ENFIELD TOWN COUNCIL
MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2005
The Regular Meeting of the Enfield Town Council was called to order by Chairman Tallarita in the Council Chambers of the Enfield Town Hall, 820 Enfield Street, Enfield, Connecticut on Monday, November 21, 2005 at 7:33 p.m.
PRAYER – The Prayer was given by Councilman Crowley.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – The Pledge of Allegiance was said.
ROLL-CALL – Present were Councilmen Crowley, Edgar, Hilinski, Kaupin, Lee, Mangini, Maxellon, Nelson, Peruta, Ragno, and Tallarita. Also present were Assistant Town Manager, Daniel Vindigni; Town Clerk, Suzanne Olechnicki; Town Attorney, Christopher Bromson; Director of Public Works, John Kazmarski; Deputy Director of Public Works, Geoffrey McAlmond; Assistant Director of Public Works, Colleen Brand; Director of Finance, Gregory Simmons; Director of Information Technology, Charlene Bond; Director of Libraries, Henry Dutcher.
FIRE EVACUATION ANNOUNCEMENT
Chairman Tallarita made the fire evacuation announcement.
MINUTES OF PRECEDING MEETINGS
MOTION #8088 by Councilman Kaupin, seconded by Councilman Mangini to accept the minutes of the October 13, 2005 Special Meeting.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8088 adopted 11-0-0.
MOTION #8089 by Councilman Mangini, seconded by Councilman Hilinski to accept the minutes of October 17, 2005 Special Meeting.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8089 adopted 11-0-0.
MOTION #8090 by Councilman Mangini, seconded by Councilman Hilinski to accept the minutes of the October 17, 2005 Regular Meeting.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8090 adopted 11-0-0.
PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS & PETITIONS
Elizabeth Carr, 2 Summer Street
Stated she’s experiencing water problems during heavy rains. Ms. Carr stated her belief the storm drain in front of her home isn’t adequate enough to take the water away. She noted water is running into her basement. She pointed out she had three and a half feet of water in her basement during the recent big storm, and her family had to be evacuated. She noted she is very worried about the safety of a handicapped family member should this occur again.
Ms. Carr stated she has addressed this concern to Public Works and was informed her house is not connected to the storm drain. She noted although she would like to hook up to that storm drain, she still believes doing so will not resolve her water problems. She pointed out her neighbors are also experiencing water problems. She requested the Town further investigate this problem.
Jack Sheridan, 7 Buchanan Road
Stated his belief the proposal to add a large dormer on the back of the Town Hall will detract from the appearance of the building. He stated his understanding this is to make room for the archives. He noted it might be more economical to store the archives elsewhere.
Mr. Sheridan stated his hope the Council will address the topic of televising Council meetings.
He stated his understanding Planning & Zoning is looking at a proposal for a new subdivision off Bridge Lane. He noted somehow this proposal got past the Inlands and Wetlands Commission. He pointed out many people in Enfield have water problems, and he believes this subdivision will just add to that problem. He stated his belief that when these new homes are sold, there should be a disclosure that they have been built below the water table. He pointed out the cellars of these homes will be below the water table. He stated his belief there should be a very careful look at this proposal.
Monica Ryan, 12 Matthewson Avenue
Stated the first action of the new Council only had the inclusion of seven members. She noted at last Monday evening’s Organizational Meeting, the new Mayor gave the assurance that the “D” or “R” after each name would take second place to the title of “Councilman” in front of each name, and that this would be an inclusive Council. She noted only three days after this statement, people read in the newspaper that the Democrat majority forced the resignation of the Town Manager with no discussion or input with minority members.
Ms. Ryan pointed out the Town Manager’s performance was recently reviewed and publicly praised. She stated her belief the Town Manager apparently pointed out the follies of some of the Democrats’ decisions.
Ms. Ryan stated citizens of Enfield elect an 11-member Council – not a Mayor or Deputy Mayor. She noted those are ceremonial positions. She noted citizens expect that all 11
elected members will be allowed input into the government of Enfield. She stated the citizens expect a “democratic” process, not a “Democrat” process.
She stated the previous two mayors, one a Republican and one a Democrat, understood this and they ran their Councils accordingly. She stated her belief Enfield deserves nothing less than that from this current Mayor.
Mary Lou Strom, 17 Matthewson Avenue
Stated she was a municipal employee for 18 years and served as either an appointed or elected official for 24 years, and during that period she worked with a variety of Town Managers. She noted Scott Shanley is one of the most competent she’s ever dealt with, whether he agreed or disagreed with a Council decision. She stated Mr. Shanley always carried out those decisions with the utmost of professionalism. She noted no employee, especially with someone of Mr. Shanley’s integrity, deserves the treatment he’s received in the last week.
Ms. Strom stated she attended the Organizational meeting and was encouraged when she listened to the newly elected Mayor speak of unity. She noted when the Republicans lost the majority in 2001, Mayor Vayda also spoke of unity, however, he kept his word.
She stated on Tuesday, the Democrat majority caucused and decided to seek the resignation and removal of the Town Manager. She noted on Wednesday, the Mayor summoned the Town Manager to meet with him, the Deputy Mayor and Town Attorney and demanded his resignation. She stated a few hours prior to that meeting, the Mayor called the Republican minority leader to inform him that this decision had been made.
Ms. Strom stated no matter the outcome and final decision, either a Special Meeting with an Executive Session should have been called, or an item in Executive Session placed on tonight’s agenda so that all eleven elected officials would have the time for a discussion, to raise questions, and to have input, as well as discussion with the Town Manager before this decision was made.
