Weston board ponders updated hazard plan

Town Treasurer and Clerk Kim Seymour. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Weston Town Clerk Kim Seymour told the board on Tuesday, Feb. 11 that she has applied for a $7,200 grant from FEMA that requires a $2,500 match from the town to conduct a survey to update the town’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan.

However, she said she doesn’t know who in town will “run with it” to conduct the survey and write the plan.

Seymour also said she will get pricing information from the UniFirst Corp, to provide uniforms for the road crew and floor mats for the Town Office building. She had expressed dissatisfaction at the Jan. 28 board meeting with the current vendor, whose contract runs out in late March.

Board chair Denis Benson asked for the pricing data to be available by Feb. 25.

Seymour said she has put her name as the contact on the contract with Stantec, which tests water for the Little School, until a new administrative assistant is appointed.  Cheryl Barker, the previous administrative assistant retired late last year. Seymour also said the $4,500 contract the board signed for water testing actually should have been signed by the Little School. She was told that the board is only responsible for emergencies and “weird” things for which a new contract will be provided.

The Weston Select Board tables discussion on the Census survey.

Further discussion of the U.S. Census Boundary and Annexation Survey was tabled until the board can get more information. At the previous meeting the board had approved maps provided but Seymour said the Windham Regional Commission had indicated there are discrepancies.

Open Meeting law discussion continues

And finally, Bruce Frauman of The Chester Telegraph distributed to the board copies of a handout from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns on the Vermont Open Meeting Law,  including a section on when it is proper to hold executive sessions.

The action was prompted by an executive session at the Jan. 28 Weston Select Board meeting. In an article on Feb. 4, The Telegraph reported that the board’s previously warned executive session violated the law when members tabled a discussion and returned to it in a closed door session on the agenda as “personnel.” Board member Jim Linville, however, during the Jan. 28 meeting, moved to go into executive session for “personnel matters.”

In its Feb. 4 article,The Telegraph reported that this was a violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law because there is no blanket “personnel” exemption that allows the board to go into executive session. Nor is there an exemption for “personnel matters.” A public body can, however, go into a closed door session to discuss the appointment, employment, evaluation, discipline or dismissal of a specific public officer or employee.

Board member Ann Fuji’i claims that she was misquoted in a recent article.

During the Feb. 11 meeting, board member Annie Fuji’i contended that she was misquoted in the Feb. 4 article, where she was quoted as saying that the meeting was to discuss a “job description.” Fuji’i had been interviewed on Feb. 5 about the executive session.

On Feb. 11, however, Fuji’i said that she that during the Feb. 5 interview she qualified why they went into executive session and it included discussing the administrative assistant “position” and elaborated that the meeting included “current employees and possible people for that position.”

However, the law does not allow for such “retroactive” clarifications.  Executive sessions must be warned properly from the outset.

Also on Tuesday night, the board approved a job description for the vacant post of Select Board administrative assistant.  Some discussion took place about where to post the description including the Londonderry Community Forum, the town website and The Chester Telegraph.

Editor’s Note: The Chester Telegraph stands behind our Feb. 4 article.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: Latest NewsWeston

About the Author:

RSSComments (1)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Kim Seymour says:

    Just to clarify, the town is not at all unhappy with the service provided by the current supplier of uniforms and floor rugs. We are doing our due diligence on pricing with another company to ensure we still have competitive pricing before the renewal. The Local Hazard Mitigation Plan grant for updating the existing plan is not something newly applied for. I finalized some paperwork required by the State to move the process forward.