Selectmens Meeting Minutes - 7/26/2011
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
July 26th, 2011
7:30 PM
Call to Order –Chairperson Houten called the meeting to order at 7:30. Present: Ms. Jones, Mr. Prentakis and Town Administrator Mr. Singer.
Approval of Minutes - Mr. Prentakis made a motion and was seconded by Ms. Jones to read and initial the minutes to indicate their acceptance. The motion carried 3-0-0.
Approval of Warrants - The Board approved a Payables Warrant in the amount of $205,165. The Payroll Warrant totaled $99,356. The third warrant was for the New Howe-Manning School and totaled $649,206.
Town Administrator’s Report
School Building Update Mr. Singer reported that the School Building Project is 99% complete. Substantial completion is a week away and then an occupancy permit can be granted. The Town will take possession of the building.
The furnishings are arriving daily. Installation of technology is beginning. The abatement of hazardous material in the old building is complete and the demolition will begin August 1st. The subcontractor will be bringing in the equipment on Friday. On Wednesday, MELD will do a street cut on Central St. to shut off the electricity to the old building.
The plaza in front of the school will be constructed after the building is demolished. The grade from Central St. to the new school is 13 feet. The necessary compaction will cause some noise while school is in session.
The plantings are mostly in. The baseball field is almost complete. The final paving will be complete Friday. Hydro-seeding will be done in mid to late August. The playground equipment is on order, but the play area for the pre-school should be installed for the Open House.
Building Commissioning is underway. This is a service provided through the Massachusetts School Building Commission. The building will definitely be on line for the opening of school.
Other construction projects – The contract for the water main replacement on Wennerberg Rd. has been awarded. The work should be done by September. The old cast iron main on Lake St. also needs replacement.
The upgrade to the Fire Station apparatus floor is out to bid. Bids are due August 11th with work to commence in October or November.
The Regional Emergency Dispatch Center bids will be open in August. This will be overseen by Department of Capital Assets Management (DCAM). The Oversight Committees have been meeting. The Manager’s Committee will be hiring the Executive Director. The Center is expected to be open in fourteen months.
The architect for the new Vocational School has begun meeting with Danvers and would like to meet with the Middleton Design Review Committee. Gilbane is the chosen general contractor and the architect is Cambridge Design Partnership. The construction should take Page 2 of 4
about eighteen months. Mr. Prentakis asked about the disposition of the old North Shore Vocational School property. He suggested encouraging potential buyers. Mr. Singer said that the sale of the building is probably two years away.
There have been complaints about the slow progress of repaving Liberty St. after the utilities were brought to the new sub-division. The trench is still not filled in and paved.
The Building Commissioner is working to improve documents available to the public. Special Permit and variance applications with their instructions will be available online Applicants will be able to get a head start before meeting with the Building Commissioner.
Appointment to the Middleton Cultural Council – Mr. Houten read a letter from Ms. Claudia Giustra expressing her interest in serving on the Middleton Cultural Council.
Ms. Jones made a motion to appoint Ms. Claudia Giustra to the Middleton Cultural Council for a three year term ending in 2014. Mr. Prentakis seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Appointment to the Zoning Board of Appeals – There is a vacancy on the Zoning Board of Appeals so one of the alternates can be appointed as a regular member. There are two applicants, Mr. Gregory Hartwell and Mr. James Fox.
Mr. Prentakis made a motion to appoint Mr. Gregory Hartwell as a full member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor. Mr. Fox will remain an alternate.
There are two applicants for the vacant alternate position. They are Mr. Jeff Garber and Mr. Anthony Pesce.
Ms. Jones made a motion to nominate both Mr. Pesce and Mr. Garber. Mr. Prentakis seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Mr. Houten called for a vote:
Mr. Prentakis voted for Mr. Garber
Ms. Jones voted for Mr. Garber.
Mr. Houten voted for Mr. Garber.
Mr. Garber is appointed as an alternate to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Approve and Sign Deed for Conservation Land Donation Known as “Riverview Parcel A” – Attorney Jill Mann represented Riverview Industrial Park, LLC. She passed out plans of the land in question. Mr. DiGiorgio is donating the land surrounding the Riverview Industrial Park. It includes a pond with abundant wildlife. There is a conservation restriction on the land. Motorized vehicles are prohibited. It is very walkable and can be accessed from Lonergin Rd.