She stated after all of the rhetoric at the November 14th meeting, the first action taken by the Democrat majority completely excluded participation or input from their Republican peers. She noted she found it interesting that one of the two newly elected Democrats stated in the newspaper that Mr. Shanley and the Democrat majority have incompatible philosophies about managing the Town’s finances when neither one of the two Democrat Councilmen has ever worked on the Town budget or worked with the Town Manager on any finance issues.
Ms. Strom stated it was also reported in the newspaper that the Democrat majority is looking to appoint the Town Attorney as the Acting Town Manager. She noted she
worked with Attorney Bromson as the Town Attorney for 14 years, and he did an excellent job. She went on to note that despite his expertise as an attorney, he has no experience in running a town. She pointed out Mr. Vindigni has been a trusted and capable Assistant Town Manager for more than 15 years, and when former Town Manager, Louis Hayward, was forced to resign by the Democrat majority, Mr. Vindigni stepped in and kept the organization together admirably and was totally professional and apolitical. She stated there is no doubt that Mr. Vindigni would show the same qualities now. She noted stepping over Mr. Vindigni in this appointment is not only an unconscionable disservice to him, but to the Town as well. She stated the Assistant Town Manager is a trained professional municipal employee, and the Town Attorney is a political appointee of the Council. She noted the Deputy Mayor stated in the paper that the people just have to trust the Democrat majority to do the right thing.
Debbie Moody, 62 Belmont Avenue
Congratulated the new Town Council on their election.
Ms. Moody stated she has seen projects come and go in Thompsonville. She noted she has seen Hazardville center built up, and she feels they need to revitalize Thompsonville. She stated her impression there are drug problems downtown and community policing isn’t working. She added landlords are not responsible for the upkeep of their properties. She pointed out the revitalization that took place in Northampton, and stated Thompsonville needs some vision. She referred to what was done in Hazardville. She noted new walkways were placed in that area where no one seems to walk, however, there are many pedestrians downtown where there are broken sidewalks. She feels there needs to be more police presence downtown on a consistent and long-term basis.
Ms. Moody questioned the practice of giving bonuses to employees, in particular the two new Public Works employees that were transferred from the Board of Education.
She concluded stating her belief an ideal usage of the Higgins building would be to renovate it for elderly housing. She stated her hope the Council will form a Committee to look at the best usage for this building.
Laurence Avery, 148 Pleasant Street
Congratulated Councilmen on their election.
Mr. Avery stated his impression police presence has increased over the past couple years, however, perhaps there needs to be more neighborhood watch groups.
Mr. Avery stated he was happy to see the athletic field referendum pass. He noted in the future perhaps they’ll see the Thanksgiving football game played on Wednesday evening
instead of Thanksgiving Day. He pointed out of the eight area Thanksgiving games being played, three are being played the night before Thanksgiving.
Mrs. Collins, the Hazardville Section
Stated her belief that if there was to be a sweep of the Town, she would prefer to see it start at the Board of Education. She urged the Council not to spend a lot of time changing the names of Town buildings. She also urged the Council to get off the topic of the Information Technology issue until the Town can get organized in other areas.
Mrs. Collins stated her hope the Mayor will follow through on his promise to help flood victims.
Mrs. Collins praised the Citizens Police Academy which is put on by the Enfield Police Department. She noted this is an excellent program.
Margaret Jedziniak, 232 Abbe Road
Read from a newspaper article concerning a 2003 survey of math and science literacy. She noted this test shows that the U.S. starts out with sufficient intelligence, but then loses ground by the high school level. She stated the U.S. spends more than $440 billion each year on public education and spends more per capita than any other nation except Switzerland. She stated a survey in 2000 revealed that 38% of math teachers and 28% of science teachers in Grades 7 to 12 lacked a college major or minor in their subject area. She noted she called the Director of Human Resources for the Board of Education and questioned how many Enfield teachers have majored in the subject they teach, and he stated all Enfield teachers are being evaluated and are required to have a certificate to teach. She noted he also said teachers only have to pass an equivalency as to how many hours they have studied a subject. She stated the Director did not have any figures on how many teachers have a major. Ms. Jedziniak stated her belief teachers don’t have majors in the subject that they’re teaching, and all they need is a certificate. She noted out of 19 comparable towns, 12 are ahead of Enfield in math, science, reading and writing. She questioned why so much money is spent on Enfield’s school system if they aren’t getting a “bang for their buck”.
Ms. Jedziniak stated she wished the Town Manager well. She stated her belief and her impression his one important fault was that he wasn’t a people person. She stated her hope a new Town Manager will have more diplomacy.
She stated her belief one of the reasons that the police contract became such a fiasco was that it went into binding arbitration, and the Town Manager prided himself that no negotiation he was involved in ever had gone that far.
Ms. Jedziniak expressed her disappointment with the memorandum she received in response to her inquiry about the gas usage in the Public Works Department. She noted she wants to know who is using the gas from the Public Works’ pumps.
Ms. Jedziniak commended the Police Department for the Citizens Police Academy. She noted they should better advertise this program.
Alice Egan, 34 High Meadow Lane
Stated her belief the Town Manager did an excellent job. She noted when he came on board, the morale at Town Hall was lower than it ever was. She stated Mr. Shanley was written up in national magazines about how he brought up morale at Town Hall. She stated the previous Mayor was comfortable working with the Town Manager.
