time Mr. Hancock has come before the Board for violations.  3rd time you’re out.

Mr. Singer referred members of the Board to the Used Car Dealer’s License – Class II as found in the packet.  It clearly states the terms and conditions of the license

Mr. Hancock addressed the Board by assuring them no one lives in the house.  As he stated before, occasionally the lights and television are left on to give the impression someone is living there, as a theft deterrent.  He insisted that he has not gone above the allotted vehicle amount of 60.  He has done some light mechanical repairs, but insists that this is a necessary part of running the used car business.

Mr. Prentakis responded to Mr. Hancock, that he has zero credibility.  He was very angry with Mr. Hancock for not being honest, and applying for the permits he needs.  Mr. Prentakis said that given the nature of this second round of violations, a penalty should be imposed.  It is not appropriate to think about expanding his permit until he’s been penalized for the ones he has already clearly violated.

Ms. Lindberg summarized Mr. Hancock’s actions:  he came before the Board to request a license with certain restrictions, and it was granted.  The second time he came before the Board he was in violation of the terms of his license, which clearly states what he can and cannot do.  The third time, he comes before the Board she is irate at the thought of being lied to again.  Mr. Hancock replied that he wants to be an upstanding business man and feels this situation has gotten way out of hand.  Michael Hancock sr. approached the Board and admitted to light repairs being done on site.  He stated it is impossible to run a used car dealership without the ability to make at least some  light repairs.  T. Houten responded that this gives the appearance of impropriety.

R. Bienvenue stated that he would like to see the tools and lift cleaned out of the garage.  It violates the terms of the lease and would like to see the Hancock’s stick to the rules.

T. Houten suggested a continuance of the Hearing for another 30 days.  If any violations are cited before then, the Board will call a meeting sooner.  No decision would be made for another 30 days to see if Mr. Hancock can comply with the terms of his license.

K. Prentakis stated that there has clearly been a violation, there needs to be a punishment.  Mrs. Jones commented that Mr. Hancock’s father lends some credibility to his case, and she will approve the 30 day continuance reluctantly.  C. Lindberg commented that she does not trust Mr. Hancock, but was happy to see that he took the advice of his father and hired J. Mann as counsel.  R. Bienvenue suggested giving Mr. Hancock 90 or 120 days to make sure he complies with the current license, before you extend any additional uses to him.  B. Cresta furthered that such equipment as specified by the Building Inspector must be removed, including the hydraulic lifts.

T. Houten made a motion to continue the Hearing for 30 days.  Second by B. Cresta.  The motion passed 3-2-0, with K. Prentakis and C. Lindberg casting the opposing votes.

A Hearing date was set for Tuesday, July 13, 2010 where this item will be on the agenda.

Other:

B. Cresta brought to the attention of the Board an issue with bikers tagging specific routes along Middleton for weekend riders.  He’s noticed different clusters appear around town and asked if someone could look into it.  The matter was briefly discussed and Mr. Singer responded that the town would investigate.

Executive Session:

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 39, Section 23 B, Paragraphs (3) Collective Bargaining and (6) Purchase, Exchange, Lease or Value of Real Property, Chair, C. Lindberg called to adjourn the regular meeting of the Board for the purposes of entering into Executive Session, only to re-enter regular session for the purposes of adjourning.

Clerk B. Cresta called for a roll call vote:  Houten – yes; Cresta – yes;  Lindberg – yes; Jones – yes: Prentakis – yes.


At 8:20p.m., Mr. Prentakis made a motion and was seconded by Ms. Lindberg to adjourn the regular session of the meeting.  The motion carried 5-0-0.

At 10:15p.m. Mr. Prentakis made a motion and was seconded by Mr. Houten to return to the regular session of the meeting for the purposes of adjournment.  The motion carried 5-0-0.


___________________________     
Brian Cresta, Clerk
Middleton Board of Selectmen