Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Board of Directors Meeting
Virtual Meeting via Zoom or Telephone
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Members Present: President Miro Weinberger, Vice President Peter Elwell and Members Jessie Baker, Dominic Cloud, Bill Fraser, Mary Ann Goulette, Elaine Haney, Lucas Herring, Delsie Hoyt, Ken Linsley, Charles Safford and Lucrecia Wonsor.
Others Present: VLCT staff members Mike Gilbar, Karen Horn, Gwynn Zakov, Elena Esteban, Lisa Goodell, Jim Burke, Abigail Friedman, Jessica Hill, Joe Damiata, Ione Minot and Maura Carroll.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President. President Weinberger called the meeting to order at 12:21 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 Linsley, the Board unanimously voted to approve the agenda.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items. On motion duly made by Member Haney and seconded by Vice President Elwell, the Board unanimously voted to approve the consent agenda.
Agenda Item #4: Law Enforcement Request. Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Schirling requested that the VLCT Board support moving the Police Academy under the auspices of the Department of Public Safety to provide more funding opportunities and governmental support. The plan is to leave the Criminal Justice Training Council in charge of training and training policy development. The Council’s name will change in December to the Vermont Criminal Justice Council and the make-up of the Council will also change, with VLCT gaining a seat on the Council. On motion duly made by Member Cloud and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously voted to support the proposal to move the Police Academy to the Department of Public Safety.
Agenda Item #5: Business Alliance Program. Representatives of VC3, Dave Mims, Sandy Reeser and Dale Graver, made a presentation to the Board addressing their proposal to participate in the Business Alliance program through a commission option, with VLCT receiving 2.5% of the revenue received by VC3 for the life of accounts with municipalities in Vermont.
President Weinberger left the meeting at 1:00 p.m. to attend another meeting.
There was lively discussion among the Board members on the proposal by VC3, with the Board agreeing that municipalities in Vermont need assistance with technology issues. The Board expressed concern about the potential that this would be an exclusive contract with VC3 as the only technology company to be endorsed by VLCT. On motion duly made by Member Cloud and seconded by Member Wonsor, the Board unanimously voted to move forward with VC3 in an effort to negotiate a non-exclusive contract that would provide value to VLCT members.
Agenda Item #6: Organizational Update. Maura Carroll offered an update to the Board, including: the release of the Compensation and Benefits Report; testing of the LinkedIn Learning program to offer a wide range of training options to all staff at a reasonable cost; development of a new online (paperless HRIS system); discussions about changes to the operations of the advocacy program and how advocacy information is shared with the members; on-going work to develop equity and inclusion resources, including a request for us to meet with members of the Governor’s equity task force; member training and additional provision of COVID-related materials; PACIF renewals; performance evaluations; and continued discussion of long-term options of VLCT’s physical space, as well as the decision to continue remote work until the beginning of April.
Agenda Item #7: Third Quarter Financials. Chief Financial Officer Mike Gilbar presented the third quarter 2020 VLCT financials. On motion duly made by Member Fraser and seconded by Member Herring, the Board unanimously voted to accept the financials as presented.
Agenda Item #8: Emergency Dispatch Services in Vermont. Member Cloud asked that this item be brought forward to the Board and discussed the dilemma that exists in Vermont with some communities receiving services at no cost, while others have created their own or regional dispatch services for which they assume the cost. The Department of Public Safety is proposing a phased-in change to include all municipalities paying for the service. VLCT has not taken a position on this issue in the past. The Board asked staff to invite Commissioner Michael Schirling of the Department of Public Safety to attend the next Board meeting to discuss the issue.
Agenda Item #9: Town Fair Report. Lisa Goodell, VLCT’s Conference Coordinator, provided the Board with a report on the results of VLCT’s 2020 Town Fair and responded to questions from the Board. The Board offered many thanks for the excellent conference program and praised Lisa for a job well done.
Agenda Item #10: Legislative Priorities. Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Karen Horn brought forth a new strategy for the upcoming year regarding the Advocacy program: to launch a campaign with VLCT’s Communications staff that targets advocacy action on behalf of local governments through a wide range of media, and to move away from Local Government Day in 2021 and ask VLCT Policy Committee and VLCT Board members to offer legislators expert advice, testimony, and their municipal stories, relating to specific legislative items.
She and Municipal Policy Advocate Gwynn Zakov brought recommendations to the Board for priority policies for the next legislative biennium, based on the policies adopted by the membership at the Annual Meeting. They responded to questions posed by Board members. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Baker, the Board unanimously voted to approve the recommendations as presented to the Board. It was suggested that the information be shared with members as soon as possible, as many Boards are meeting with their legislative delegations in the next several weeks.
Member Cloud recused himself from Item #11 and left the meeting at 2:28 p.m.
Agenda Item #11: Search Committee Update. President Weinberger returned to the meeting at 2:38 p.m. and resumed as chair at 2:46 p.m. Member Baker, chair of the executive director Search Committee, updated the Board about the progress of the search. She asked that the Board ratify the execution of the contract with the Mercer Group, that the Board approve the charge to the Committee as stated in her accompanying memorandum and approve the recruiting and onboarding timeline also outlined in the memorandum. On motion duly made by Member Fraser and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously voted to ratify and approve all of the items as stated.
Agenda Item #12: Equity and Inclusion Issues. On motion duly made by Member Haney and seconded by Member Baker, the Board unanimously voted to approve the equity and inclusion statement prepared by staff and the establishment of an equity and inclusion committee, comprising Board, staff, and elected officials and staff from member communities.
Agenda Item #13: Strategic Asset Alliance Contract. On motion duly made by Member Goulette and seconded by Vice President Elwell, the Board unanimously voted to approve authorizing the executive director to sign a new contract with SAA.
Agenda Item #14: NLC Second Vice President. Staff brought a recommendation to the Board to support the candidacy of Sean Polster of Warrenton, Virginia, as NLC’s second Vice President. After a discussion among the Board, it was determined that VLCT should not take a position or endorse any of the candidates for the position this year.
Agenda Item #15: 2021 Board Meeting Dates. On motion duly made by Vice President Elwell and seconded by Member Wonsor, the Board unanimously voted to approve the following Board meeting dates for 2021:
- January 21, 2021
- February 4, 2021
- February 18, 2021
- March 18, 2021
- April 15, 2021
- May 20, 2021
- June 17, 2021
- July 29, 2021
- September 2, 2021
- September 29, 2021 (in conjunction with Town Fair)
- November 4, 2021
- December 16, 2021
Agenda Item #16: Other Business. Staff called attention to the three items in the informational materials:
- Note from Sandy Pinsonault
- 2020-2021 Board of Directors
- Conflict of Interest Policy and Form
There was no other business to come before the Board.
On motion duly made by Member Linsley and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 3:17 p.m.