COUNCILMEN COMMUNICATIONS & PETITIONS
Councilman Mangini requested status reports on the following items:
· Hazardville Water situation
· Missing names on veterans’ monument in Scitico
· Police vests
· Remaining funds – JFK field
Councilman Mangini stated the Thompsonville Fire Department has helped out with the process of getting donations for Loaves and Fishes. She urged people to help out Loaves and Fishes, especially around the holidays.
MOTION #8091 by Councilman Hilinski, seconded by Councilman Mangini to move Items 13 c, d, e, f, i, j and k to Miscellaneous this evening.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8091 adopted 11-0-0.
Councilman Hilinski referred to the question regarding the bonus given the Public Works employees and explained this was to facilitate the transfer of the grounds crews from the Board of Education to the Town side. He noted they had to negotiate with the union representing the groundskeepers, and the $2,500 was a settlement that they agreed to as part of the union agreement, and it was meant to compensate the groundskeepers for their loss of overtime when they transferred to the Town.
Councilman Peruta questioned if the Town looked into outsourcing the storage of archival records. He also questioned if there’s a policy on Public Works’ fuel usage, and if so, he requested this policy be distributed to the Council.
MOTION #8092 by Councilman Kaupin, seconded by Councilman Mangini to move Item 13g to 10a on this evening’s agenda.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8092 adopted 11-0-0.
Councilman Kaupin stated he received an e-mail from Congressman Simmons’ office, and he passed it onto Mayor Tallarita. He noted some additional funding has been secured through Congress for projects in Enfield. He stated part of the package is the $900,000 for improvements to the sidewalks along Raffia Road. He noted $750,000 is for the creation of a pedestrian bike path on the Route 190 bridge in Enfield. He pointed out that is linking Enfield to Suffield. He pointed out Congressman Simmons will be in Enfield on Friday, December 2 for the presentation of those checks.
Councilman Kaupin stated Pack 108 recently raised a lot of money and food donations for the Thanksgiving food drive for the Enfield Food Shelf.
Councilman Nelson thanked everyone for their support in electing him to the Town Council. As concerns Ms. Ryan’s comment about the Council’s decision to ask for the resignation of the Town Manager, he emphasized it was not the Town Council. He noted the Town Council consists of eleven people, but rather it was Mayor Tallarita and company who made that decision without the Council. He noted the Republicans believed in Patrick Tallarita and they supported him as Mayor, however, he feels he’s gone back on his word, and he will no longer support him as Mayor and he will not be Mayor in his eyes. He stated he treats people the way he is treated, and he feels he has been treated wrongly, and he will let it be known.
Councilman Crowley stated he received a call about a tree stuck in Freshwater Pond. Mr. Vindigni stated Public Works is aware of that problem.
Councilman Crowley requested an update on Prospect Street.
Councilman Crowley stated the Enfield Ramblers “C” Team completed an undefeated season, and they won the North Central Connecticut Conference Football Association Superbowl title at Enfield High School. He noted everyone is invited to the celebration banquet.
Councilman Edgar referred to Ms. Carr’s flooding problem and noted he worked on this three years ago when she had a problem. He stated his understanding that Ms. Carr followed every recommendation given to her at a considerable cost. He noted it appears the Town should be doing more than they are. He requested a full report from the Town Manager’s office regarding this situation. He noted he would be glad to walk through the area with Public Works.
TOWN MANAGER REPORT & COMMUNICATIONS
Mr. Vindigni stated he will provide a written report concerning the Prospect Street sanitary sewer improvements. As concerns the Scitico veterans’ monument, he explained the name plates were removed in order to refurbish the monument, and those plates have been properly stored by Public Works. He pointed out an Eagle Scout is working on this project and when that is done, the name plates will be returned to the monument.
Mr. Vindigni referred to the agenda and the $350 transfer under New Business under Consent Agenda and pointed out that is an error. He explained that should have been placed on the Consent Agenda under Items for Discussion.
TOWN ATTORNEY REPORT & COMMUNICATIONS
Attorney Bromson stated he had no report this evening.
REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEES OF THE COUNCIL
Councilman Mangini referred to the Health Care Reform Committee of the National League of Cities and noted they will have a wrap up in December, and their recommendations will be forwarded to Congress. She noted she has a final draft for the Council and a copy will be on record at Town Hall.
DISCUSSION RE: ENFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY’S MISSION PROCLAMATION
Peter Falk, Chairman of the Library Planning Committee was present for this topic.
Mr. Falk stated the Committee came before the Council in October and if there are any further questions, those can be raised so they can have the answers when they meet in two weeks. He noted it appears the item on the agenda looks like a proclamation, and he suggests perhaps it should be in a resolution format. Chairman Tallarita agreed and noted the Library Committee will probably be asked for the same presentation that was given in October so that the new Town Council can be informed.
APPOINTMENT (TOWN COUNCIL)
MOTION #8093 by Councilman Kaupin, seconded by Councilman Mangini to remove Item #11 from the table.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8093 adopted 11-0-0.
NOMINATION #8094 by Councilman Kaupin to appoint Peter Falk to the Patriots Award Committee for a term which expires 7/31/07.
MOTION #8095 by Councilman Crowley, seconded by Councilman Mangini to close nominations.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8095 adopted 11-0-0.
Upon a ROLL-CALL vote being taken, the Chair declared Peter Falk appointed to the Patriots Award Committee by an 11-0-0 vote.
MOTION #8096 by Councilman Kaupin, seconded by Councilman Mangini to remove Items 12, 13, 14 and 15 from the table.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8096 adopted 11-0-0.
