Editorial Preface: Before you read about what went on at this meeting, I’d like to highlight what did not happen and preface that information with a summary of a motion which occurred after the Public Comment about Town issues section of the Official Town Board Meeting of last month, June 21, 2018.
As the 6. 21. 18 meeting of the Union Vale Town Board ended, Supervisor Maas brought up the fact the the Contract with Mid-Hudson library was again a topic. The Mid-Hudson Library Association had sent a letter to the Town asking the Town of Union Vale to respond to the three year contract proposed by the Association. Ms. Maas asked what written response the Town Board wished to give. Mr. Welsh suggested sending a written record of the results of the Library Steering Committee of last year. Ms. Maas agreed, saying that the Association could have seen that on YouTube but that Mr. Welsh’s suggestion was good: a written response. Ms. Kelley suggested that the Association was familiar with the response, having seen in on YouTube, and that she wished to proceed to the question of signing the contract for three years because the Town had nothing to offer as a replacement library right now. Further Ms. Kelley pointed out that 75% of those responding to the survey were in favor of paying the library dues. Ms. Maas said that not everyone had returned the survey, but Ms. Kelley countered that an11% response rate was a decent return rate on 188 responses. Mr. Walsh agreed. Ms. Maas still resisted and said not everyone responded and wanted to honor the work of the committee.
Mr. Welsh said the prior Board had not given any final response to the Standing Committee. Ms. Kelley reminded Mr. Welsh that he had given the response saying, “Now is not the time to deal with this.” Mr. Welsh then agreed he had said that comment at the meeting last year as Ms. Kelley remembered, and then this evening (6.21.18) Mr. Walsh added,” Now is the time.”
Mr. Frazier said it had been some time since he had read that work and wanted time to do so.
Mr. McMorris suggested that this topic be the subject of the next workshop meeting to be voted on at the next Official Meeting.
Mr. Frazier made a motion to table the question of what written response to send and to have all review the document and take it up at the next meeting. Ms. Maas said “We’ll bring it up at the Work Session ( 7.5.18) as well. Actually bring copies of what was delivered before.” Mr. Frazier said,”Right,” and that a comparison of the two could then be made. All of these quotations can be checked on the Youtube video of the June 21,2018, Union Vale Town Board Meeting which when I checked last were still on the home page of unionvaleny.us
This conversation is important because at the Work Session on July 5, 2018 ( referred to by Mr. Frazier and Ms. Maas as a time to “bring it [the library issue] up) the library issue was not fully discussed.
The audio bar right above this part of the text works as any such insert would. Hit the arrow, and it will play a section of the ending of the work session July 5, 2018 Town Board meeting, all of which we have recorded as per NYS open meetings law. The first speaker is a member of the public.The response comes from Supervisor Maas. The second member of the public is me (Anne McCabe). Councilman Frazier is the male voice.
Work Session Meeting of July 5, 2018: Ms. Maas pointed out that it was almost 10:00 pm. Then Ms. Kelley asked whether the Committee would discuss the library situation at that point. This was after the commercial sign policy, the employee manual, the Town Center master plan, the awarding of either lesser priced pool passes or recycling center passes to member of the Fire Dept., and the credit card policy were discussed. Ms. Maas said that it was too late. Members of the public questioned why this Work Meeting did not fully discuss the library. Mr. Frazier said there was to be no public comment, (Ms. Kelley reminded him that Ms. Maas had said at the 6.21.18 Town Board Meeting that public comments would be accepted), and Ms. Maas said that just because some members of the public had come to this meeting did not mean it would be discussed at this meeting and why would the public think this might happen. I and another member of the public referred to the Official Town Bd. Meeting and what was said there as our reason for believing that the Town Bd. would do as it had promised.
Before this happened at the July 5, 2018 Work Session, almost two and a half hours were spent on other topics. So here is the meeting as it unfolded.
Union Vale Town Board Work-Session Meeting of July 5, 2018
Although I checked the clock when I arrived at 7:28, it appeared that the Town business discussion among the Board Members had begun before I arrived.
- Question by Mr. Welsh: Must the policy be approved by NYS? Mr. McMorris said that the visibility issue was itself worth checking with NYS.
- Square footage of the size was confusing since there was an apparent inconsistency with the one-sided–two-sided sign issue. All agreed this should be further researched. Mr.Frazier and Ms. Maas had a rather long discussion of this between them.
- Mr. Frazier said that electronic signs are the future, and the policy should recognize this.
- Questions of illumination intensity of the sign, time of day, ability to change messages were all good questions which were discussed. Ms. Maas said she would let the Planning Board do its work and then look at their results She also suggested a sign company present to the Board.
- Mr. McMorris said there was a FEMA grant for some types of signs that should be considered.
- The need to define terms was agreed upon by the Board.
- Free Speech and signs was also discussed.
- Ms. Maas said the Board will write the document, discuss it again, and send it to the Planning Board, then to the Town Lawyer, and then to the Town Code Enforcer.