The deed is to the Town but is placed in conservation and is applicable in perpetuity because the Conservation Commission signed off on it. Attorney Mann is seeking the Board of Selectmen’s approval of the conservation restriction after which she will register the restriction with the Registry of Deeds.
Mr. Prentakis asked if there had been a 21E study. Ms. Mann said that it was determined that there was no need. The land is undisturbed except for some scouring dating from when the area was graveled for fill for Logan Airport. Mr. Singer added that the land is contiguous with Page 3 of 4
the old landfill, which is now capped. The previous owner, Mr. Klosowski had done a lot of remediation. This completes a corridor of public ownership along the River connecting with land owned by the Town of Danvers, Essex County Greenbelt, and the Town of Middleton.
Mr. Prentakis asked if the taxes were up to date. Ms. Mann said they were.
Mr. Prentakis made a motion to accept the donation of the land known as “Riverview Parcel A” subject to taxes being paid up to the date of transfer. Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Review of Recent and Proposed Changes at the Essex Regional Retirement System (ERRS) since Adoption of Legislation Restructuring the Board and the District – Mr. Singer noted that the Selectmen’s packet contained a slide presentation which was made to the Advisory Council which consists of the 48 entities that are members of ERRs. Mr. Singer recapped the troubled history of the Board over the past few years. ERRS was found to have serious deficiencies including:
failure to reconcile accounts
failure to list transactions in the General ledger
failure to bid competitively for services
violations of the Open Meeting Laws,
and unauthorized wire transfers.
In February of 2010, Andrew Maylor, Town Manager of Swampscott was appointed chair of the Board of Directors. Along with Town Treasurer Kevin Mertz of Ipswich, he guided the System through a difficult transition and oversaw the day to day operations. A state appointed receiver attended all Board meetings and checked in on the daily operations. Mr. Singer was then elected as Vice-Chair and as of January 2011, the Board was filled out by the election of two representatives of the retirees, both of who bring extensive background in municipal finance.
The new Board began the task of hiring a new Executive Director. After an extensive search, Mr. Charles Kostro was hired. He brings extensive experience in state and local government having served as Town Administrator in West Newbury and as an Assistant Transportation Commissioner in both Massachusetts and Maryland. He immediately began, under the supervision of the Board of Directors, to implement changes as noted in the handout. Among the changes that were made are:
Agency credit cards have now been eliminated.
Travel will now be required to be pre-authorized.
The Executive Director’s salary is now in line with industry standards.
All bidding will be in compliance with State bidding laws.
A number of part-time positions that did not have well-defined responsibilities have been consolidated into full-time positions.
Work hours have been normalized.
Compensatory time has been eliminated.
Paid holidays have been brought in line with other agencies.
The Board of Directors is receiving monthly budget and expenditure reports.
Ongoing projects are the development of an employee handbook and of a Request for Proposals for Banking Services. Investment responsibilities have been for the most part turned Page 4 of 4
over to the State Retirement System. Complete transfer of assets will take up to seven years because there are real estate trusts in the portfolio.
Mr. Kostro and Mr. Maylor would like to come to a Selectmen’s meeting to answer any questions. Mr. Singer will schedule it for September. Mr. Singer added that the Retirement System is fortunate to have a knowledgeable and pro-active Board that understands their responsibilities.
Other Business – Mr. Prentakis asked about the status of the design process for the Lois Lane property and the Town Common. Mr. Singer said he would have a draft RFP by the next meeting.
Executive Session – Chairman Houten announced that the Board would be going into Executive Session under MGL Chapter 39, 23B, Paragraph 6 (to consider the purchase, exchange, taking, lease, or value of real property) and that the Board would not be coming back into open session. Mr. Prentakis voted yes. Ms. Jones voted yes. Mr. Houten voted yes. It was noted that Mr. Robert Murphy, Custodian of Town Lands would be present for the Executive Session.
Adjournment – The regular meeting was adjourned at 8:36.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin, Acting Recording Secretary