NOMINATION #8097 by Councilman Kaupin to appoint to the Patriots Award Committee the following individuals:
- George MacDonald – from the Veterans Council
- Jason Jones – from the Fourth of July Celebration Committee
- Michael Pestana – from the Fourth of July Celebration Committee
- Anthony Torres – from the Veterans Council
MOTION #8098 by Councilman Crowley, seconded by Councilman Mangini to close nominations.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8098 adopted 11-0-0.
Upon a ROLL-CALL vote being taken, the Chair declared all nominees appointed to the Patriots Award Committee by an 11-0-0 vote.
All other Town Council appointments remained tabled.
APPOINTMENTS (TOWN MANAGER)
All Town Manager appointments remained tabled.
Items c., d., and e. remained tabled.
MOTION #8099 by Councilman Peruta, seconded by Councilman Crowley to remove item f. from the table.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8099 adopted 11-0-0.
DISCUSSION RE: VIDEOTAPING OF COUNCIL MEETINGS
Chairman Tallarita stated the Council is interested in videotaping meetings. He noted he had a conversation with the President of Asnuntuck and learned that college is working on a program to have a cooperative education program between the high school and community college to develop a program that would train people to use video equipment and do programming. He noted he suggested to the President that the Town work with them in this endeavor so that they could use Council meetings as a way of educating students on the techniques, but also educate them about Town government.
MOTION #8100 by Councilman Edgar, seconded by Councilman Mangini to retable this item.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8100 adopted 11-0-0.
Item g. remained tabled.
APPOINTMENTS (TOWN COUNCIL)
NOMINATION #8101 by Councilman Crowley to appoint Leonard DeLorge (D) to the Connecticut River Assembly as an Alternate for a term which expires 1/12/07.
MOTION #8102 by Councilman Kaupin, seconded by Councilman Hilinski to close nominations.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8102 adopted 11-0-0.
Upon a ROLL-CALL vote being taken, the Chair declared Leonard DeLorge appointed, as an alternate, to the Connecticut River Assembly by an 11-0-0 vote.
All other appointments will appear under Old Business on the next agenda.
ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION
DISCUSSION/RESOLUTION RE: AUTHORIZING THE TOWN MANAGER TO SIGN A LEASE AGREEMENT WITH JFP REALTY LLC
Mr. Vindigni explained this relates to storage of the voting machines. He noted there will be a briefing by staff at the next Council meeting on December 5th. He explained the lease agreement is still being reviewed by the Town Attorney’s office.
Councilman Crowley questioned which piece of property this involves, and Mr. Vindigni stated this is the old CL&P building on King Street which is currently owned by Enfield Builders.
Councilman Crowley questioned whether the voting machines could be stored over at Enfield High School’s facility, and Mr. Vindigni stated inquiries were made, and the School Department stated they don’t have space available to store voting machines.
Councilman Hilinski stated he did get in touch with the School Department earlier today, and Dr. Gallacher feels there might be some space at the Eli Whitney Elementary School, and he will be looking into that. Mr. Vindigni stated they will follow up with the School Department and provide an update at the December 5th meeting.
DISCUSSION/TRANSFER/RESOLUTION RE: 100 HIGH STREET-COMMUNITY CENTER PROJECT and
DISCUSSION RE: TOWN HALL PROJECT
Present for this discussion were Director of Public Works, John Kazmarski and Assistant Director of Public Works, Colleen Brand.
Ms. Brand stated Public Works approached the Town Council in July regarding roof replacement for the Town Hall. She noted this building has been in need of roof replacement for the past three years. She stated there is also the option of adding a full dormer on the backside of the building. She noted this would be an option to provide more space for the building. She added a canopy for the entrance has also been discussed to protect the public when entering and exiting the Council Chambers. She stated the Council’s packets contain an illustration of these proposals.
Ms. Brand stated this work has been put out to bid, and they’ve provided the costs that have come in from bidders. She noted at this time, they are looking for direction from the Council as to whether they wish to move forward with a dormer for the Town Hall.
Mr. Kazmarski stated a study was done about five years ago to look at the upper floors for office space since they do have a concern about the weight of the records being stored on those floors. He noted they considered utilizing the third floor as office space and moving records storage to the lowest level.
Councilman Kaupin requested clarification whether the budgeted money in CIP covers the base bid of the roof replacement, the canopy and the interior partition. He stated his understanding they don’t have money set aside for the dormer or concrete steps. Ms. Brand stated that’s correct.
Councilman Kaupin questioned whether Planning & Zoning approved this, and Ms. Brand responded yes. Councilman Kaupin questioned how many bids they received, and Ms. Brand responded one. Councilman Kaupin stated he finds the bid for the dormer excessive. He questioned if the Town would be better served if they went back out to bid. Mr. Kazmarski stated they could try to do some value engineering. He noted there are some HVAC units that would need to be moved around if they dormered the roof.
Councilman Kaupin stated his belief the cost is high, and there are a lot of competing projects that are going after dollars that don’t exist today.
Councilman Mangini stated her understanding there are additional costs above the construction costs, i.e., contingency costs, special inspections, etc.
Councilman Crowley questioned how much space a dormer would add, and Ms. Brand estimated about 3,900 square feet.
Councilman Edgar stated his belief they should do the roof and canopy now because bad weather is coming in.