EMPLOYEE MANUAL UPDATE
- Mrs. Kelley presented this and addressed a concern Ms. Maas had brought up at a prior meeting regarding defining a full time employee as one who works fewer than 40 hours. Ms. Maas said she would consider defining full time as one who worked 32 or 35 hours because Ms. Maas felt their were not many extras that such employment cost the town. Ms. Kelley said that there were some, but that having a pay check service might make it easier to break down benefits according to actual hours worked. Ms. Maas said that it took ten years of working for the town as a full time employee to gain retirement benefits and that she did not see this as being a problem “on the horizon.”
- Seasonal employees — these employees do not have the same benefits as part time year round of full time employees.
- Sick bank discussion for full time employees was addressed and discussed. Ms. Maas dismissed the idea of having employees work as managers of this bank. I raised my hand to share my involvement with a sick bank where I had worked and pointed out that since the days available came from the employees and not the employer, the board deciding who should be eligible and to what degree eligible for such days should appropriately be employees voted on by other employees. She thanked me and then more discussion ensued.
TOWN CENTER AND THE MASTER PLAN
No particular issue with this was brought up, but Ms. Maas introduced the topic and the Board seemed to remark on bits and pieces with the idea that more discussion would occur later. Mr. McCabe, who had worked on this issue before, and Mr. Welsh both said there were records which the Town Historian Fran Wallin might have. No member seemed to have been assigned this topic.
CREDIT CARD POLICY
Ms. Kelley pointed out that there seemed to be an inconsistency in some phrasing that granted the Supervisor permission to issue credit cards — even to part time workers — without the consent of the rest of the Board. Ms. Maas seemed not to understand Ms. Kelley’s point and argued a point not under discussion. Ms. Kelley again tried to focus the issue to the language in the document at hand which said that the Supervisor operating alone could issue such credit cards, although the Town Board as a whole had to approve budgets and transfer of funds. Ms. Kelley suggested the language should read the Town Board. Mr. Frasier appeared to agree, pointing out that Supervisor Maas had used the pronoun “we” when speaking of some aspects of financial management. Ms. Kelley asked whether Ms. Maas had issued a Town credit card to a part time employee, who by virtue of that status was not vested by the Town. Ms. Maas did not deny doing this but said Ms. Kelley should call Ms. Maas if she wanted to know more. Ms. Kelley said she believed that the Supervisor should act with the Town Board on these matters and should always issue reports and summaries of significant actions taken such as the meeting between Ms. Maas and the Parks and Recreation Departments. There was no written record of that meeting. At this Ms. Maas became extremely agitated and raising her voice told Ms. Kelley that Ms. Kelley needed to call her more often. Ms. Kelley concluded by saying she found zero transparency in Ms. Kelley’s private meetings. Supervisor Maas insisted that nothing happened without “you guys being informed.” Ms. Kelley’s point was that at least two events: the meeting with Parks and Recreation and the issuance of the credit card did happen without the Board being informed. Supervisor Maas seemed very upset, and said it’s 10:00.
Ms. Kelley said,” Are we going to discuss the library now?”
Ms. Maas said,”No, no, no. Mr. Frazier said,” I’m not prepared to discuss it tonight.” And then two (I was one) of the members of the public spoke. That is the sound bar you can play above.
Then Mr. Frazier brought up the obsolete nature of the air conditioning system at Town Hall. At the next meeting he recommends a resolution for a plan to modernized the heating and air conditioning system.
Ms. Maas said that Jake had talked about the need to update six infrastructure issues. Mr. McMorris spoke about the long range cost saving nature of geo-thermal energy.
Mr. Maas said that there are three grants that Jake is looking at. Ms. Kelley and Mr. McMorris said they concurred with Mr. Frazier that numbers for each project needed to be assembled. Some solar energy companies are approaching residents about reduced rate power.
Then Ms. Maas said, “I would never say this in public….( Supervisor Maas should have been fully aware that four members of the public were still very obviously in attendance) you (These remarks were addressed to the other four Town Board Members) are not coming around. You’re not doing extra work…I know you guys mean well, but you’re not doing extra work.”
Ms. Kelley said that she had donated an entire day of being down on the park on Home School Day, and to her knowledge was the only one. Then as Ms. Kelley continued, the Supervisor cut her off reiterating that more work needed to be done and ending with ….”Good Night…” as she picked up her materials and unceremoniously left.
These are the people to call regarding their work on the Town Board: For best results, call all or email all members.
Betsy Maas email: email@example.com ; office phone 724-5600
Dave McMorris-email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; phone 845-279-5412
Corrina Kelley -email:email@example.com ; phone724-3126
John Welsh -email:firstname.lastname@example.org ; phone 724-7060
Steven Frazier-email: email@example.com; phone 845-227-8475
Please have your say. Democracy depends on ALL the people being involved.