7:45 Registration (Northstar Foyer)
8:00 Breakfast (Northstar Foyer)
8:10 Municipal HR Networking Group Meeting (Northstar)
8:55 Attracting and Keeping Municipal Talent in a Tight Market (Northstar)
In the face of low unemployment and a skills shortage, finding and retaining qualified employees has become a nationwide challenge. Vermont and New Hampshire face unemployment rates even lower than those of neighboring states. What can a Vermont municipality do? This session will offer ways to attract qualified candidates and retain your valuable new hires and employees. It will also cover the legal and practical aspects of helping employees return to work safely and productively after a workers’ comp injury or other medical leave. Attendees will come away with new insights and sample forms.
9:00 Attracting Talented Employees
Speaker: Michael Kilfoyle, Principal/Senior Vice President, Hickok & Boardman HR Intelligence
10:00 The Costs of Employee Turnover and How to Improve Retention Through Onboarding
Speaker: Jill Muhr, Senior Human Resources Consultant, VLCT
10:40 Helping Employees Return to Work Safely and Legally
Speaker: Kaveh Shahi, Principal, Cleary, Shahi & Aicher, PC
Panelists: Peggy Gates, Manager, Workers’ Compensation Claims, VLCT; Jill Muhr, Senior Human Resources Consultant, VLCT; Fred Satink, Deputy Director, Underwriting and Loss Control, VLCT
11:30-1:00 Lunch (Preston’s Restaurant)
VLCT 2019 Annual Meeting
At the annual meeting, VLCT members have the opportunity to vote for candidates for the VLCT Board for the next year, hear a report from the executive director about the League’s activities during the past year, and strategize to implement ongoing municipal policy. VLCT’s membership adopted a two-year Municipal Policy in 2018 to address the entire 2019-2020 legislative biennium. Advocacy staff is using time between the two sessions to continue the work begun in 2019 and to develop a strategy to secure wins for Municipal Policy priorities in 2020. There will be significant discussion about refining strategies and determining the best ways to implement them, especially regarding the key priority of municipal self governance.
VLCT needs its members’ experience and enthusiasm to convince legislators to grant the authority to govern your communities – producing the results in public safety, economic and environmental sustainability, recreation, finance, health, and innovation that your constituents expect. Please attend and voice your thoughts about the Municipal Policy in 2020, as well as the other agenda items to come before the membership.
We urge one voting delegate per member city or town to participate. All members are welcome to attend and speak. Non-members may observe and speak when recognized by the group in accordance with VLCT bylaws. The voting delegate form is available to download on the VLCT website, vlct.org.
PACIF and VERB Annual Meetings
It is important that you attend this meeting if your municipality is a member of the Property and Casualty Intermunicipal Fund (PACIF) or the VLCT Employment Resource and Benefits Trust (VERB). As a member and owner, you should take this opportunity to learn about the financial health of each trust, elect officers, and make bylaw changes. VLCT staff will also report on the many programs and services the trusts provide on your behalf. We look forward to seeing you at the meetings!
4:30 Evening Reception and Awards Presentation (Northstar Foyer, Lower Lobby, Courtyard)
8:00-11:00 Registration (Northstar Foyer)
8:00-11:00 Breakfast and Coffee in the Exhibit Hall (Oscar Wilde Ballroom)
8:00-3:30 Visit the Exhibitor Booths (Oscar Wilde Ballroom)
8:30 Create Places People Love with Placemaking (Northstar I)
Do you have a vision for your community or an idea about how you want your community to look, feel, and be experienced, but you aren’t sure how to get there? Making big changes doesn’t always require thousands of dollars and years of work. Learn about AARP’s Creative Placemaking, a hands-on approach to improving public spaces and making communities more livable for people of all ages and abilities. This session will describe the important role that arts and economic development play, and provide tips and tools to implement a demonstration project in your community as well as “recipes” for practical applications in small town settings. Speaker: Kelly Stoddard-Poor, Director of Outreach, AARP VT
8:30 Enforcing Local Ordinances (Northstar II)
Many cities and towns have adopted ordinances to regulate dogs, solid waste, parking, traffic, and other quality of life issues. Enforcing these regulations is critical. This session will review requirements of the civil violation system, including how “enforcement officials” issue municipal tickets and file them with the Judicial Bureau. Best practices, tips for complying with state law governing the process for enforcing civil ordinances, and what to expect when prosecuting a violation will also be covered in this overview.
