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Selectmens Meeting Minutes - 01-24-2012
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
January 24th, 2012
7:30 PM
Call to Order – Chairperson Houten called the meeting to order at 7:43.  Present: Mr. Cresta, Ms. Jones, Ms. Lindberg, Mr. Prentakis, and Town Administrator Mr. Singer,
Approval of MinutesMs. Jones made a motion and was seconded by Mr. Prentakis to read and initial the minutes to indicate their acceptance. The motion carried 5-0-0.
Approval of Warrants - The Board approved a Payroll Warrant in the amount of $92,870 and a Payables Warrant in the amount of $263,161, $153,053 of which is purchase of power.  
Town Administrator’s Report
Local Aid – At the MMA Conference, Lt. Governor Murray announced that State Aid will be level funded at $4.1 billion, $833 million of which is directed to Local Aid.  This number may go up by $65 million is there is a surplus.  If there is no surplus, there may actually be a $32,000 cut in Middleton’s aid.  Mandatory spending such as debt service and Medicaid will keep pace with any increase in tax revenue.  Mr. Cresta asked about the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for the Department of Youth Services (DYS) Facility in Middleton.  He would like Middleton’s legislative representatives to come in to talk about the budget.  Mr. Prentakis commented that Jay Gonzalez, Secretary of Administration and Finance said that PILOTs would be level funded.  Mr. Singer said that the Department of Youth Services is planning a $40 million facility in Middleton with a full regional office.  He thinks that should be worth addition PILOT.
Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) Meeting - Ms. Lindberg and Ms. Jones attended the Women Elected Municipal Official (WEMO) luncheon.  The speakers were State Auditor, Suzanne Bump and the head of the State Police, Marion McGovern.  Mr. Cresta attended a session on New Media.
Joint Meeting with Middleton School Committee to Appoint Interim Member through Annual Town Election on May 14, 2012 – School Committee members, Teresa Buono, Tasha Cooper, Maria Scarpa and Mindy Wogan joined the Selectmen.  Tri-Town Superintendent Dr. Bernie Creeden was also present.  There were three applicants for the position:
Lisa Saxonis is a registered nurse who is active in the PTO and the DASH program.  She sometimes fills in as school nurse.  If appointed she would run for the seat in May.
Joan Shea Desmond has a Doctorate in Education and has worked in the field for thirty years including eight years as a school principal.  She is currently the Vice President of North Shore Elder Services and represents children who are in residential facilities awaiting foster homes.  She also stated that she if appointed she would run for the seat in May.  Mr. Houten asked if she would consider the Masco opening and she said that she might.
Dan Michaud works at MIT, where he is the administrator of security systems.  He also stated that if appointed he would run for the seat in May.
        Ms. Cooper asked each of the candidates what there special area of interest would be if selected.  Ms. Saxonis said hers would be wellness.  Ms. Shea-Desmond said curriculum and technology delivery.  Mr. Michaud said anti-bullying.  Ms. Cooper asked Ms. Shea-Desmond if her preference was for the Elementary Committee.  She answered that it was because she has spent her career in elementary education.
        Mr. Prentakis made a motion to place the names of all three candidates in nomination.  Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion and all were in favor.  Mr. Houten asked for a roll call vote.

Ms. Scarpa
Ms. Shea-Desmond
Ms. Buono
Mr. Michaud
Mr. Prentakis
Mr. Michaud
Ms. Jones
Ms. Shea-Desmond
Mr. Houten
Ms. Saxonis
Ms. Lindberg
Ms. Saxonis
Mr. Cresta
Ms. Saxonis
Ms. Wogan
Ms. Saxonis
Ms. Cooper
Ms. Shea-Desmond

        Mr. Singer noted that the statute requires a majority vote.  Mr. Houten asked if the two Boards would agree to make the decision unanimous.  All voted in favor.
Discussion of Venue for Upcoming Presidential Primary and Future Elections
        Dr. Creeden and the School Committee stayed for this discussion.  They were joined by Town Clerk, Sarah George and Police Chief James DiGianvittorio.  Ms. Wogan expressed her opinion that she wished that the elections could be held somewhere besides in one of the Schools.  Chief DiGianvittorio said that there was no other place.
        Ms. George said that the new Howe-Manning only has eight spaces close to the building.  Mr. Cresta appointed out that there is no good place for sign holders outside the 150’ buffer from the polling place. Ms. George added that the Fuller Meadow has the advantage of the long hall where voters can queue to meet the requirement of being in line by the time the polls close.
