OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
November 9, 2013
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:34 am at the town office. Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Earl Holtz, and Edee Edwards. Others present were Jessica Bruno, Joe Tamburrino, Charlene Martynowski, Brad Rafus, Peggy Rafus, Sara Barnett, Keith Stone, Vicki Stone, Mike Fournier, Kaitlin Stone, and Patty Dow.
40 Hour Work Week
Holtz presented the wage data he had compiled with the town treasurer for the last 6-7 years. He showed how those wages compared to VLCT medians and how they compare to other local towns. He presented current projected wages using current rates ($228,912 initial figure of which $18,616 is overtime), projected wage rates when going to a 40 hour week ($228,947 initial figure of which $38,895 is overtime), and projected rates going to a 40 hour week adding a 2.5% increase ($234,671 initial figure of which $39867 is overtime). Edwards noted that when they add an increase to the budget, it has to cover everything (growth in overtime, expense overages etc). They added to the budget in an attempt to reflect reality and they have yet to hit the target. Edwards added that she would like to do reviews in Nov/Dec when they are in the budget process so they can budget better for merit increases. Tamburrino inquired why the road crew has not received their raises yet- it was voted on, they had their reviews, and they should have received it by now. Edwards replied that there is an expectation that there is an across the board raise regardless of merit. There is a shift in the way they are trying to approach it and the process is important to get right. A percent increase in the budget does not necessarily mean a raise. As part of the discussion about cost, Martynowski noted that it is likely that the grand list will be dropping (as sales have hit rockbottom) which means that taxes will go up. There was a discussion about the possibility that the town members could question why we have one more member of the road crew compared to similar towns. Sumner replied that those towns have fewer miles of roads. Keith Stone added that at a recent VLCT road meeting it was mentioned that the state maybe enforcing new standards such as limiting road maintenance to 10mi per employee, and they may only allow 12 hour shifts which would require at least 5 backups.
Many attendees expressed their frustration with the length of time it has taken to make decisions about the 40 hour week and whether they would be receiving raises.
There was another lengthy discussion about the ride-along policy. The current policy is they need to request permission from the road commissioner and the Selectboard and sign a waiver. No change was made to that policy.
It was requested that if they go to a 40 hour work week, it be posted in the newspaper so the townspeople are informed. The group discussed summer hours (doing four 10 hour days versus five 8 hour days) and it was determined the road commissioner would determine the best way to schedule hours. This led to a discussion about holiday pay hours when working four 10 hour days.
Sumner made a motion to give the road crew a raise effective December 1, 2013 reflective of the 40 hour work week wages plus the 2.5% additional increase and to increase Fournier up to Barnett’s pay level. The motion was not seconded.
Holtz made a motion to adjust road crew hours to 40 hours per week starting December 1, 2013 with adjustments to pay rates as follows: Ben Barnett $16.36, Mike Fournier $15.95, Travis Briggs $18.24, Keith Stone $20.84, and Brad Rafus $22.26. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.
Follow up items:
-Forward rate changes to the town treasurer
-Finish the personnel policy- get VLCT responses to questions and forward disciplinary policy to the town attorney.
-Sumner will draft a waiver for the town ride along policy
-A meeting will be held at 5:00pm on Friday 11/15/13 so that the employees can set up their health insurance accounts with assistance from a navigator.
Hearing of Visitors
Edwards asked that the other Selectboard members come to the next budget meeting with a clear dollar target. There was a brief discussion about the possibility of considering a small bond to finish bridge projects. Dow expressed that if they are going to consider a bond in the next year they would need a different audit this year.
Keith Stone led a discussion about the guardrail posts that will be put in by the road crew. Due to the new blacktop, space constraints, and boulder issues, his opinion was the posts need to be pounded in and not dug with an excavator. Rafus expressed that you may have the same issues pounding them in, but they may be able to hire someone on an hourly basis to pound the posts in.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:25am.