Speaker: Trevor Whipple, Law Enforcement Consultant, VLCT
8:30 Statewide Contract Partnerships (Gateway I)
Join us for a discussion of the new available contracts (such as Cloud Solutions) and how municipalities can benefit from statewide contracts issued by the Office of Purchasing and Contracting. Speaker: Deborah Damore, Director, Office of Purchasing and Contracting, State of Vermont
8:30 Substance Abuse in Vermont – Addressing Local Concerns (Gateway II)
This session offers a broad overview of substance abuse in Vermont; best practices for prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement; and how to break the cycle of addiction and support long-term recovery. Speakers: Chris Bell, Director, Division of Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Injury Prevention, Vermont Department of Health; Representative, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs, State of Vermont; Cynthia Seivwright, Director, SSA, Vermont Department of Health
8:30 What is a Stormwater Utility and Why Do You Want One? (Escapade I)
Managing a town’s stormwater is a growing challenge for local governments. A stormwater utility, operating much like an electric or water utility, may collect fees related to the control and treatment of stormwater. In this session, we will discuss how establishing a stormwater utility can be beneficial. We will also explore opportunities for regional inter-municipal stormwater programs. Speaker: Karen Adams, Technical Services Manager, Colchester Public Works Department
8:30 Demystifying Compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Escapade II)
Municipalities that have employees operating commercial motor vehicles – such as heavy dump trucks, large box trucks, or buses – are required to comply with complex Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. In this session, we will highlight key issues and provide helpful guidance on how to meet these requirements. Topics will include drug and alcohol testing, hiring, and ongoing record keeping. Attendees will receive useful resources to help with their compliance efforts. Speaker: Jim Carrien, Loss Control Supervisor, VLCT
Government Business is Big Business to Hackers, Scammers, and Thieves
Government is now less secure than the healthcare industry, and it’s getting worse. In 2016, only 13% of public sector entities were victims of ransomware. By 2018, that number had risen to 38%. Fortunately, there are things that governments can do to combat this threat. Learn six actions you can take to immediately improve your defenses, as well as how to create and remember a unique password for every login. Discover what a world-famous hacker has to say about phishing and spearphishing. If you want to stop hackers, scammers, and thieves, then this presentation is for you.
11:00-12:00 Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police Meeting (Escapade I)
11:00 Building a Successful Public Information Campaign (Northstar I)
Budgets? Bond votes? Ballot items? Events? Learn which building blocks of a campaign will best inform your community through multiple channels. Attendees to this session will walk away with useful templates, tips that work, and resources to help you get the word out quickly and efficiently. Speaker: Coralee Holm, Director of Community Engagement and Innovation, South Burlington City
11:00 Let the Sunshine In: Transparency and Openness in Local Government (Northstar II)
In Vermont, matters of local government frequently invoke the Open Meeting Law, the Public Records Act, and conflicts of interest requirements, sometimes simultaneously. In this session, VLCT attorneys will summarize each of these “sunshine laws” (laws that require openness in and access to government) and the legal obligations they create for selectboards.
Panelists: Garrett Baxter, Senior Staff Attorney, VLCT; Carl Andeer, Staff Attorney II, VLCT; Susan Senning, Staff Attorney I, VLCT
11:00 Grand List Software: What’s Next? (Gateway I)
Last spring the Department of Property Valuation and Review (PVR) held 14 listening sessions around the state and worked with VLCT on a technology needs assessment to ensure its new grand list software would accurately reflect town needs and processes now and in the future. This large scale system is used by towns and PVR to maintain the statewide education grand list and to implement the statewide education property tax system. This session’s speaker will provide an update on the software, focusing on GIS integration, property tax billing, web-based logons, and more.
Speaker: Jill Remick, Director, Property Valuation and Review, Vermont Department of Taxes
11:00 Community Transformation Through Public/Private Partnerships (Gateway II)
Over the last five years, the City of St. Albans has experienced a dramatic economic transformation. The foundation of this transformation has been the city’s willingness to assume risk and form partnerships that attract the type of development its citizens desire. This session will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the city’s development projects with particular focus on the strategies, tactics, and tools others can use to create successful economic development projects.
Speaker: Dominic Cloud, City Manager, St. Albans City
11:00 Vermont Hub Communities (Escapade II)
Hub communities host and finance a range of services not only for their own residents and businesses, but also those for whom your town is a recreation destination, who seek employment, or depend on essential social, governmental, non-profit, public safety and regional services located there. In past discussions, VLCT members identified “VTrans Paving Projects in Designated Downtowns” as a particularly challenging problem that is unique to hub communities. In this session, we will discuss how to approach VTrans in a unified manner to establish an MOU or other means to reduce the disruptions caused by such projects. If time permits, we also will address the challenges facing hub communities and how to avoid the stresses of hosting regional services”. Speaker: Peter Elwell, Town Manager, Brattleboro Town
12:15 Lunch (Snowshed Baselodge)
1:20 Dessert (Exhibit Hall, Oscar Wilde Ballroom)
1:45 Connecting the Dots — Engaging with your Community (Northstar I)
Do you struggle with finding ways to communicate with members of your community and elicit feedback? Do you cast the net wide on a topic but hear from the same group of vocal residents? Are your public meetings only sparsely attended? This interactive workshop will explore strategies to create ways to maintain relevant dialogue with your townspeople. Discover new tools that can help you with the process. Learn about the City of South Burlington’s pilot program using the Consensus community engagement mobile app.
Speaker: Coralee Holm, Director of Community Engagement and Innovation, South Burlington City
1:45 Safeguarding First Responders’ Mental Health (Part 1) (Northstar II)
Today, police officers receive an enormous amount of basic training and organizational education to help them deal with the often challenging situations they encounter on a daily basis. It is equally important for first responders to receive similar guidance. Employee assistance programs, peer-to-peer systems, annual mental wellness “physicals”, a chaplaincy connection, and limiting exposure to psychological trauma are a few ways they can maintain healthy minds. Michael Kehoe will draw upon his experience as chief of police during the Sandy Hook school shooting to discuss how traumatic events affect the mental health and wellness of first responders. He will bring his firsthand knowledge to talk about stress in the workplace, PTSD, resilience, and suicide prevention.
Speaker: Michael Kehoe, Chief of Police (ret.), Newtown, Connecticut
1:45 Practical Cyber Security Advice for Vermont’s Cities and Towns (Gateway I)
How can you protect your city or town from ransomware? How can you prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access to your email accounts? Is it possible to securely send tax information or other regulated, private, or sensitive information to another person? In this interactive session, attendees will learn about the current cyber threats that Vermont cities and towns are facing and come away with practical (and sometimes free) solutions that you can immediately put to use.
Speaker: Jonathan Rajewski, Director, Senator Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigation at Champlain College
1:45 Improve Accounting and Reporting Using Internal Controls (Escapade I)
Having a well-planned system of internal controls is a best practice for reducing the chance of fraud and embezzlement. It can also reduce the possibility of errors, which will in turn result in more accurate financial reporting. In this session, we will review the basic concepts behind a system of internal controls as well as the internal controls checklist and guidance developed by VLCT.
Speaker: Bill Hall, Senior Financial Consultant, VLCT Municipal Assistance Center
1:45 Municipal Records Retention and Best Practices (Escapade II)
The Vermont Public Records Act requires municipal officials and employees who are custodians of public records to retain and manage those records. It can be difficult to identify which records need to be kept and to understand whether and when those records may be discarded or destroyed. This session will provide a broad overview of how to conduct an inventory of public records, how to read a records schedule, and where to find the state’s list of record-keeping requirements. The presentation will also include an update on the latest retention schedules.
Speaker: Megan Wheaton-Book, Records & Information Management Specialist III, Vermont State Archives & Records Administration
3:00 Raffles and Prizes (Exhibit Hall, Oscar Wilde Ballroom)
3:15 Marijuana Legalization: Next Steps (Northstar I)
In 2018, Vermont legalized the recreational use of marijuana. In the 2019 legislative session, a bill that would implement a comprehensive regulatory and revenue system for a taxed and regulated marijuana marketplace gained momentum toward passage in 2020. What will a fully taxed and regulated market mean for municipalities? How much authority will your town have over marijuana establishments? How should you prepare? How can you best advocate what your towns and cities will need to your legislators over the coming months? This session will answer these questions and more.
Speaker: Gwynn Zakov, Municipal Policy Advocate, VLCT
3:15 Safeguarding First Responders’ Mental Health (Part 2) (Northstar II)
A continuation of the discussion from the 1:45 session.
Speaker: Michael Kehoe, Chief of Police (ret.), Newtown, Connecticut
3:15 Time for Your Fiscal Exam (Gateway I)
There is both an art and a science to measuring a municipality’s fiscal health. This session will highlight the available tools that you can use to determine the fiscal condition of your town or city and explore the research that tests the tools’ effectiveness to determine how best to use them.Speaker: B. Michael Gilbar, Chief Financial Officer, VLCT
3:15 Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund Update (Gateway II)
The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs have undergone several significant changes recently, such as the expansion of eligible clean water projects, the funding of private entities for clean water projects, sponsorship of natural resources projects by municipalities, and additional subsidy incentives for drinking water projects. Learn how these changes can help applicants receive funding for enhanced projects while potentially reducing the amount of money needed from the municipality.
Speaker: Terisa Thomas, Program Director, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation; Ashley Lucht, Project Leader, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
3:15 Working Together for Our Communities: Town Officials and Libraries as Partners in Innovative Initiatives (Escapade)
Throughout Vermont, libraries often play an important role in collaborative community projects, from highlighting a town’s history to supporting technology needs of local schools. Our speaker will show attendees the benefits of actively partnering with their local municipal or nonprofit incorporated library on a wide range of projects, from the conventional to the unexpected.
Speaker: Lara Keenan, State Library Consultant, Governance and Management, Vermont Department of Libraries
Killington Grand Hotel
Call: (802) 422-5001 to make a reservation.
Room prices vary. Reference VLCT Town Fair to book with in our block.
*The prices above are subject to availability and do not include applicable tax and service charges.