PRESENT: Councilor Cheney, Councilor Friedman, Councilor Michaels, and Councilor Kelly; Town Manager B. Reed, CEO A. Thomas, Assistant Clerk K. Gifford. Police Chief Mark Leonard, Detective Andy Whitehouse, Cpl. John Dall, Fire Chief Gerry Martin, Lt. Scott Kigas, Firefighter Nicholas Sirois, Water District Trustee Jim Parker, Former Fire Chief Sherman Lahaie. Chairman Hathaway was excused.
ITEM 1. The March 18, 2002 Veazie Town Council was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of minutes:
Motion By: Councilor Cheney -to accept March 11, 2002 minutes as written. Seconded: Councilor Michaels, Vote 2-0 in favor. Councilor Friedman and Councilor Kelly abstained from voting due to being absent at the Council meeting. Councilor Michaels pointed out half way down on page 5 that 'almost' should be 'also'.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda: There were no additions made to the agenda.
ITEM 4a. Public Comments: There were no comments from the public.
ITEM 5a. Public Safety Discussion
Manager Reed outlined that the booklet included in the Council packets included a section of all the minutes, a job description and chain of command chart and lastly the results of a survey that was completed by employees in the Police Department, Fire Department and Town office. This served as a brief overview of the meetings that had been held to discuss the concept of a Public Safety Director. Manager Reed stated he found the sessions to be useful to look at the concepts and concerns of everyone and hopefully the Council and committee can move forward from that.
Councilor Friedman stated that what brought this up was safety issues and the four areas of concern; the dam, Bangor Gas distribution facility, Bangor Hydro, and the Electrical sub-station. It would be beneficial to have one full time person in charge of the budget, training and communication. If the position is implemented there will be two deputy chiefs. Councilor Friedman outlined that the deputy fire chief and deputy police chief would be in charge of the technical side and training. The Public Safety Director would have to understand the workings of each department. Training records must be kept, bills need to paid in a timely manner and a budget needs to be
maintained, a director would make sure this was done.
Manager Reed outlined that he has talked with Maine Municipal Association and one of their consultants, Dave Barrett, is willing to work with the Town. The estimated cost is $3,000-$5,000. Manager Reed stated this is a loose estimate however. The cost would be lower due to the existing management structures.
Councilor Michaels stated he hasn't been here long enough to sense a need for a public safety director, however, he did gather that there is a consensus that there is need for administrative coordination. He noted that he did not see the Public Works Department in there, however that may be due to it being under a different scope. If a consultant comes in, they need to give graphical evidence of coordination opportunities and differentiate the controls, administration coordination and the opportunities to make it better.
Councilor Friedman outlined that public safety is police, fire and ambulance and does not include public works.
Manager Reed stated that the public safety director would be the new department head for all four agencies, but the agencies would still stay structured the same way, the big difference would be coordination. Records would be kept in a more timely and effective manner, not that they haven't been in the past. The position would also provide a fire wall on personnel issues for himself. Where the fire chief is part time personnel has approached Manager Reed on issues. A public safety director would provide a full time person for personnel to approach prior to appealing to the Manager. Manager Reed stated he would like to see one person oversee all records of each
department, have organizational problems cleaned up and make all departments an ongoing entity.
Councilor Cheney inquired on whether the deputy chiefs would be full time or part time. Manager Reed stated that the deputy chief for police would be full time, the deputy chief for fire would be part time. Councilor Cheney also inquired on the number of part time and full time officers in the police department. Manager Reed stated there are five full time and five part time. Councilor Cheney asked if the captain of fire would be full time. Manager Reed stated yes.
Councilor Cheney stated Veazie is growing and coordination is needed, however after looking over the minutes there is a sense that the people surveyed were not for it. Councilor Cheney stated she thought this could result in employee turnover.
Manager Reed outlined that he had looked at hiring a full time fire chief, however the two current employees (chief and assistant chief) have full time employment already that pays them more then what the chief's position would pay.
Councilor Cheney inquired on the public safety director having certification in EMT and fire safety. Manager Reed stated it is desired that the public safety director have certification in both police and fire that way they would have working knowledge to understand problems in each department. Manager Reed outlined that graduation from a community or technical college, six years experience in police, FFI and FFII training and a degree in political science was desired.
Councilor Cheney inquired on the salary the Town would be paying for this position. Manager Reed stated it would be in the $40,000 range. Councilor Cheney stated she has heard a lot of citizens say that the Town of Veazie is a small town and it doesn t need a full time fire chief, but now a full time public safety director could be brought in. She feels the Town could take a lot of "flack" on this. Manager Reed pointed out that a full time position in the police department would be eliminated to allow for funding of this position.
Councilor Cheney stated she appreciated Councilor Friedman's participation in the committee and would like to hear input from the other members present. Lt. Scott Kigas stated he hasn't seen the new flowchart but he has a concern with the chain of command. For example, he spoke with Jim Ellis, the Public Safety Director from Holden, and Jim Ellis expressed his concern with the chain, where he would want to talk with an officer but would have to go through the police chief first.
