VERMONT LEAGUE OF CITIES AND TOWNS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
Thursday, March 17, 2022
VLCT Board Members Present (by zoom): President Jessie Baker and Members: Bill Fraser, Mary Ann Goulette, Julie Hance, Charlie Hancock, Delsie Hoyt, Ken Linsley, George Putnam, Georgette Wolf-Ludwig, and Lucrecia Wonsor.
VLCT Staff Present (by zoom): Executive Director Ted Brady, Seth Abbene, Katie Buckley, Abby Friedman, Karen Horn, Jessi Hill, Linda Mahns, and Gwynn Zakov.
Visitors (by zoom): Adam Goldstein, Rachelle Perrault, and Zoltan Sachs all from Champlain College Leahy Center.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President
President Jessie Baker called the meeting to order at 12:22 p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda
The topic of Ukraine was added to Agenda Item #13: Other Business and thus the order of the Executive Session will occur thereafter. Mary Ann Goulette moved to accept the agenda with those changes. Lucrecia Wonsor seconded the motion. The agenda was adopted unanimously.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda
The consent agenda, including the minutes from January 20, 2022, January 25, 2022, February 17, 2022, the Personnel Reports for both February and March, the Nextiva VOIP contract, the Rural Innovation Strategies contract, the Rural Innovation Strategies contract amendment, the Organizational update, and the Legislative update motioned to approve by Lucrecia Wonsor and seconded by Mary Ann Goulette. Approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #4: Municipal Information Technology Assessment by Champlain College
Ted Brady gave the overview of findings that VLCT had commissioned Champlain College to conduct on behalf of municipalities. The team reviewed 10 sample Vermont municipalities, highlighting the assessment findings and recommendations as well as provided Q&A during the meeting with the Board. An IT Work Group was formed that includes VLCT staff, Julie Hance from the Board, representatives from PACIF’s cyber committee, and former board member Lucas Herring (invited). Adam Goldstein from Champlain College volunteered to participate also.
Agenda Item #5: Organizational Update
Ted Brady gave an update on VLCT including the AMS project, the phone system conversion that was underway as of this meeting, office space needs, nominations committee for VLCT Board and Equity Committee (deadline for nominations is March 25th), TIF study that will be concluded soon, Town Meeting Preview and updated VLCT Journal as well as database/membership updates from those recent elections and appointments. Ted came back from the National League of Cities and Towns conference and provided highlights and summaries of what VT is doing well by comparison with other states.
Action items: Jessie Baker asked the members for their consideration to seek out individuals that may be great additions to the VLCT Board and Equity Committee and encourage them to apply.
Charlie Hancock asked for a condensed version of things like the Omnibus bill and how VT faired, as a means to showcase to Towns the connections between federal, state, and local governments.
Agenda Item #6: 2021/2022 Action Plan Update
Ted Brady summarized the Action Plan and the Progress Tracker that Katie Buckley created and asked for feedback or questions from the Board. Abby Friedman gave a short summary on Sarah Macy’s projects that are being created for the Municipal Assistance Center.
Action Items: Ted Brady asked for any town’s Selectboard’s invitation to any meeting they’d like him to attend as he is making the rounds to different counties and towns every two weeks.
Charlie Hancock asked for future reporting to include comparisons that tie VLCT’s Strategic Plan’s 11 objectives to the Action Plan Report.
Agenda Item #7: Strategic Plan Adoption
Jessie Baker asked for a motion to approve the final draft of Strategic Plan. Ted Brady asked the Board to pay attention to the Performance Indicators (which were added since the last meeting). Bill Fraser offered the idea to keep indicators to what can be controlled for outcomes and a short discussion occurred. Julie Hance made the motion to approve the Strategic Plan and seconded by Charlie Hancock. Approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #8: Break
A five-minute break occurred.
Agenda Item #9: Update to Perspectives on Police Reform
Ted Brady provided a brief update. The working group met to update the document on VLCT’s stance on Qualified Immunity. A draft document is being created that could potentially live beyond the Qualified Immunity topic to be more broad-reaching. Karen Horn met with some staff on planning a possible course of action for now and with a possibility of creating a committee in the summer. Ted Brady said VLCT’s Executive Committee will add this to their next agenda for additional discussion now that the timing is no longer as pressing for this statement.
Agenda Item #10: Legislative Update
Crossover week is now occurring over the course of two weeks. Karen Horn gave a full Legislative update for the coming weeks ahead including the following bills: S.234 (Act 250), S.226 (housing), and H.556 (exempting property owned by Vermont recognized Native American tribes.) Karen spoke a bit on the Education Funding and Pupil Weighting bill, which hadn’t yet received a bill number. Gwynn Zakov updated the Board on the Transportation bill highlights that had progressed through to the House Appropriations Committee as of the time of this meeting. Gwynn also spoke about the dispatch bill that is supposed to create new dispatching agencies for towns. Vermont Plants Sunflowers for Ukraine initiative has begun and is receiving support across the state. More information can be found here.
Action item: Karen Horn asked for everyone to please call their senators (particularly those on Senate Finance) to support S.181, which grants general authority for municipal voters to approve local options taxes without requiring charter process and legislative approval.
Agenda Item #11: Future Meeting Format
Jessie Baker provided the recommendation from the Executive Committee that “recommends in-person meetings with a remote option for any Board Member and staff who wish to participate remotely. Two meetings a year will be designated as fully-in person meetings (Town Fair meeting in October and April meeting is recommended.”) Jessie asked the Board if there were questions or issues to be raised and, after hearing none, stated this will be the format put into practice for the remainder of this year.
Agenda Item #13: Other Business – moved as noted in Agenda Item #2
Jessie Baker said she and Ted Brady wished to propose an idea to the Board to issue a statement expressing solidarity with Ukraine. A brief discussion occurred to consider if VLCT has done this before and asked for the Boards interest. Georgette Wolf-Ludwig made a motion to approve the statement, “Vermont League of Cities and Towns stands in solidarity with the city, town and village leaders of Ukraine fighting to protect their people and democracy.” Mary Ann Goulette seconded. Approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #12: Executive Session to Conduct 2022 Executive Director Performance Review
Jessie Baker asked for a motion to enter into Executive Session to discuss the Executive Director’s Performance Review with Ted Brady present. Bill Fraser entertained that motion. Julie Hance seconded. The Board and Ted went into Executive Session at 2:55 p.m. No action was taken as a result of the Executive Session. However, it ended at 3:14 pm, motioned by Julie Hance and seconded by Lucrecia Wonsor.
Agenda Item #14: Adjourn
The meeting was adjourned at 3:15 pm
Executive Administrative Assistant