Councilman Nelson questioned if this job has to be union scale wages. Ms. Brand stated if the job goes over $500,000, it does have to be a union project. Councilman Nelson questioned how the bids go out to contractors. He noted he spoke to a roofing contractor this morning, and he came up with a price of $108,000 to completely strip and re-roof the whole Town Hall with architectural 30-year shingle, which is better than what’s on the roof right now. He pointed out that is $100,000 less than the bid that came in. He stated his belief the bidding process isn’t working, and it appears the same particular contractor is getting all the jobs.
Mr. Kazmarski stated they advertised in the local newspapers and the Hartford Courant, as well as D.A.S., the state website. He noted this is not unique to this project because there have been other instances where they’ve had a poor response or no bid response. Councilman Nelson stated perhaps they can try another approach. Chairman Tallarita suggested Councilman Nelson and Mr. Kazmarski discuss this further and perhaps Councilman Nelson can come back to the Council with some ideas.
Councilman Lee questioned if they’re inclined to re-bid any part of this project, i.e., a portion of the roof. Ms. Brand stated that was a question when they presented this in July, and there was some concern over being able to maintain a warranty on the roof because they would only be doing half the roof. She noted there’s also the issue of how long it would be before the other half of the roof was done. She stated there’s also the concern over material inconsistencies. She pointed out this roof has been in need of replacement for several years. She noted about two years ago, they put just the roof out for bid, and they received no bids. She stated the back portion of the roof is in more dire need than the front portion.
Councilman Peruta raised the question of outsourcing the storage of records. Ms. Olechnicki stated if they were to store off site, they would need permission from the state. She went on to note that they’re still in the process of paring down the records they currently have in storage because it would be foolish to store records they really don’t need. She noted they’re working with all the departments to determine what should be kept.
Councilman Peruta stated his belief they should at least put a new roof on Town Hall to keep everything dry. He noted a dormer can be discussed at another time.
Councilman Maxellon questioned whether a dormer would be adequate for records storage. Mr. Kazmarski stated they have two concerns – the amount of loading on the third floor with records storage and the existing leaks from the roof. Councilman Maxellon questioned why the fit-up wasn’t included in the budgeting, and how would they pay for the fit-up. Mr. Kazmarski stated one of the alternatives they looked at was to use their on-call contractors to do the fit-out.
Chairman Tallarita questioned when they would go forward if the roof replacement were approved. Ms. Brand stated they’d go forward immediately. Chairman Tallarita questioned how serious the leaking is, and Mr. Kazmarski responded it’s a gamble to wait. Ms. Brand added patchwork could be done to take them through to spring.
Mr. Vindigni questioned how long the re-roofing would take if the weather cooperated, and Ms. Brand estimated four to six weeks.
Chairman Tallarita questioned when the concrete steps should be done. Ms. Brand stated the architect included the steps as an add-on alternate. She noted they can be patched.
Councilman Nelson pointed out a dormer would actually result in only adding another 1,000 square feet with windows for $500,000.
Councilman Hilinski questioned if they had a specification when they went out to bid that delineated everything. Ms. Brand responded yes.
It was the consensus of the Council that some patchwork will be done during the winter months. Further investigation will be made in the following areas:
· Off site storage costs
· Review the bid process
· Re-bidding the work
Discussion then followed regarding 100 High Street. Ms. Brand stated the Council’s package contains the apparent low bidder for the demolition of the small addition behind this building. She noted during the summer, they moved forward with some of the renovations recommended by the Council-appointed Committee. She noted the great hall is looking very nice. She pointed out a significant amount of plaster work has been done in this area, and the whole great hall has been repainted. She stated they are now before the Council to request additional funding to be able to enter into a contract with the low bidder to remove the back addition and start doing the minor renovations to the existing interior of the building.
Councilman Kaupin questioned how close they are with the additional $65,000 in how the scope of the project was laid out. Ms. Brand stated so far the numbers have been fairly close to what they estimated, and it appears it’s just slightly underfunded.
Councilman Kaupin questioned if they’re taking $65,000 under the General Fund Unallocated Balance, what remains in that account. Mr. Vindigni stated this was a very late request from the Public Works Department, and the Finance Director was unavailable the day these requests came with these funding sources. He recommended this go to New Business, and that will give the staff sufficient time to meet with the Public Works management to go over the project. He noted he’s reluctant to concur on using Fund Balance at this time. He noted he can come back to the Council with the information as to where the money can come from.
Councilman Kaupin stated his belief they should move forward to complete this work since they are now 80% done.
Chairman Tallarita stated this was a project that was endorsed in the budget process.
Ms. Brand questioned whether the Council would consider extending at least the $11,000 in order for them to sign the contract and move forward, and then they could decide where the rest of the funding will be taken from.
Mr. Simmons stated if the Council gives the verbal “OK” that this will be approved at a future meeting, then Public Works can go forward with their contract and get the paperwork done. It was the consensus of the Council to approve this.
DISCUSSION RE: ATHLETIC FIELDS
Chairman Tallarita stated Councilmen have been getting a lot of calls from individuals who would like to serve on the committee that will oversee the athletic field project. He noted he would like information put out for the public to inform them if they’re interested in serving on this committee they should fill out the Town application to serve on boards or commissions. He noted in this way the Council can compile all of those names of people who have a willingness to serve on this committee. He stated his goals is to see
this committee up and running by the end of the year.
Councilman Nelson raised the possibility of including on this committee students from each high school so that they can keep their schools updated.
Chairman Tallarita requested the next Council packet include the most recent documentation as well as cost estimates for this project.