Councilor Kelly stated that in order to implement a public safety director, everyone needs to be on the same 'bandwagon', in other words everyone needs to be for it. Until that happens the position won't get implemented.
Councilor Michaels stated there is no real money crunch, maybe a full time fire chief would be the best way to go. Or perhaps the Town should be looking at a human resource person instead of a director. Councilor Michaels stated he would like to see details in a report on administrative coordination and processes and procedures.
Councilor Friedman stated that the Council has received everything that the committee has talked about. A decision needs to be made on what the next step will be, whether a consultant from MMA will be hired or not. Councilor Michaels stated he felt the Town should get an opinion from a consultant. Councilor Cheney stated she felt there was no harm in bringin in a neutral consultant to get an unbiased opinion. Councilor Kelly stated he felt he wasn't sure things should go that far yet. Councilor Kelly stated he was impressed by the surveys, that fact that two departments couldn't agree on any one question. Councilor Kelly stated he doesn't think a consultant
is going to tell us any different then what is already known.
Councilor Cheney stated she would like to hear more comments on the public safety director concept. Fire Chief Martin stated he has had a problem budget wise, he hasn't had a realistic budget. He stated he invited former fire chief Sherman Lahaie to come and comment.
Former Fire Chief Sherman Lahaie stated that in public safety one of the two departments suffer. There are some valid reasons why Veazie needs a public safety director, but feels Veazie can get by with a part time fire chief without a big hassle if two things take place. In local communities he has seen a lack of care on part time employees by administration to work with department heads. A job is given to someone and it is presumed that they can do the job and they are left on their own. The second issue is that there are a lot of issues with budget and such that need to be looked at. Sherman Lahaie stated that Public Safety as a concept, when it is done right, is great. If a Town is going to have a leader of public safety it locks out fire fighters because of the
criminal justice requirements. Another concern is if a police chief is made public safety director and goes before the Council for the budget, he will be in favor of his department and won't be fair to both departments. Sherman Lahaie stated the management issues should be looked at first.
Councilor Cheney inquired on where the money would come from to pay for the consultant. Manager Reed stated it would come from overlay.
Both Councilor Michaels and Councilor Friedman stated they would like to get a third party's opinion. Councilor Cheney stated she appreciated the packet on the public safety director, the meetings brought out a lot of issues, however was unsure about hiring a consultant.
Councilor Cheney asked Police Chief Mark Leonard if he had any input. Chief Leonard stated over all he has seen the concept of a public safety director work and he has seen it not work. He added that he didn't feel hiring a consultant would hurt any issues.
Councilor Friedman stated that the chiefs were not on the committee because of what Sherman Lahaie discussed, favoritism.
Sherman Lahaie added that the Town needs more of a "factfinder" then a consultant. He stated that the Town has identified some areas of concern, if the Town had a "factfinder" it could find some answers. Councilor Friedman inquired on what Sherman Lahaie meant by a "factfinder". Sherman Lahaie stated that when a consultant is hired, they simply come back with information which is already known. A "factfinder" can address the issues at hand. Councilor Cheney inquired on whether the Town could get someone like that from MMA to come in and work with the Town. Manager Reed stated he could ask MMA. The Council decided to table discussion until it was known whether the Town can get a consultant or "factfinder" from MMA.
ITEM 5b. Municipal Building Discussion
Manager Reed stated enclosed are three options to address, on a long term basis, the Fire Department bay layout. Concerns have been made pertaining to the new fire truck. Manager Reed stated after a meeting with Jim Parker and Allan Thomas, currently option number two is being looked at as most favorable. It is the most moderately priced of the long term plans.
Jim Parker stated the exit would be turned around so the trucks exit the building facing the road. The beams can be modified to fit the truck into the bay. Parking would be improved and the police department would be isolated due to the exits being moved. Another bay would have to be added to fit all the trucks, a small addition to the front of the building to house the rescue vehicle. This small addition wouldn't hinder the police bay entrance. This modification would require the relocation of the generator and electrical circuits. The other option of a side exit would cause the truck to cross on abutting land because of its turning radius. CEO Allan Thomas suggested modifying the island of grass and trees out front so the truck could maneuver in the parking lot
area and not in the road. Manager Reed stated what he is looking for is to move ahead on option two. Jim Parker will redesign the option with specifics as if it were going before a site plan review. For example, additional parking spaces and a possible retaining wall.
Manager Reed pointed out that with a side exit, if you have someone all fired up and they pull out of the fire bay faster then 3-5 mph there could be possible damage done to the building. The front entrance will allow for a driver to pull straight out without having to maneuver a tight turning radius.
James Parker stated that there might be room to put some lockers in after the renovation. There will be a lot more usable space. The location of the generator and electrical circuits still needs to be determined.
Manager Reed explained that during the time of the year this will take place at, it would be reasonable to have the trucks outside for a couple days. Jim Parker stated that the bay can be worked on with the two current trucks in there.
Motion By: Councilor Kelly--for the Town Manager to work with CES and move forward on option Bii, the Veazie Fire Station renovation project. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Vote 4-0 in favor..