        The Chief suggested that ways be found to better utilize Fuller Meadow such as having the teachers park at Angelicas and busing them to the school.  Dr. Creeden said that the November election will definitely be a teacher workshop with no students.  The teachers could park at Angelica’s.  He would like to see the cost of the bus be part of the elections budget. Mr. Singer said that he would like the teachers to park off-site for all elections.  Mr. Cresta asked if the CoA vans could be used for transportation.  Mr. Singer said that they could
        Mr. Prentakis made a motion to designate the Fuller Meadow School as the venue for elections.   Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Updates on Police Station Expansion – Chief DiGianvittorio updated the Board on the progress being made in incorporating the modular classrooms into the Police Station.  Building Commissioner Rick Bienvenue was also present. The work has been moving slowly because of other commitments by the North Shore Vocational Technical (NSVT) School.  Some items won’t be begun until spring.  The Chief added that the school does a phenomenal job and he passed out pictures.  He reported the following:
The new front door was shown with its architectural detail.
The plumbing for the bathroom is being done today.
The architect is designing an archway for the front of the building.
There will be a steel reinforced wall in the lobby and a handicapped bathroom.
The lobby area will include a bulletproof window with a pass through tray.
The lobby will be tiled.
The back half of unit will have two offices.
There will be a new dispatch area.
The new sergeant’s office will have three desks and there will be a new interview room.
        The work being done by the NSVT students should be complete in April.  The students have done many jobs around the Town.  They have saved the Town a lot of money and they do great work.  Mr. Bienvenue agreed.
        Ms. Jones asked what was planned for the existing building.  Phase 3 which he will present as a warrant article will include painting and carpeting the inside of the building and taking down the vestibule to open up the inside of the building for new office space
        Mr. Houten asked about the roof.  The chief said it was already done.  A cricket has been installed and the rain water is running off well.  Gutters are needed.  The piping is in place to divert the roof water underground and to the back of the building.
        Ms. Jones asked about the door to the old building.  The chief said that the ramp will be demolished and the old front door will be bricked in.  Landscaping and the archway will hide the blank wall.  A handicapped ramp will be built to access the new entrance.  A new sign will be installed on the side of the building.  It is being designed by the NSVT art department.  The architect is Rick Rice from DiNisco.  They have been very helpful
Review of Proposal by Police Chief to Fill Interim Police Captain’s Position – In view of the fact that the permanent position of Police Captain did not pass at a previous meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Chief DiGianvittorio has come up with a proposal for an interim appointment.  The proposal is in the Selectmen’s packets.  He asks that the Board fill the interim position to give the Department time to get this organizational structure in place.  He first proposed the creation of a Captain’s position in 2006.  It has taken six years to get to this point.
        Mr. Houten asked about training.  The Chief answered that all current sergeants completed a leadership training program at the Station yesterday.  They have also received other leadership training.  Strengths and weaknesses are being assessed and appropriate training set up.     Mr. Houten asked if the money has been allocated for training in the use of Tasers.  The Chief said that he is developing a policy which must be approved by the Board before the grant money can be accessed.  It will then take four to five weeks to get the product.  There is only one vendor approved in Massachusetts to provide the equipment so the Chief had to write a single source letter explaining why the standard three bid requirement could not be met.  When the equipment is in place, the Department is contracting with Peabody for that training.
        Ms. Jones asked about the leadership training.  The Chief described the training session at the station.  He had a command staff meeting.  It involved a 2 ½ hour session on leadership and communication with an outside trainer.  He had another guest lecturer and met with the sergeants.  Each sergeant now has a particular responsibility.  They are traffic, patrol, administration, and community policing and events.  Other officers have also been given specific responsibilities.  These include facilities management, cruiser repair, various instructor roles and court prosecutor.  
        Ms. Jones asked what additional training was planned.  The Chief said that there would be a program on employee communications and leadership at the Revere Police Department.  Mr. Singer added that a training program that meets the needs of both sides would be developed specific to the Captain appointee.  It could be part of the employment contract.
        Mr. Cresta asked how long it would be before the new sergeants were eligible to apply for the Captain’s position.  The Chief said that an individual should have five years in a command staff position.  Two of the sergeants have been in their current positions for less than a year
        Mr. Houten asked the Board what it would like to do.  He said the Chief is looking for direction.  Ms. Lindberg said that she felt that the Board gave the Chief direction the last time this was brought up and that that direction was that it is not going to fill the position at this time.
        The Chief said he is only asking for what every other Police Department and every other Department in this Town has, a second-in-command to make the organization run more smoothly.  Mr. Houten asked if anything would change the Board’s mind.  Mr. Cresta responded that the reasons for his no vote remain.  He continues to support training.  Ms. Jones said that she thinks it is a good idea to continue training but she would like to evaluate the outcome of the training.  She does not want to make an appointment and not feel comfortable with it.
        Mr. Houten said he feels training should be specific to the needs of the candidate.  He doesn’t see the point of the Town spending money for training that a particular individual may not need.  Mr. Prentakis asked the Board if the vote would change depending on the candidate successfully completing the training.  Ms. Lindberg said that there is a difference between successfully completing the training and utilizing it in the day to day operations of the job.  The Chief disagreed.  He works everyday with the candidates and he knows who is qualified to be Captain.  His opinion was reinforced by the assessment center.