RESOLUTION #8103 by Councilman Edgar, seconded by Councilman Mangini.
RESOLVED, that the Town Council accepts the resignation of Scott Shanley as Town Manager, effective November 23, 2005, and ratifies the understanding reached with him that he will receive severance benefits for a period of 180 days as set forth in his employment agreement.
Councilman Kaupin stated in the 12 years he has been on the Council, this has been the most difficult week he has had in association with the Town Council. He noted it’s not the action taken, but rather the process in which it was fulfilled. He stated when he first came onto the Council in 1993, the Democrat majority at that time did the same thing and chased the Town Manager out without the discussion, consent, involvement of the Republican minority at that time. He noted at that time the community woke up, and he hopes they’re waking up to this as well.
He stated he served with Scott Shanley, and he was a very good Town Manager. He noted they didn’t agree 100% of the time, but he always found him to be a fair, competent and direct Town Manager who did his best to put aside partisan politics. He noted he worked well in Republican and Democrat majorities. He stated a person always knew where he was coming from as a Town Manager.
Councilman Kaupin stated he’s really disappointed by the seven Democrats for initiating the process, because it was initiated during a campaign. He noted two Council members never formally served with the Town Manager, but they had an opinion.
He noted the motto of the Democrats during the campaign was “promises made and delivered”. He stated anyone that’s been involved long enough in politics in Enfield knows that 95% of the work is done by the Town Manager and his staff. He noted two weeks ago, the Democrats were praising all of their accomplishments, and the accomplishments were the success of the Town Manager and all Councils going back under his tenure. He noted two days after being sworn in, the Democrats felt it was time for him to go.
Councilman Kaupin stated he received a call from the Mayor about 2:00 p.m. telling him the decision had been made and that they would be meeting with the Town Manager. He noted on November 9th, a Democrat was talking to local businesses in Enfield and stated at this time the police are escorting Scott Shanley out of his office and the he was fired. He stated his belief the Democrats may have flexed their muscle, but he feels this did real damage to Enfield because the process used makes it even more difficult to recruit a competent replacement for the Town Manager, and they will have to deal with that for many years to come. He feels new Council members have been thrown into a firestorm because of a decision made during a campaign.
Councilman Kaupin stated he had a nice conversation with Scott Shanley over the weekend, and he wants him to support this resolution because he no longer wants to work where he is not appreciated and where his work isn’t appreciated. He noted in supporting this resolution, he’s not sure he’s endorsing this process.
He urged Councilmembers when going forward to be true to their comments and pledges when they were sworn in and make this an open Council of eleven. He noted the Democrats have the power to make this a Council of seven, but that won’t serve the community well. He pointed out he doesn’t mind losing every single vote he’s part of as long as he has had his right to speak. He pointed out Mayors Strom and Vayda always let anyone have the right to speak and be part of the process and not take a rash action without thorough conversation, and this is needed if they’re really going to move forward as a community.
He concluded stating these actions make him want to symbolically take back his support for Mayor Tallarita and Deputy Mayor Hilinski that he gave them last Monday evening. He stated his hope the Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s actions will earn his trust again and make him feel he’s really part of a Council of eleven.
Councilman Nelson stated Scott Shanley advised against taking money from the drainage projects, but it was done anyway. He noted whether or not it would have changed the result of flooding is not known. He stated the Town Manager was hired to do the job and do it the best way he thought. He noted part of that is his speaking his mind. He stated when he was a builder and came to Town Hall and had a problem with one of the departments, the Town Manager took care of it immediately. He stated he does not support the Mayor, and he does not support the resolution to accept the Town Manager’s resignation.
Councilman Ragno stated he had given his support to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor thinking there would be dialog, communication and reasoning for the good of the town, and with this process, he found that extremely lacking. He stated to this day, he does not know the reason why Scott Shanley is submitting his resignation. He stated his belief this is the wrong step to take, just as some of the other actions that follow-up this resignation are going to be the wrong decision. He noted a Town Attorney is a town attorney because of his legal expertise. He noted the second in charge is supposed to assume command. He feels the politics being played in Enfield are not right, and people have to take notice of that. He concluded stating he cannot endorse this process, since he wasn’t part of this process.
Councilman Lee requested for the record that the Mayor state the reasons for which this request was made to the Town Manager. Chairman Tallarita responded no.
Councilman Peruta stated he got onto the Town Council two years ago, and they campaigned as a group on inclusion. He noted as he looks at what they’ve done in the past two years, it was rare when they voted down party lines. He stated this has been an inclusionary Council for the past two years. He noted he respects the opinions of the Republicans and understands why they feel the way they feel. He stated they tried very hard over the past two years to make sure everyone was involved along the way, and every vote proved that, except for the last budget vote. He noted everyone told him things would change with the last budget vote because it’s an election year, and it was just as they said. He noted it was an open Council of eleven. He stated by the nature of what they do as Democrats and Republicans and Enfield taxpayers, they are at times motivated politically, but they have to consider the possibility decisions aren’t always politically motivated. He noted people, for whatever the reason, believe that the decisions they’re making are the right decisions.
Councilman Peruta referred to a year ago when they were addressing the EMS issue and noted two Council members did not agree with the Town Council and they voted no, therefore, they were in the minority. He noted they knew some of the people who voted in the majority were politically motivated, however, others believed they were really making the right decision. As concerns the present, they have to consider there are people who really believe this is the right decision for the Town of Enfield.
