Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Members Present: President Cadwell, Vice President Louras, and Members Beckett, Pinsonault, Richard, Safford, Simmons, White and Whittaker.
Others Present: VLCT staff members Karen Horn, Gwynn Zakov, Lisa Goodell, Jessica Hill, and Maura Carroll.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President
President Cadwell called the meeting to order at 12:25 p.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting, including all staff members who were in the Montpelier Room at the time. He thanked outgoing Mayor Louras and acknowledged him for his work. President Cadwell thanked staff members present for taking a few minutes to honor Chris for his ten years of service as the City of Rutland’s mayor. President Cadwell offered the following remarks:
“Having grown up around the city of Rutland (9 miles north on Route 7), I am well aware of the challenges that a mayor of that city faces. Its form of governance is a challenge. It’s inherently difficult and it’s complicated. Chris has just done a phenomenal job, and exhibited uncommon courage, uncommon vision for a city that’s needed it. And sometimes you’re thanked for it and sometimes people just don’t see it. Thus is the way the process works, but we’ve been blessed by having Chris on this board, as a representative of local government on the hill, just an uncommon – I use “uncommon” a lot here but an unbelievably energetic advocate for civic engagement and I know that he isn’t stopping here. I know that there are other opportunities ahead for Chris, but on behalf of the board (and staff and other board members, please speak up) want to extend my huge thanks for all of your great work.”
Vice President Louras responded with thanks to the Board and the staff for the work they do and for helping to make him a better public servant.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda
On motion duly made by Member Simmons and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously voted to add an item to “Other Business” allowing staff to report on the status of projects related to internal organizational activities.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items
On motion duly made by Member Simmons and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board unanimously approved the Personnel Report and the amended minutes of the February 2, 2017 Board meeting. The amendment added language to Agenda Item #7 so the first paragraph now reads:
“Members Whittaker and Shepeluk provided an update about the last Joint Investment Committee meeting held on January 27, and in light of current economic uncertainty, encouraged Board members to closely watch financial markets and ask for updates and pose queries to the representatives of the Board who are members of the Joint Investment Committee.”
Member Whittaker wanted to be sure that the minutes reflected the importance of watching the bond market and potential rising interest rates.
Agenda Item #4: Town Fair Update
Member Weinberger discussed the work that he and his staff have done to relocate Town Fair to Burlington in 2018 and his hope that some innovative features could be added to the program, such as tours of current projects in the city and economic development initiatives. He acknowledged that exhibitor and meal space is challenging but hoped that he and his staff could continue to work with VLCT staff to see whether accommodations can be made. The Board agreed that, as long as other venues were available, it made sense to continue discussion. However, if representatives of any venue for which VLCT had a right of first refusal contacted VLCT about exercising that right, staff could make a decision without further discussion by the Board.
VLCT’s Events Coordinator Lisa Goodell also participated in the discussion and answered specific questions about the management of Town Fair. Lisa discussed plans for the 2017 Town Fair and queried the Board about their thoughts on moving the exhibitor space to the hotel area and having Thursday lunch in the space where exhibitors were housed in prior years. If that happens, lunch would need to be a buffet and the traditional turkey dinner could not be served. The Board acknowledged that moving away from a turkey dinner in favor of greater flexibility was acceptable.
Agenda Item #5: Legislative Update
Karen Horn and Gwynn Zakov provided updates of legislative session activity prior to the second half of the session. Discussion included legislation reducing the threshold when a state operational stormwater permit is required; energy siting; municipal authorization to appoint clerks and treasurers; and creation of a presumption that PTSD suffered by a police officer, firefighter, or rescue or ambulance worker is suffered in the line of duty. There was lively discussion and several members volunteered to testify on specific legislation.
Vice President Louras exited the meeting at 1:15 p.m.
Agenda Item #6 Board Appointments
Member Whittaker stated that when he submitted his name for an appointment to the Governor’s Opiate Coordination Council, he thought the appointment needed to be a VLCT Board member. When he realized that was not the case, he withdrew his name.
On motion duly made by Member White and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously approved the appointment of Stephanie Thompson as VLCT’s representative to the Governor’s Opiate Coordination Council. She is Vice Chair of the Selectboard in Springfield.
Karen Horn indicated that she would provide the names of volunteers for the Marijuana for Symptom Relief Oversight Committee at the April Board meeting.
Agenda Item #7 Other Business
Jessica Hill reported more fully on the details of the Personnel Report, and Maura Carroll updated the Board on VLCT’s new website project, the VLCT audit, the Communication and Marketing Director qualifications, and planning for VLCT’s 50th Anniversary celebration, and also reminded Board members about the upcoming Economic Development workshop and the Selectboard Institute.
On motion duly made by Member Beckett and seconded by Member White, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 2:47 p.m.
Maura Carroll, Executive Director