        Mr. Houten asked if the Board was spinning its wheels.  If it doesn’t matter what the outcome of the training is, then we should know that.  Ms. Lindberg said that training should not be to get a promotion.  It should be on-going.  Mr. Houten disagreed saying that training should be specific to the job.  If the Board wants someone to be a Captain then they need specific training.  He wants to know if this is a dead-end.
        Ms. Lindberg said that a sergeant could be called upon to be interim chief if the Chief is away.  Mr. Houten said that he believes the Chief would say he knows what training his individual officers need.  The Chief wished to state for the record that the person he has is fully qualified to be Captain.  Additional training is always good but the candidate is already fully qualified.
        Ms. Jones said that she would not say never but the Board needs to be able to evaluate the candidate.  The Chief responded that that is in the proposal.  Again, she said that she is reluctant to give the promotion with the possibility of taking it back.  Mr. Houten asked what the Board should do.
        Ms. Jones suggested coming back in six months.
        Mr. Cresta said that the Board is the appointing authority but does not get involved in the day-to-day operations of the department.  The Board took a vote less than a month ago.  Nothing has changed.  He also will not say never but as of tonight it is still no.
        Mr. Houten asked where should the Board go from here.  Mr. Cresta said that the Chief has four sergeants who can fill in for him if needed.  That is the process today.  Ms. Lindberg said that if the position of captain is that important and the Board has decided that the candidate proposed is not to be appointed, then he should look outside the department.  The Chief countered that he has a qualified candidate in-house and hiring from the outside would add $100,000 to his budget.
        Mr. Cresta does not want to go outside the department.  He asked if the Chief could have made the decision without the assessment center.  The Chief said yes but he wanted to give the benefit of the doubt to both candidates.  He has always said that he would work with whoever rose to the top during the assessment process.  Mr. Singer added that the assessment process was an opportunity for a full evaluation of both candidates identifying their strengths and weaknesses.  He feels that is was a very positive experience for all.
        Mr. Singer went on to say that this was an opportunity to appoint an interim captain and to step back and make sure that was the right choice.  The proposal includes an evaluation part way through the process.  It provides the chance to step back and see where things are going while moving forward with the new department structure.  However, this seems to be at a deadlock and he does not feel that the Board should belabor the point. Perhaps there could be further discussion during the budget process.
        Mr. Houten asked if the Board would like to review the matter in six months.  Mr. Prentakis replied that it only makes sense to review the issue in six months if something could happen to change someone’s mind.  The Board should explain to the Chief what would have to happen to change the Board’s vote.
        Mr. Houten said that if the Chief proposed certain training and the Board approved of that training, would the successful completion of said training make a difference.
        Ms. Jones said that there would have to be training plus a certain amount of time to show implementation of that training.
        Mr. Prentakis said that he would be open to that.
        Ms. Lindberg said that her concern is that the Chief says he has a candidate who is qualified now.  She feels that there are issues with the candidate that she has had in her own experience and that have been brought to her attention by others.  The Chief said that that was hearsay and that any issues should be brought to him.  Mr. Singer added that the employment contract could concentrate on those leadership and communication issues.  No one will want to continue something that is not working.  The purpose of the interim appointment was to move forward, to satisfy the appointing authority and to give the candidate the opportunity to develop skills.
        Mr. Cresta said that he knows what his vote is today but he cannot tell what it will be in the future.  He has many of the same concerns as Ms. Lindberg.
        Mr. Cresta brought up the fact that he had heard from a resident that had no ties to the department that the Chief had sent out an e-mail to the Police Department complaining about the Boards failure to follow the recommendation of the Assessment Center.  The Chief said he had meant that e-mail to remain in-house.  Mr. Cresta expressed his opinion that the Chief had a morale problem in his Department.
        Chief DiGianvittorio withdrew the proposal to appoint a Captain in the Police Department and indicated that he would come back when he felt that there was a chance of appointing the most qualified candidate.
Other Business
        Mr. Prentakis brought up the issue of the combined NSVT/Essex Agricultural School opening in 2014.  He would like to make sure that the Town plays a role in the disposal of the NSVT facility.  
        Mr. Singer reported that had received a call from the Superintendent about the possibility of the combined school using a portion of the 10 acres of the site to store their school buses.  Mr. Singer expressed his opposition to that plan which would bring traffic but no tax revenue to the Town.  Before the NSVT moved there in the mid ‘80s, the property brought in $100,000 a year in tax revenue and employed 220 workers.  The legislation creating the district includes a provision that the property be sold when it is no longer used as a school.  The members of the district and the Massachusetts School Building Authority also have the expectation that the sale price of the property ($5 -6 million) will be used to reduce the debt service.
        Mr. Prentakis added that the Town should work with the School cCmmittee when it is time to sell the property.  The Town might consider offering tax incentives to businesses that it wishes to encourage to come to Middleton.
Adjournment – Ms. Jones made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion and all were in favor.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:32.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary