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Minutes of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Board of Directors Meeting
November 10, 2016
VLCT Offices, Montpelier, Vermont

Members Present: President Cadwell, Vice President Louras and Members Shepeluk, Beckett, Cloud, Hurd, Pinsonault, Richard, Weinberger, White and Whittaker.

Others Present: VLCT staff members Mike Gilbar, Karen Horn, Gwynn Zakov, Jim Burke, Jessica Hill, Abby Friedman, and Ken Canning.

Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President

President Cadwell called the meeting to order at 12:25 p.m. and welcomed staff and recognized Member Whittaker to introduce the new Board members: Stu Hurd, Town Manager in Bennington and Dominic Cloud, City Manager in St. Albans.  President Cadwell also gave a brief update on Member Simmons who is recovering from surgery.  Board members signed a card and expressed concern and best wishes.

Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda

On motion duly made by Member Whittaker and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board unanimously adopted the agenda and agreed to add a brief report regarding the Investment Committee.

Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items

On motion duly made by Member Pinsonault and seconded by Vice President Louras, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of the October 5, 2016 Board meeting.

Agenda Item #4: 2017 VLCT Budget and 2017-18 VLCT Dues

Member Whittaker provided a brief update concerning Joint Investment Committee activity, reporting that the organization is close to achieving benchmarks on investments due to the cautious level of investments.  A brief discussion ensued about having the organization closely watch the current volatility of the market.

Member Weinberger arrived at 12:50 p.m.

CFO Mike Gilbar presented the 2017 proposed budget to the Board as well as the proposed 2017-18 VLCT dues schedule and responded to inquiries of Board members.  On motion duly made by Member Richard and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board unanimously adopted the budget and the dues schedule as proposed.

Maura Carroll discussed staff plans for implementation of the 2017 budget, including enhanced technology initiatives and the creation of a Communications and Marketing Department and hiring a director to lead the new program.

Agenda Item #5: 2016 Third Quarter Financials

Mike Gilbar presented the third quarter financial report to the Board

On motion duly made by Member Hurd and seconded by Member Shepeluk, the Board unanimously adopted the financial statements as presented.

Agenda Item #6 Personnel Policy – Adoption of Actual Health and Dental Plan Schedule

Jessica Hill presented the health and dental plan information to the Board and indicated that while the schedule is currently a part of the personnel policy, it is recommended that the schedule be removed from the policy and simply be presented as part of the budget in the future.

On motion duly made by Member Shepeluk and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board unanimously adopted the health and dental plan schedule as presented and agreed to having the health and dental plans presented to the Board as part of the budget.

In addition, Member Shepeluk recommended that the President appoint a committee of Board members to work with staff to review options for health plan choices, costs and strategies for the 2018 budget.  It was further recommended that this suggestion be placed on the April Board agenda.

Agenda Item #7 Municipal Policy Priorities

Member Whittaker asked Board members for some feedback on current use hold harmless payments provided by the State.  He indicated that he thought the payments were considerably underfunded and asked whether there was agreement from other Board members.  There was and Member Whittaker will report that to the Current Use Advisory Board.

Karen Horn briefed the Board on election results and she and Gwynn Zakov discussed the recommended policy priorities.  There was Board consensus to accept the policy priorities as presented and to add economic development and tax increment financing to these priorities.

On motion duly made by Member Cloud and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board unanimously encouraged staff to write a letter to the Governor-elect, inviting him to the December Board meeting and expressing VLCT’s strong desire to work with him.

Agenda Item #8 Town Fair Discussion

There was a brief discussion about Town Fair.  A more formal and detailed report will be provided at the December Board meeting.

Agenda Item #9 Discussion of Policy on Political Activities

In light of the recent elections, the Board reviewed the existing VLCT policy on Political Activities.   On motion duly made by Member Shepeluk and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board unanimously adopted a clarification to the language of the policy to reflect current practice.  It will read:

Due to the nature and work of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, employees shall act with discretion in regard to partisan political activities at any government level.  Employees who are federally funded are expected to be familiar with federal laws and requirements regarding their participation in partisan political activities.  Prior to engaging in public political activity, employees unsure of their status should discuss the proposed activities with the Executive Director.

Agenda Item #10 Discussion of Letters of Reference or Support

There was a brief discussion about whether staff should provide letters of reference or support for state officials.  The consensus was that no letters should be independently generated, but that responding to telephone or in-person inquiries about the League’s interaction with state officials would be appropriate.

Agenda Item #11 VLCT 50th Anniversary

Board members discussed the VLCT timeline information included in the packets and made suggestions to staff about additions and deletions.

Members Whittaker and Beckett left the meeting at 3:00.

Agenda Item #12 Board Meeting Schedule

2017 meeting dates were reviewed by the Board and finalized. 

Agenda Item #13 Other Business

On motion duly made by Member Weinberger and seconded by Vice President Louras, the Board unanimously adopted a motion to adjourn the meeting at 3:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Maura Carroll, Executive Director

Board or Committee: 
VLCT Board of Directors

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