Thetford Select Board Meeting


February 9, 2004

Present: Paul Raymond, Mary Spata, Mike Brown, Mark McMahon, Rick Barrows (7pm), Marilyn Cook (clerk)

Guests: Steve Ingalls, Tim Gibbs- Road Foreman, Allison Rogers- Reporter for Connecticut Valley Spectator

Agenda- Road Foreman, Sara Ferguson, Policing, Final Budget Review, Animal Control Officer, Newsletter

The meeting was called to order at 6:36 pm.

Motion to enter Executive Session at 6:38 pm with Tim Gibbs to discuss personnel matters. (Brown/Spata) Unanimous.

Motion to end Executive Session at 7:15 pm. (Spata/Brown) Unanimous.

Mr. Gibbs left the meeting at 7:15 pm.

Steve Ingalls spoke about his concern of possible over-use of executive session and the open meeting laws. Mr. Ingalls feels that issues or accusations are reflected in the minutes, but resolutions of issues are not recorded. The Selectboard responded to Mr. Ingalls concerns by addressing the need for confidentiality of personnel issues; some of the other issues raised are yet to be resolved and therefore are not in the minutes. The Selectboard prefers to have open meetings and desires community participation. Selectboard thanked Mr. Ingalls for raising his concerns.

Mark McMahon has met with the Treasurer to establish a timetable for payroll and year-to-date budget reports.

Mr. Ingalls requested information about availability of meeting minutes and associated costs. Copies are made available to the public at the cost to produce them. Approved minutes are also available on the Internet at

Motion to approve the minutes of February 2, 2004, as amended. (Spata/Barrows) Unanimous.

Policing- Mr. McMahon is scheduled to meet with the Norwich Police Chief to discuss interim plans during the vacancy of Police Chief position. A community search committee will be established. To generate interest, Rick Barrows will post on Topica and talk with former committee members. Mr. Ingalls expressed interest.

Vermont League of Cities and Towns will give a workshop on Drug & Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace on Feb. 18.

Sara Ferguson joined the meeting at 8 pm.

Ms. Ferguson spoke about her thoughts of the role of the Selectboard needing to move from day-to-day operations and questioned the future need for a town manager. She spoke specifically about the need for personnel management and questioned the ability of the liaison role of the Selectboard to provide the necessary support to employees. She feels there are adversarial relationships between the Selectboard and members of town offices. Mr. McMahon described support offered. While interactions and relations can be improved, the need for a town manager is not imminent.

Tracy Borst, Town Clerk joined the meeting at 8:40 pm.

Sara Ferguson left the meeting at 8:42 pm.

A letter from the US Army Corp of Engineers regarding wetlands will be given to the Zoning Office.

Ms. Borst received a letter from Ms. Laurie Ingalls requesting records dating from 2001 to 2004. She was referred to the Secretary of State's office for advisement.

The Selectboard has received a letter of request from Ms. Laurie Ingalls for records concerning litigation. The Selectboard will contact the involved attorneys to determine how to respond to this request. Mr. McMahon has drafted a letter of response. Ms. Borst will maintain a file of eligible electronic e-mails between three or more members of the selectboard for public record. Selectboard members will send copies of these e-mails to Ms. Borst.

The next town newsletter will be distributed after town meeting and will summarize the meeting. Copies of past newsletters will be available at town meeting.

A Candidates' Forum will be held on February 19 at 7:30 pm at Town Hall.

A permit for excess weight limit for Calvin Benjamin was signed by the chair.

Animal Control Officer- There was a citizen complaint about an aggressive and barking dog in Post Mills. The Animal Control Officer did not respond to the call. If he doesn't respond Mr. McMahon will follow up on the incident.

Allison Rogers, Steve Ingalls, and Tracy Borst left the meeting at 9:05 pm.

Mr. McMahon left the meeting at 9:10 pm.

Budget review- A line-by-line review of numbers was completed.

Further discussion of changing the structure of the Town Treasurer position to Town Treasurer/Bookkeeper, resulted in a decision not to move forward at this time.

Town received a letter from Vermont Agency of Transportation regarding subdivision permits on class I or state roads. Paul Raymond will share information on 19VSA 1111 (k) with the Zoning Administrator.

Zoning Administrator will discuss town lighting zoning ordinance at the February 10 planning meeting.

Motion to adjourn at 10:38 pm (Raymond/Spata) Unanimous.

Last Modified 2/2004 by Bill Weyrick