Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Virtual Board of Directors Meeting
Virtual Meeting via GoToMeeting and Telephone
Thursday, December 21, 2021
Members Present: President Miro Weinberger, Vice President Peter Elwell and Members Jessie Baker, Dominic Cloud, Bill Fraser, Elaine Haney, Lucas Herring, Ken Linsley, Charles Safford and Lucrecia Wonsor.
Others Present: Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Schirling, Hickok and Boardman HR Intelligence representatives Steve May and Sally McKenzie; and Xusana Davis, Vermont Racial Equity Director; VLCT staff members Karen Horn, Kelley Avery, Abigail Friedman, Jessica Hill, 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 12:30 p.m. and welcomed all to the meeting.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda. On motion duly made by Member Linsley and seconded by Member Baker, the Board unanimously voted to approve the agenda.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Linsley, the Board unanimously voted to accept the Personnel Report.
On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Wonsor, the Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the December 10, 2020 agenda with the following corrections: adding the following to “Others Present” at the meeting: Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Schirling, Executive Director Paul Costello and Community and Policy Associate Nick Kramer of the Vermont Council on Rural Development and two misspellings.
President Weinberger arrived to preside over the meeting at 12:33 p.m.
Agenda Item #4 Police Reform. Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Schirling was present to discuss with the Board the various police reform issues being proposed and discussed in Vermont. Discussion and dialogue ensued among Board members and the Commissioner. Several questions were posed about the technical expertise that the State might share with local law enforcement agencies. There was discussion about the need to recognize the existing citizen oversight of law enforcement by selectboards and councils and the importance of continuing the authority of agency heads and managers to discipline law enforcement staff. There was also discussion about best practices to be used by agencies, qualified immunity, the model for dispatch services and the Executive Order addressing creating an Agency of Public Safety.
Thanks were expressed for the assistance to the City of Montpelier in preparing for the Martin Luther King holiday and Inauguration Day.
Agenda Item #5: Introduction of the Hickok and Boardman HR Intelligence Team Working with VLCT. Sally McKenzie and Steve May of Hickok and Boardman HRIQ introduced themselves to the Board and explained their professional backgrounds and experience with VLCT. Kelley Avery, VLCT’s manager of all employee benefits programs also was present to introduce herself to the Board and briefly discussed the timeframe for updating the Board during the year and her availability to the Board and members to respond to questions or concerns.
Agenda Item #6: Organizational Update. Maura Carroll offered an update about organizational activities to the Board, including: helping communities prepare for Town Meeting; the ongoing planning for appropriate office space post-COVID; pursuing consultant assistance with identifying IT needs of member municipalities; continuing to provide COVID updates and other important time sensitive information to members; on-going planning for training, meetings and projects for 2021; an update about the stability of the Vermont Municipal Retirement System; the availability of two complimentary registrations for the NLC virtual Congressional Cities Conference, March 7-10; and continuing to work with NLC in the event of potential federal aid to cities and towns.
Agenda Item #7: Legislative Update. Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Karen Horn updated the Board about activities during the first few weeks of the 2021 legislative session. She reported on the over-arching issue of the state budget and attention to the next steps in COVID recovery, the Tax Structure Commission Report, retail sales of cannabis and S.30, relative to carrying guns in public spaces.
On motion duly made by Member Cloud and seconded by Member Fraser, the Board voted unanimously to express support for the Tax Structure Commission Report. Board members also asked staff to invite Deb Brighton to the February 18 Board meeting to further discuss the Tax Structure Commission Report.
On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Vice President Elwell, the Board voted unanimously to support S.30, a bill that would prevent carrying firearms in public government buildings, except for legitimate law enforcement purposes.
Agenda Item #8: Equity and Inclusion Issues. Committee Chair Elaine Haney reported on the activities to date, including compilation of committee members, discussion with facilitators and potential alliance with the Vermont Council on Rural Development. In addition, the State is attempting to put resources together for cities and towns and Xusana Davis was present to discuss those efforts and a desire to support the work of VLCT.
Agenda Item #9: Search Committee Update. Member Baker, chair of the executive director Search Committee, updated the Board Members about the search process, providing them with some statistical details about the candidates and the next steps in the process, including interviews by the Committee on January 26 and interviews by the Board and a staff committee in early February.
Agenda Item #10: Other Business. No other business was brought before the Board.
Without objection, President Weinberger declared the meeting adjourned at 2:21 p.m.