Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Members Present (by Zoom): President Miro Weinberger, Vice President Peter Elwell, and Members Jessie Baker, Dominic Cloud, Bill Fraser, Mary Ann Goulette, Julie Hance, Lucas Herring, Delsie Hoyt, Ken Linsley, George Putnam, Charles Safford, and Lucrecia Wonsor.
Others Present (by Zoom): Ted Brady, Joe Damiata, Abby Friedman, Jessi Hill, Karen Horn, Heather Simons, Trevor Whipple, and Gwynn Zakov.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President. In the absence of President Weinberger, Vice President Elwell called the meeting to order at 12:20 p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda. Ted Brady alerted the Board that due to a scheduling conflict with guest speaker Heather Simons, he recommended moving agenda item 6 (Police Academy) up the agenda to before or possibly interrupting the organization update. Member Ken Linsley then moved to accept the agenda as amended, and member Charles Safford seconded. The amended agenda was adopted unanimously. Vice President Elwell asked if there were any announcements. Ted Brady introduced new board member Julie Hance of Chester.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items. On motion duly made by Member Safford, and seconded by Member Herring, the Board unanimously voted to approve the consent agenda including the Minutes of the April 15, 2021, the Personnel Report, the Return to Work Plan, the Flexible Work Policy, the telecommuting agreement, and new Delta Dental rates.
Agenda Item #4: Police Academy. Ted Brady introduced the new director of the Vermont Police Academy and Vermont Criminal Justice Council Heather Simons. Director Simons explained her role and members asked questions surrounding how municipalities can access law enforcement training. Director Simons stated that recent academy classes have been able to include all trainees enrolled (including those on the waitlist). She also shared that the next class, slated for February, may be accelerated to earlier in the year. Member Safford requested that Ted Brady share the “VLCT Perspectives on Police Reform” with Director Simons. Member Baker stressed the importance of a non-residential police training program to reach more diverse candidates and encouraged Director Simons to consider an alternative to existing psychological tests for law enforcement candidates that may be bias. Member Cloud shared that he believed the current 18 month training timeline for a new law enforcement officer has exacerbated communities’ ability to reduce stress and workload on police officers. Director Simons concluded by saying she is eager to work with the municipalities to find the balance of supporting professional development for law enforcement officers and the needs of communities.
Agenda Item #5: Organization Update. Executive Director Brady shared an organization update. Highlights included an announcement that Seth Abbene of Morrisville will become the new VLCT CFO effective May 26th, a new director of the American Rescue Plan Act Coordination and Assistance Program will start at VLCT in mid-June, changes to the equity committee makeup, work on an 18-month workplan for VLCT, and an invitation to members to attend upcoming VLCT listening sessions to inform the creation of a five-year strategic plan. During the organization update, Ted Brady also shared additional information about VLCT’s return to work plan, the revised telework policy, and an evaluation of how to reduce the organization’s rental costs. Member Cloud, Fraser and Baker expressed their interest in keeping the VLCT headquarters in Montpelier. Member Herring stated that the new policies benefited employees and possibly other communities where they live.
Agenda Item #6: Finance Update. CFO Mike Gilbar presented the Quarter 1 VLCT financial update.
Agenda Item #7: Legislative Update. Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Karen Horn, and Municipal Policy Advocate Gwynn Zakov, updated the Board about activities during the on-going 2021 legislative session. The board discussed the status of the budget, efforts to transfer teacher healthcare retirement benefits to the Education Fund, rental housing registry updates, tax increment financing district legislation, and more. Gwynn Zakov stated that she believes one of the biggest legislative successes she has witnessed occurred this year with the one-time $3 million increase in local transportation aide and changes to statutory language in Title 19 that increases future appropriations and increases minimum funding for structure grants.
No other business was brought before the Board.
Without objection, Vice President Elwell declared the meeting adjourned at 2:01 p.m.
Ted Brady, Executive Director