ITEM 5c. Manager's Review
Manager Reed stated he included an action list in the Council packets for the Council to review and see where the Town is on certain issues. Councilor Friedman stated he would like to see the Manager's contract changed to three years so an evaluation doesn't need to take place every year. All the Councilors were in agreement on this idea. It will add continuity and it will allow the Town Manager to keep focus on plans. Councilor Friedman pointed out that both the principal and the superintendent have three year contracts.
ITEM 6a. Manager Reed brought up the International Foundation Institute on Investments conference again to the Council. Councilor Friedman stated he thought it would be beneficial to the Town for the Town Manager to attend the conference. Councilor Kelly inquired on why MMA wouldn't be paying for the expenses. Manager Reed stated a lot of other people applied for assistance. Councilor Cheney inquired on the cost of the conference. Manager Reed stated it would cost $800 for the class, $400 for the flight and a room would cost $99 a night. Manager Reed pointed out that the Casco Bay Developer account does allow us to collect a management fee of $2,000 a year to debit for this. Manager Reed also
pointed out that MMA is allowing him to use his trustee number which gives him a discount on the class fee.
Motion By: Councilor Kelly--to allow the Town Manager to attend the International Foundation Institute conference. Seconded, Councilor Michaels, Voted 4-0 in favor.
ITEM 7. Manager's Report:
7a. Please find enclosed a copy of the Sewer District's assessment. As you will note the assessment increased a great deal from $75,000 last year to $100,000 this fiscal year. This will be addressed in the future. The Sewer District also didn't get back to the Town on the proposal it submitted.
7b. Please find enclosed a copy of the Investment Institute. As noted in past discussions the Town Manager has attended ICMA conferences and the International Foundation conferences in the past. As the Council will note, the Investment Institute looks to be very informative and since the Town is investing some 4 to 7 million dollars at any point in time the Manager believes it will be very helpful to the community in the future.
7c. The Maine State revenue service just value form was reviewed. This details that Veazie is at 80% of market value. Manager Reed stated that this means one of two things. CEO Thomas needs to reevaluate values again or the homestead needs to be lowered.
7d. Letter of action sent to William Drinkwater
7e. A memo from Julie Reed pertaining to an outstanding bill that has been resolved after much research by both parties. Manager Reed stated the issue is being addressed.
7f. A FYI - Suntrust purchased our lease purchase from MSG.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information/Council Comments:
CEO A. Thomas stated he viewed the trailer park that Councilor Cheney had mentioned at the prior Council meeting. He stated there were two trouble lots, lot 25 and lot 26. CEO A. Thomas outlined that there were a lot of bicycles however most were operable and there is no law or ordinance against having 4 or so bicycles. He pointed out there was a lot of trash and cars on lot 26, however most of the cars were operable and registered. Councilor Cheney inquired who was the owner of Greystone. CEO Thomas stated William Pontbriant is. Councilor Cheney asked if the Town could write him a letter on these issues. CEO Thomas stated the Town can only write him
a letter on violations, the Town has limited guidelines on cosmetics.
Councilor Michaels mentioned the new police car. Manager Reed stated the Town is looking to return the current police cruiser under the lemon law. Councilor Cheney inquired on how long the Town had the cruiser. Police Chief Mark Leonard stated it has been in possession of the Town less then a year. Chief Leonard stated he believes he has enough documentation to send it back under the lemon law. The power lock system has been lost five times, the transmission has been lost on three different occasions and the car would not operate on 3 different occasions. Councilor Cheney asked if the Town bought the cruiser new. Chief Leonard stated yes. Manager Reed stated the Police Department will be purchasing another car soon.
Councilor Kelly inquired whether the Town budgets for seminars and training. Manager Reed stated the Town use to, but it was deleted from the budget about four years ago. Councilor Friedman recommended it be added back to the budget to allow the Town Manager or the office staff to attend seminars.
Councilor Michaels inquired on the proposed school expansion. Manager Reed stated the school will be taking the subject up at the next school board meeting to decide what the next step is that they want to take. They will then send it forward to the Council to decide on. Discussion by the Council entailed general support for the future needs of the school as long as criteria is set by the School Committee.
Councilor Friedman commented on how well the teacher workshop went. He felt it was really appreciated and he got a lot of good information on enrollment. Councilor Michaels inquired on enrollment and where it stands. Councilor Friedman outlined that the school couldn't get a hold on it. It is constantly changing with the transition of housing stock. With the building of the senior housing project, houses will be freed up for younger families to move in. This will increase enrollment.
Manager Reed outlined that the school board wants to have a design done so down the road when problems arise they will be already to build in a six month window. Councilor Michaels stated he would like more information at the next meeting.
Councilor Cheney commented on the Chase Road entrance into Veazie. She stated something needs to be done to fix the pavement, it is one of the major entrances to the Town.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 20 & 20A were circulated and signed.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor Kelly--to adjourn March 18, 2002, Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Cheney, Voted 5-0 in favor. There was no further discussion. Meeting adjourned.