(Editor’s comments within the parenthesis–After the last public meeting it became obvious that not permitting public comments or questions during this “working meeting of the Town Board” had severe drawbacks. At the last “official” meeting the Town Board ended up voting to remove the money amounts from the Town Code procurement policy — this was a good idea to remove the costs, which change with the market, and I applaud this. But the vote was taken before the second policy to accept this new procurement had been changed from a form which included two contradictory paragraphs. Nobody at the public speaking town board defended the paragraphs: after a taxpayer (Bill McCabe) pointed out the contradiction, Ms. Maas said yes, Councilperson Kelly (who was absent from the work meeting because of family business) had pointed this out the day before, and yes, it was contradictory. Ms. Maas also stated that the Town lawyer had found two other problems with the wording of the new Code (Ms. Maas did not state what these issues were). Nevertheless the illogical wording was voted on and passed by Ms. Maas, Mr. Walsh, Mr.Fraiser, and-Mr. McMorris — who at least offered a protest but concurred after the others said it could so easily be fixed at a later time. So, this efficient method of pushing things through with little public reaction, has resulted in an efficient process by which to do shoddy work.)
Meeting of the Union Vale Town Board (no public comment was accepted) on June 7, 2018
The first item discussed was the Procurement Policy — which had been approved at the public-are-allowed-to-speak meeting of May 17, 2018. This document which all members present at the time of the vote had agreed was flawed had nevertheless become Town policy with this May 17 vote.
It was agreed by the whole Town Board that current “C” — which the Town Attorney said was not legal — would be stricken and replaced by current “D.”
The language within new “C” was changed from ” lowest bidder” to “lowest responsible bidder.”
Then there was a discussion of language present in the approved bill that said”performance bond” which the attorney felt would be better stated as “irrevocable letter of credit.”
In section “H” on page 5 of the flawed, approved document the Town Bd. agreed to remove wording which said,”not needing to solicit quotations” and require the explanation sheet for the purchase so that such purchase would be consistent with the rest of the policy. The Attorney will revise the wording and it will be voted on in the public -comment- permitted June meeting, now referred to as the “Agenda” meeting.
Next was discussion of the revision of the Employment Manual
Sick Days are now 4; they were 5, and the employees have requested 12; consideration might be given to 6. There is a limit of 32 hours of accrued sick time (4 days). Personal time is for full time people only. Holidays are 11 — employees requested 2 floating days as well.
The Board made it clear that there should be differences in benefits for full time workers, part time workers, and seasonal workers.
The Town could start a deferred payment savings plan, a change in bereavement leave to 3 days, a change from 5, and use the other 2 for vacation, personal, or sick — to be discussed.
Right now a full time person is described as one who works at least 35 or 40 hours per week (depending on job description) year round.
Miss Maas suggested making 32 hours full time, which would expand the number of full-time employees, increase retirement costs, and increase medical costs. The rest of the Board did not concur.
Mr. Frazier pointed out the distinction between elected officials and town employees.
The resolution going forward is to stay at 35 hour minimum for full time status with no floating holidays — so stay with 11 federal holidays. On snow days, people staying at home must use a personal day unless the Supervisor declares an emergency, but there is a specific paragraph in the Handbook to cover various scenarios. The County Executive’s calling an emergency does not apply to Town Employees. This discussion will be continued at the next “work meeting.”
(So….what do you think? Do you think that the presence of non-Board members at these “No Agenda”— no comment meetings would be helpful in creating better legislation and widening the perspective of the Board members? Call or email ALL the Town Board members and let them know.
Betsy Maas email@example.com ; office phone 724-5600
Dave McMorris firstname.lastname@example.org ; phone 845-279-5412
Corrina Kelley email@example.com ; phone724-3126
John Welsh firstname.lastname@example.org ; phone 724-7060
Steven Frazier email@example.com; phone 845-227-8475
Please have your say. Democracy depends on ALL the people being involved.
Thanks for reading, Anne– End of May 2018 minutes of NO-Constituent Input Town Hall Meeting