Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Virtual Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, Jul 16, 2020
Members Present: President Miro Weinberger, Vice President Peter Elwell and Members Jessie Baker, Dominic Cloud, Bill Fraser, Mary Ann Goulette, Ken Linsley, Sandy Pinsonault, George Putnam, Charles Safford and Lucrecia Wonsor.
Others Present: VLCT staff members Karen Horn, Gwynn Zakov, Jessica Hill, Lisa Goodell, Joe Damiata and Maura Carroll.
All attended via GoToMeeting or by telephone.
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 Putnam and seconded by Member Goulette, the Board unanimously voted to approve the agenda.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items. On motion duly made by Member Linsley and seconded by Member Fraser the Board unanimously voted to approve the consent agenda.
Agenda Item #4: Organizational Update. Maura Carroll offered an update to the Board, including: the Board should have received the signed contract with VC3 it approved in June with the caveat that a copy be sent to each Board member when it was finalized; a draft of 2021 budget will be ready for the ad hoc budget committee meeting on August 13; work is ongoing on revamping the sponsorship program, now called the Business Alliance program and a formal presentation will be given at the September 3 Board meeting; and discussions are taking place about moving the Health Advisory Services contract with Hickok and Boardman to VLCT from VERB and will be discussed further if the VERB Board votes to take that action at its August 13 meeting.
Agenda Item #5 Town Fair Update. Maura Carroll presented an update on progress made with planning the organization’s Annual Meetings and 2020 Town Fair. She reported that Mayor Vince Williams of Union City Georgia, NLC 2nd Vice President and President of the Georgia Municipal Association, will be the keynote speaker this year. Also, sessions are being finalized and include Xusanna Davis on the topic of racial equity, panelists on the topic of policing in light of use of force concerns, social justice issues and civil unrest, training for listers as part of the contract VLCT has with the Tax Department, cybersecurity in the age of the pandemic and roundtables for various groups of local officials. Finally, staff is finalizing the technology platforms to be used for Town Fair as well as for the Annual Meetings and Municipal Policy adoption. Given the tight timeframe between the September VLCT Board meeting and the Annual Meeting it was suggested that the Board hold a special meeting to review the legislative policies recommended by the policy committees in conjunction with the August 12 racial equity training for the Board. On motion duly made by Member Cloud and seconded by Member Baker, the Board unanimously voted to make themselves available for an additional meeting.
Agenda Item #6: Racial Equity. Maura Carroll updated the Board about the work that is being done among the northeast municipal leagues, working with the Race, Equity and Leadership program at the National League of Cities. This includes an introductory webinar for all of the leagues’ Boards and a separate webinar for the leagues’ staffs. These will be recorded so that in the event that individuals are unable to attend the webinar, it will still be available for review. The Boards’ session is scheduled for August 12 from 3:30-5:00. In addition, there was robust discussion about the focus in cities and towns across the state on local policing, the role of advisory boards and citizen oversight and the role and vision of 21st century policing. Many concerns and opinions were expressed about local experiences, debates about the current relevancy of the police academy and the appropriate position and involvement of VLCT. Member Cloud suggested that those with a significant interest in this topic meet, discuss, put a proposal together and bring it to the Board for review and adoption. Board members agreed.
Agenda Item #7: Lessons Learned from Local Outbreaks and How VLCT Can Help Communities to Respond. The City of Winooski and the Town of Fair Haven shared some of the lessons learned from their local COVID-19 outbreaks. There was discussion about specific experience and suggestions about preparation for an outbreak, especially for those who have not experienced one yet or have not yet worked with the Vermont Department of Health. It was determined that staff would work on a guidance document that includes specific recommendations from communities that have experienced an outbreak, notifications by the state department of health, the steps to take to be prepared when an outbreak occurs and the process to communicate with residents and businesses in the community.
Agenda Item #8: Legislative Update. Karen Horn and Gwynn Zakov discussed legislation of interest to local government related to the COVID-19 response, including H.951 that would allow the Treasurer’s Office to pay interest on short-term municipal borrowing to cover education property tax shortfalls; H.966 that contained aid to municipalities for expenses related to COVID-19; the need to address the continued use of virtual meetings even if the Governor lifts the emergency order. Board members expressed support for the legislature to address Act 250 legislation and tax increment financing legislation during the late August legislative session.
Agenda Item #9: Personnel Issue. On motion duly made by Vice President Elwell and seconded by Member Putnam, the Board unanimously voted to approve the modifications to the executive director’s employment contract.
Member Cloud left the meeting at 2:18.
Executive Session. On motion duly made by Vice President Elwell and seconded by Member Baker, the Board unanimously voted that there was a need to go into executive session in accordance with V.S.A. Title 1, Section 313 (3) relating to the appointment or employment of an employee. Following that, on motion duly made by Vice President Elwell and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board unanimously voted to enter executive session at 2:19 p.m. and invited the executive director to join them in executive session. On motion duly made by Member Linsley and seconded by Vice President Elwell, the Board unanimously voted to return to public session at 2:35 p.m.
Agenda Item #10: Other Business. There was no other business to come before the Board.
Without objection, the meeting adjourned at 2:36 p.m.