As concerns his and another Councilman’s vote on the EMS issue, they decided to support this going forward because the Council as a whole voted for it. He noted the Council came together and is working hard as they can to make sure Enfield EMS is the best it can be.
Councilman Peruta stated with this issue, they will move forward and do what’s best for Enfield.
Councilman Nelson stated Mayor Tallarita is only as strong as the people behind him, and he doesn’t know what promises he has made to make Democrats side with him.
Councilman Ragno stated he’s disappointed in the process. He stated his belief it’s inappropriate to vote on a resolution for the resignation of the Town Manager when he doesn’t know the reason why.
Councilman Crowley stated it wasn’t just the Mayor and Deputy Mayor that made this decision. He noted they did have a caucus and discuss this and had a unanimous vote.
Councilman Edgar stated there was no promise.
Chairman Tallarita stated for two years he worked very hard to make this Council work together and will continue to do so. He noted there are actions that have to be taken at some point. He noted this was a very difficult week for him. He stated his comments have been noted in the paper as to why he believed they needed to move forward in this direction, and he wishes Mr. Shanley and his family the best in their future endeavors.
Upon a ROLL-CALL vote being taken, the Chair declared RESOLUTION #8103 adopted 7-2-2, with Councilmen Nelson and Lee voting against the resolution and Councilman Kaupin and Ragno abstaining.
RESOLUTION #8104 by Councilman Edgar, seconded by Councilman Hilinski.
RESOLVED, that the Town Council hereby appoints a Search Committee for the position of Town Manager, consisting of the Mayor and Council members Scott Kaupin and Kenneth Hilinski. Further resolved, that the Council authorizes the Search Committee to work with the Acting Town Manager, Town Attorney, and the Director of Human Resources to recruit for the position of Town Manager, and to expend such sums as are reasonably necessary to conduct the recruitment and selection process.
Councilman Kaupin requested some detailed information as to what the vision is for the process for the selection of the new Town Manager. He noted over ten years ago, when replacing Louis Hayward, his understanding of the process was that there was a subcommittee of the Council formed and that subcommittee did a lot of the preliminary background work. He noted a consultant was hired who initiated the application process, there was an initial review of the applications, those that met the qualifications were weeded out and then those applications were passed on to the selection committee who further weeded it down to a group of five individuals. He stated the full Council then interviewed the candidates and it was a vote of the full Council on the hiring of the new Town Manager. He questioned if it’s anticipated the same process will be followed. Chairman Tallarita responded yes, and the search committee can detail out that whole process for dissemination to the entire Council as they go forward.
Upon a ROLL-CALL vote being taken, the Chair declared RESOLUTION #8104 adopted 11-0-0.
RESOLUTION #8105 by Councilman Edgar, seconded by Councilman Mangini.
RESOLVED, that the Town Council hereby appoints Christopher Bromson as Acting Town Manager effective November 24, 2005, to serve in such position at the pleasure of the Town Council.
Councilman Kaupin acknowledged the Town Attorney is a great person with a sound legal mind and has done great work for the Town, however, the bottom line is that Attorney Bromson is a political appointment every two years and receives bi-partisan support. He stated his belief Enfield needs a manager with town management experience. He stated his preference for someone within Town Hall that knows Enfield inside and out, therefore, he cannot support this.
Councilman Kaupin stated any time Attorney Bromson ran for Town Attorney, he told him he would not serve as Town Attorney unless he had unanimous support of the Council. He noted he sees a change here, and the Town Attorney told him he did not want this position, however, he is now taking it. He stated he finds this disappointing. He feels this makes for conflicts of interest in the decisions they have to make and he feels this is a wrong step that the Council is about to make. He stated this is beginning to change his attitude toward the Town Attorney, and he really regrets the Town Attorney moving forward with this.
Councilman Mangini voiced her support for Attorney Bromson to serve as the acting interim Town Manager. She noted Attorney Bromson has served at the pleasure of the Council for over 14 years, and he has done a fantastic job and he has not once compromised the office of the Town Attorney or the Town. She stated he has represented Enfield very well, and the Town is very fortunate to have his services. She noted she feels comfortable that most of the people on the Council do not feel that Attorney Bromson would put this Town or any member of the Town staff in a compromised position by serving in this interim position.
Councilman Nelson questioned whether Attorney Bromson has any experience as a Town Manager. He noted Dan Vindigni has been Assistant Town Manager through several Town Managers and Councilmen. He noted the Council has a tough budget coming up.
He stated his belief this is an insult to Mr. Vindigni who has served the Town for the past 14 years. He stated there was no previous discussion with the full Council regarding this resolution.
Councilman Peruta stated during his two years on the Council, Mr. Vindigni did a great job and was incredibly responsive. He added he has been very impressed with how Attorney Bromson represented the Town. He stated his belief that what will make Attorney Bromson successful will be the staff of the Town Manager’s office. He pointed out that team will still be in place, and putting Attorney Bromson in this position will just compliment that team. He pointed out Scott Shanley was extremely proud of his staff.
Councilman Edgar stated his decision in this is not political. He noted he knew Attorney Bromson’s father, who was a very good friend of his, and he was completely unbiased as an attorney and judge. He pointed out Christopher Bromson has followed in his father’s footsteps. He noted his main reason for voting for Attorney Bromson as interim acting Town Manager is because of the current litigation and legal matters that are before the Town, and he can serve better by wearing both hats at this time.
Councilman Lee questioned if Attorney Bromson can serve as Town Attorney and Acting Town Manager simultaneously.
