VERMONT LEAGUE OF CITIES AND TOWNS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
Thursday, February 17, 2022
VLCT Board Members Present (by zoom): President Jessie Baker and Members: Bill Fraser, Mary Ann Goulette, Julie Hance, Delsie Hoyt, Ken Linsley, Miro Weinberger, Georgette Wolf-Ludwig, and Lucrecia Wonsor.
VLCT Staff Present (by zoom): Executive Director Ted Brady, Kelley Avery, Joe Damiata, Abby Friedman, Karen Horn, Jessi Hill, Linda Mahns, Trevor Whipple, Phil Woodward.
Visitors (by zoom): Sally McKenzie, Hickok & Boardman, Steve May, Hickok & Boardman, Wilda White, Wilda White Consulting and the Vermont Department of Public Safety, and Mark Williams, NIS Benefits.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President
President Jessie Baker called the meeting to order at 12:25 p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda
Agenda item #6 (ACLU presentation) will not occur. Ted Brady explained the ACLU failed to respond to two invitation emails sent to a confirmed, publicly available address of the executive director. In addition, the Legislative update was distributed to the committee and added to the consent agenda. Mary Ann Goulette moved to accept the agenda noting that #6 is being removed and adding 3H Legislative Update to the agenda. Julie Hance seconded the motion. The agenda was adopted unanimously.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda
The consent agenda, including the minutes of January 20, 2022 and January 25, 2022, the personnel report, the Nextiva VOIP contract, the Rural Innovation Strategies contract, the Rural Innovation Strategies contract amendment, the organization update, and the legislative update were not formally motioned to approve.
Agenda Item #4: Expansion of Benefit Offering Discussion: Pet insurance
Kelley Avery introduced Sally McKenzie and Steve May from Hickok and Boardman and Mark Williams of NIS Benefits to give a short presentation of and answered questions about this potential offering to members. Mary Ann Goulette motioned to offer staff and members pet insurance in 2022/2023. Charlie Hancock seconded. Approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #5: Qualified Immunity Overview
PACIF General Counsel Phil Woodward gave an overview on what qualified immunity is, how it is used, its impacts to PACIF and the concerns PACIF has with the legislative proposal before the Vermont Legislature. VLCT’s Law Enforcement Risk Management Consultant Trevor Whipple also gave his perspective on qualified immunity to the board.
Agenda Item #6: The Case for Ending Qualified Immunity
This item was removed at the start of this meeting.
Agenda Item #7: Police Reform: Is Removing Qualified Immunity the Best Approach?
Wilda White shared her perspectives on police reform and gave the following ideas that the board asked to have documented here:
- A conference curated fostering dialogue and discussion with community members, municipalities, police, and legislators
- VT needs more uniformity on training, hiring, leadership, and retention practices.
- Smaller agencies need more resources and expertise to act on the complaints that arise
- Proposed Peace Officer (Peace Officer (ca.gov)) to act on potential traffic violations and other issues that arise
- Racial disparities in education, medicine, language, culture and implicit bias training is not the sole answer for police only
- Explicit bias training with mental health challenges – need more effective training for officers. ACT 80 training is an 8-hour course. Wilda White offered this isn’t enough and gave the recommendation of having officers need hands-on, scenario-based training with individuals and professionals with mental health knowledge/experience as participants and advisors of to help train and gauge the effectiveness of this training
- Provide non-police alternatives to assist with mental health calls to police. CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On the Streets) was mentioned as a possible program to emulate here in Vermont (CAHOOTS | Eugene, OR Website (eugene-or.gov)
- Mental Health Specialists to add peer support to these mobile response programs
- Implementation Director to help create departments for community response as in Hampton, NH.
Agenda Item #8: Break
Agenda Item #9: Board Discussion About Qualified Immunity
After almost a 10-minute break, VLCT Board members engaged in a discussion and directed the Executive Director to form a subcommittee to update the 2020 Perspectives on Police Reform and bring a revised statement back to the Board in March. Julie Hance offered to assist in a revised statement. Charlie Hancock asked for the recommendations that Wilda White offered (which is listed under Agenda #7) be included. Bill Fraser, Mayor Weinberger, and others reiterated the need for a strong statement from VLCT based on the views and concerns presented today. Jessie Baker asked for a small sub-committee to be formed to work on this statement. Julie Hance, Trevor Whipple, Delsie Hoyt, Karen Horn, and Ted Brady will make up this sub-committee with potential assistance from Burlington’s Chief of Police and/or Montpelier’s Chief of Police as needed. Bill Fraser offered to assist if after Town Meeting.
Action item: to obtain stats from Trevor Whipple on how many municipalities have their own police and what services are offered.
Agenda Item #10: Updated VLCT Statement of Equity and Racial Justice
Ted Brady presented an updated VLCT Statement of Equity and Racial Justice that the VLCT Equity Committee recommends VLCT adopt in place of its existing equity statement. Ted explained the statement provides more context, makes stronger acknowledgement of systemic racism, and uses vocabulary that equity consultants Wanda Heading-Grant and Nikki Fuller recommended using. Mary Ann Goulette made the motion to adopt the amended VLCT Statement of Equity and Racial Justice. Georgette Wolf-Ludwig seconded. Approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #11: VLCT Investment Policy
Ted Brady presented the amended policy with changes proposed by George Putnam at the January 20th meeting and asked the board for its consideration to adopt. He noted the numbering on the provided draft was incorrect. Ken Linsley made the motion to adopt the draft VLCT Investment Policy with the correct numbering. Mary Ann Goulette seconded. Approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #12: Committee Appointments / Treasurer Appointment
Jessie Baker gave an overview of several appointments the board needed to make. Charlie Hancock made a motion to approve the appointment of Jessie Baker to the Joint Budget Committee, Bill Fraser to the Budget Committee, and the election of Bill Fraser as Treasurer. Lucrecia Wonsor seconded. Approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #13: Executive Director Evaluation
Jessie Baker updated the board on the plan for conducting the Executive Director’s evaluation. A survey will be emailed to all board members and asked them to be completed by the end of day, February 28, 2022. All surveys will then go to the Executive Committee to compile.
Agenda Item #14: Other Business
No other business was discussed.
Agenda Item #15: Adjourn
Jessie Baker entertained a motion to adjourn. Lucrecia Wonsor made the motion. Ken Linsley seconded. Approved. The meeting adjourned at 2:54 pm
Executive Administrative Assistant