Selectboard Minutes, 09.11.2023

Monday, September 11, 2023, 6:30 p.m., 236 School Road, Guilford, VT

SELECTBOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Zon Eastes (chair), Verandah Porche, Tara Cheney, Rusty Marine, Michael Becker

STAFF/OFFICIALS PRESENT: Erika Elder (Town Administrator) Sheila Morse (Assistant Town Administrator via zoom) Cathi Wilken (Library Director)

PRESENT IN PERSON: Peter Kelliher (BCTV), Laura Lawson Tucker,  Steve Lembke, Connie Burton, Dolores Clark, John Shaw, Hannah Tustin

PRESENT via ZOOM: Barry Aleshnick, Roger Wilken, Kyle Parker, Anna Klein, Tammy Sargent, James Haine, Jason Herron

Draft Minutes

  1. Call to Order (6:30)
  1. Rules of Procedure (2 minutes)
  1. Welcoming of Public     Community Comment Period (10 minutes)
    Cathi Wilken, Guilford Free Library: There are two eclipses coming up. There are 52 books with eclipses as main characters. Library will have a series of events; getting 500 safety glasses for viewing. October’s annular eclipse will be 20% for Guilford. Planning an event marking our solar system along Guilford Center Road. Full eclipse in April will be at 95%. Also, hotdog roast Sept. 20 4:30 pm.
  1. Changes to Agenda Order 
  1. Approval of Minutes
    1. Minutes of the regular meeting of 08.28.23
      MOTION: Verandah moved and Rusty seconded to approve the minutes  as written. Vote was by voice, all were in favor, none opposed, none abstained. Motion passed.
  1. Updates and Reports
    1. Town Administrator
      Town Office Closed 9.12 and 9.13; BCTV invitation to its Board meeting Sept 13; received DVFiber Audit report. TA codes invoices, Hwy Foreman codes the Highway invoices. Helped a citizen with ARPA application. Conflict of Interest page on the Town website has been updated. Sand bids are in.
    2. Highway Commissioner (not present)
      Erika: Part-time summer hire down to two days per week.
    3. Guilford Free Library
      John Shaw, Library Trustee, reported. Trustees are elected to oversee Library affairs. They work with Friends of the Library. Staff offers book pickup outside of open hours. Public can order books by phone or website. New e-books and audiobooks this year. Energy Committee e-bikes are available to borrow. Reminds everyone of free high-speed wifi access outside the library. Community story scroll started at Guilford Fair is at the  library. Summer Camps  – three weeks this year grades k-8. 40 campers total. Plans to expand offerings for K-2.  Spring fundraising raffle event at Fairground with music by Rear Defrosters was a good time. Winter pen pals had 34 participants. More ongoing programs for adults and kids, new art club. MOU with Town, as recommended by VT Dept of Libraries, is on tap. Will present for approval soon. Will conduct ADA survey for Library. Cathi will retire July ‘24. All expressed gratitude to Cathi. 
  1. Old Business
    1. Conflict of Interest, proposed amendment
      Tara: Proposed changes: Sections E & G added to Article 3. Article 13, Disclosure Questionnaire completed by all town officers. Article 14, recorded as a public document, Article 15, All officers must review VT Ethics Commission chart.
      Discussion: Application; applies to all public officers. Zon feels suggested additional language is redundant. Tara feels it needs to be emphasized and then documented.
      Discussion regarding definition of Public Officer vs. Public Body. Erika: Clarify
      Tara: People don’t want gain or appearance of gain for people on Commissions and Committees. Is proposing all members sign the disclosure form. Zon: VLCT recommends against this. Erika: VLCT points out that everyone is already bound by the policy and signing the disclosure would be an undue barrier to volunteering.
      Verandah: A lot of the same people volunteer. Michael: Agrees with VLCT’s point about discouraging volunteers. Zon: Rather than a financial disclosure, would signing the policy itself be sufficient?
      Tara: Disclosures will become public documents. Verandah: Reflecting: there are people concerned about trustworthiness of Town officials. If people are concerned they should come to the chair of the group. Yes, I want people to feel trust, but these people should talk to the volunteers or try volunteering themselves.
      Article 14, Zon suggests edit to not be in conflict with Public Records Statute.
      Tara: What is the procedure for someone in town to complain about a conflict? Wants community members to have recourse. Zon: Conflicts can be dealt with at the board level. Very different from a citizen bringing a conflict complaint. Tara: If someone filled this out, there are no issues. Supports volunteers. Zon: This amendment should be removed from the suggested edits. Tara: There should be a guideline for bringing complaints and resolving.
      Article 15, Adding another agency’s document to our policy doesn’t make sense. Erika: The chart in question is from VT Ethics Commission, can use VLCT guidance to create similar for Guilford. Make that an addendum to the Policy. Tara: There should be a grievance form. Citizens should be able to file a grievance that would trigger an investigation. Verandah: Who would hear and decide on the grievances?
