Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Board of Directors Meeting
December 12, 2019
Members Present: Vice President Peter Elwell and Members Jessie Baker, Dominic Cloud, Bill Fraser, Mary Ann Goulette, Elaine Haney, Delsie Hoyt, Ken Linsley, Sandy Pinsonault, George Putnam and Charles Safford.
Others Present: VLCT staff members Mike Gilbar, Karen Horn, Gwynn Zakov, Abigail Friedman, Jessica Hill, Elena Esteban, Joe Damiata and Maura Carroll.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President. Vice President Elwell called the meeting to order at 12:22 p.m. and welcomed all to the meeting.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Baker, the Board unanimously voted to approve the agenda with one addition to Other Business, the date of the February Board meeting.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Goulette, the Board unanimously voted to approve the consent agenda.
Agenda Item #4: Organizational Update. Maura Carroll offered an update on issues being addressed and projects underway at VLCT, including the opportunity she had to attend NLC’s City Summit, accompanied by Vice President Peter Elwell and Burlington City Councilor Brian Pine. She also spoke about the great work completed by Jim Baker and Trevor Whipple, among others, to create a first responder training event that was well attended and had very positive reviews. In addition, she informed the Board that staff received follow-up presentation training, staff is finalizing contracts with VLCT affiliate groups, and working with NLC to offer some direct member opportunities through VLCT. There are two new Board/staff/member committees needing development. One is a committee on Cybersecurity and Emerging Technology, suggested by PACIF Board members and the other is an Office Space Committee, in preparation for the expiration of VLCT’s City Center lease in 2026. Members Fraser and Cloud volunteered to be on the latter committee.
Agenda Item #5: VLCT-PACIF and VLCT-VERB Administrative Support Service Agreements. The agreements between VLCT and PACIF, VLCT and VERB and MAC and PACIF need to be reviewed and adopted each year. The Board reviewed the documents and on motion duly made by Member Cloud and seconded by Member Safford, all three documents were unanimously adopted.
Agenda Item #6: Overview of Pension Actuarial Results. Mike Gilbar provided the Board with an overview of the Vermont Municipal Employee Retirement System’s actuarial report. He responded to questions and concerns expressed by the Board and promised to review the next VMERS report with those specific Board questions in mind.
Agenda Item #7: 2020 VLCT Priorities. Maura Carroll reviewed the organization’s priorities for 2020, based on the budget that was adopted by the Board in October. At future Board meetings the leadership team and other staff will update the Board as specific projects develop. On motion duly made by Member Pinsonault and seconded by Member Goulette, the Board unanimously accepted the priorities as presented.
Agenda Item #8: General Legislative Issues. Karen Horn and Gwynn Zakov discussed strategies for VLCT legislative priorities with the Board as well as an overview of the upcoming session. They provided information about the state budget, climate solutions, marijuana, water quality, EMS, workforce housing, cybersecurity and self-governance and responded to questions and comments by the Board. There was lively discussion by the Board on all issues presented. On motion duly made by Member Cloud and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously adopted a modification to the current League member position on marijuana taxation and regulation to state that the League will support an opt-out provision regarding hosting cannabis establishments within a community in exchange for one-third of the revenue from the State’s taxation of marijuana.
The Advocacy team also provided the Board with a copy of President Trump’s Executive Order on Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement, issued on September 26, 2019. Staff suggested that information about the executive order be shared with the membership and the Board suggested that staff coordinate with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program in doing so.
There was also robust discussion about Local Government Day and the issues that would be addressed, as well as the potential luncheon keynote speaker. It was determined by consensus that the lunch speaker should be VLCT’s President providing information about the State of Municipalities in Vermont. The Board requested that the executive director speak with the President about his willingness to do so.
Agenda Item #9: PACIF Request. Maura Carroll explained that the PACIF Board will be adopting the PACIF budget on Friday, December 13. It includes a request to fund a new position in the budget by bringing one defense counsel position in-house. Staff recommends adopting the request, contingent on the PACIF Board funding the position. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Fraser, the Board unanimously adopted the new PACIF staff position, contingent on the PACIF Board’s approval to fund the position.
Agenda Item #10: Other Business. The Board acknowledged that the February meeting was scheduled on Local Government Day. After some discussion, the Board agreed to meet at 2:30 p.m. or upon conclusion of the activities of Local Government Day, whichever is later.
Without objection, the Board adjourned the meeting at 3:34 p.m.