Attorney Bromson stated he would not have entertained this, even if the majority wanted him to, if he did not think he would have the full support of Dan Vindigni, the Finance Director, his own staff, and the rest of the staff. He noted he did not seek this position. He pointed out this position is for three months, and the bulk of the work will be done by the staff. He stated there is no conflict of interest. He pointed out the Town’s labor lawyer stated there is no legal conflict whatsoever. He noted Hartford has done this and Manchester is currently having one of their Town Attorneys serve as the Acting Town Manager while they seek another one. He stated he absolutely would not do this if he thought there was a conflict of any kind. He noted it was felt that Mr. Vindigni should stay in his position, and if he were elevated, there would only be one person in the Town Manager’s office, and that is a loss they couldn’t afford at this time. He noted he will do everything in his power to make this work.
Councilman Nelson questioned if the Town Attorney will be working full-time. Attorney Bromson stated he will not commit to being here from 9:00 to 5:00 p.m., however, he’s present as Town Attorney almost everyday and he can be reached at his firm and through e-mail and faxes, and he anticipates doing that. He noted he will rely on Dan Vindigni when it’s necessary for him to be at meetings. Councilman Nelson stated his belief that doesn’t make any sense. Chairman Tallarita stated his understanding the Town Attorney will put in a number of hours and the duties that are required in order to accomplish the task of being the Town Manager and he will function as the Town Attorney as well. He pointed out this is not uncommon because there have been instances in the past where people have performed two different functions as well.
Councilman Kaupin stated the problem is that the Town Attorney was too close to the forced resignation of Scott Shanley because he was in on that meeting with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. He feels this is the wrong decision and it’s the wrong person in the job since he’s needed elsewhere and he’s too close to the process that led to this. He added his belief this interim position will last longer than three months.
Upon a ROLL-CALL vote being taken, the Chair declared RESOLUTION #8105 adopted 7-4-0, with Councilman Kaupin Lee, Nelson and Ragno voting against the resolution.
RESOLUTION #8106 by Councilman Mangini, seconded by Councilman Hilinski.
RESOLVED, that in accordance with Chapter VI, Section 8(f) of the Town Charter, the following transfer is hereby made:
Other Professional Services $23,000.00
Legal Services 20,000.00
FROM: Contingency $43,000.00
I hereby certify the amount of $43,000.00 is available from Account #Contingency as of 11/7/2005.
/s/ Gregory Simmons, Director of Finance
Upon a ROLL-CALL vote being taken, the Chair declared RESOLUTION #8106 adopted 11-0-0.
RESOLUTION #8107 by Councilman Mangini, seconded by Councilman Peruta.
RESOLVED, that in accordance with Chapter VI, Section 8(f) of the Town Charter, the following transfer is hereby made:
TO: Capital Improvement Program
Brainerd Park Improvements
Bank-Ball Court $40,000.00
FROM: Capital Improvement Program
Unallocated Fund Balance $40,000.00
I hereby certify the amount of $40,000.00 is available from the Capital Improvement Program Unallocated Fund Balance as of November 21, 2005.
/s/ Gregory Simmons, Director of Finance
Mr. Vindigni stated thanks to the generosity of Mass Mutual paying for the new playscape at Brainerd Park, the Town now has funding available to address the next phase of the Brainerd Park Recreation Master Plan. He noted this would be adjacent to the existing playscape, and it is a bank-ball/basketball court. He explained these are basketball hoops of varying heights for children, including children in wheelchairs. He noted they do have site plan approval, and their goal is to move forward in the spring since they were set back by October’s foul weather.
Councilman Mangini thanked Mr. Vindigni for following through on this project. She noted this is an important project, particularly for children and adults with physical disabilities.
Upon a ROLL-CALL vote being taken, the Chair declared RESOLUTION #8107 adopted 11-0-0.
MOTION #8108 by Councilman Mangini, seconded by Councilman Lee to waive the reading of the resolution.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8108 adopted 11-0-0.
RESOLUTION #8109 by Councilman Mangini, seconded by Councilman Lee.
Transfer/Resolution - Funding for Grounds Maintenance
Councilman Kaupin questioned whether this is the full picture of what grounds maintenance will be for the school system. Mr. McAlmond stated also included in these numbers are the recently approved contract increases.
Upon a ROLL-CALL vote being taken, the Chair declared RESOLUTION #8109 adopted 11-0-0.
RESOLUTION #8110 by Councilman Hilinski, seconded by Councilman Mangini.
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Enfield Town Council does hereby authorize the Town Manager to sign the municipal certificate for the lease of two (2) Medtronic Life Pak 12 cardiac monitor/defibrillators with battery support systems, for use by the Town of Enfield Emergency Medical Service Division. The lease is for a term of three years to begin on the date the equipment is received by the Division.
Councilman Nelson questioned if they’re bound to this lease. Mr. Vindigni stated this was based on the experience of the team using the equipment, and they felt this model would serve them best. He noted obviously the technology changes over time, however, he assumes they will be using these for three years, and once the lease expires, if there’s an opportunity to look at something that would do a better job based on technology improvements, they can make the move then.
Upon a ROLL-CALL vote being taken, the Chair declared RESOLUTION #8110 adopted 11-0-0.
Chairman Tallarita thanked the Council and apologized for the first meeting having to be this type of meeting. He stated his hope they’ll move forward from here in a cooperative fashion.
MOTION #8111 by Councilman Mangini, seconded by Councilman Crowley to adjourn.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #8111 adopted 11-0-0, and the meeting stood adjourned at 10:36 p.m.