      Zon: That is the Selectboard’s job. Any citizen can bring complaints to the Selectboard, then appeal in court. 
      Zon: We will set the community resource question aside for tonight. Doesn’t seem like we’re ready to adopt these amendments as they are. Tara: Revisit next meeting. Zon: Erika will work with Tara on proposed Policy amendments. Verandah will check in with various Commission members.
    2. Selectboard relationship with Town attorney: Discussion: Tara would like to be included in correspondence with Town attorney. 
      MOTION: Tara moved to be included in all emailed correspondence with Town attorney, Verandah seconded. 
      MOTION: Zon moved to amend motion to be Chair and one other Selectboard member included in all emailed correspondence with Town attorney. Verandah seconded. Vote was by voice. All were in favor, none opposed, none abstained. Motion passed. 
      Vote on amended Motion to have Chair and one other Selectboard member be included in all emailed correspondence with Town attorney. Jason Herron: Someone does not want Tara to be part of these conversations. Talks about conflicts of interest.
      Vote was by voice. All were in favor, none opposed, none abstained. Motion passed.
      MOTION: Zon moved to appoint Tara to serve in that position. Michael seconded. 
      Steve Lembke: There should be an alternate appointed to this position in case Tara is unavailable. Rusty agrees to be alternate.
      MOTION: Rusty moved to amend to add Rusty as alternate, Zon Seconded. Vote was by voice, all were in favor, none opposed, none abstained. Motion passed.
      Vote on amended motion with Tara as appointee, Rusty as alternate:
      Vote was by voice. All were in favor, none opposed, none abstained. Motion passed.
    3. Potash Road Discontinuation Request: Discontinuation Public Hearing was 9.6.23. SB decided to make its decision in public here. 
      MOTION: Rusty moved to approve discontinuation, Michael seconded. 
      Anna Klein (on previous motion): I try to volunteer. Appreciates Tara’s effort. Disclosures are not a deterrent to volunteering.  Multiple lawsuits are the deterrent. Nothing will ever be enough. How does the town recoup? Definition of conflict of interest needs to be clear.
      Vote was by voice. All were in favor, none opposed, none abstained. Motion passed.
      1. New Business
        1. Capital Improvement Plan
          Zon proposes an informational  public meeting on Oct 16 regarding the Capital Improvement Plan. MOTION: Verandah moved to hold a public meeting about the Capital Improvement Plan on October 16, Rusty seconded. Dolores Clark: Historical Society building is rotting. Selectboard offered assurance about attention to this building.
          Vote was by voice. All were in favor, none opposed, none abstained. Motion passed. 
        2. Property use agreement, radio equipment on Sweet Pond Rd
          Erika: Town has radio equipment for Highway Dept on Sweet Pond Road. Town has been using since 2019 and new landowners request rent payment. Highway foreman agrees $100 per month (plus 5% annually) is acceptable for this. Verandah: wonders if there is another spot, but trusts Danny’s thoughts.
          MOTION: Zon moved for Erika to draw up lease.  Michael seconded. Hannah Tustin, landowner: Took over property in July. Equipment does have impact on our property. Wants a legal agreement for everyone’s protection. Dolores: Is it insured? Michael: Can Erika contact other Towns for similar situations? Tara would offer her land on Abijah Prince to the Town. Vote was by voice. All were in favor, none opposed, none abstained. Motion passed. 
        1.  Finance  (5 minutes; ACTION: Motion)
          • Warrants      
        Payroll – WE 09.03.23$7,392.10
        Payroll – WE 09.10.23$7,776.32
        Expense Warrant #2405$46,536.95
        Expense Warrant #2405V$1,482.87
        Expense Warrant #2405F$65.00

        MOTION: Tara moved to pay the warrants, Zon seconded. Vote was by voice. All were in favor, none opposed, none abstained. Motion passed. 

        1. Other Business (none)
        1. Correspondence (none)
        1. Actions from Previous Meeting
          1. Approved 8.14.23 meeting minutes
          2. Approved Ruck-up date
          3. Approved Warrants
          4. Approved adjustment to an Employee Contract
        1. Action Taken
          1. Approved minutes
          2. Tabled Conflict of Interest amendment discussion
          3. Approved additional Selectboard member added to correspondence with Town Attorney
          4. Appointed Tara to be added to correspondence with Town Attorney, Rusty as alternate
          5. Approved Potash Discontinuation
          6. Approved Oct 16 Public Meeting on Capital Improvement Plan/Asset Management Plan
          7. Authorized terms of Lease for radio equipment
          8. Approved warrants
        1. Actions to be Taken
          1. Conflict of Interest Policy amendments
        1. Adjournment
          MOTION: Rusty moved to adjourn, Verandah seconded. Vote was by voice. All were in favor, none opposed, none abstained. Motion passed. 
          Meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

        Next meeting is 9.25.23 at 6:30 p.m.

        Meeting Video: