Regionalization is key, more grants available for Plympton
PLYMPTON – On Monday, Dec. 7, Plympton Selectmen discussed the progress of the employee handbook, which is being prepared over several weeks; Selectperson Christine Joy presented a new Community Compact grant opportunity for further regionalization purposes; and the concept of “municipal aggregation,” was introduced, referring to purchasing electricity with other municipalities to get better rates.
The “employment document,” as it is being called, is coming together as a full-fledged employee handbook. The Board has taken similar documents from other towns, as well as suggestions from Town Counsel, and “cutting and pasting” the best parts.
At this point, a hiring policy, a recruitment policy as well as a CORI policy have been adopted.
Selectmen discussed a disciplinary policy on Monday, although the exact language was not voted. They were referring to a model from the Town’s attorney, and it was based on a model of “progressive discipline,” whereby warnings are given before eventual termination.
Where the Board did not have a comprehensive list of rules to be broken – or followed – this section continues to be a work in progress until they can develop a protocol.
The process has included input from all three Board members, as well as Town Coordinator Dale Pleau, who has been gathering comparative documents from many Massachusetts towns.
Next up: a uniform employment application for all Town positions.
Selectperson Joy notified the board that a new round of Community Compact grants are available.
Plympton just signed a document with the Commonwealth awarding three financially focused grants to the town.
The Community Compact Cabinet is offering a new grant opportunity to help towns study the possible benefits of regionalizing – sharing – certain services.
Board Chairman Mark Russo has been encouraging further discussions with neighboring communities on regionalization for months, but notes the difficulty in getting busy officials from differing towns into the same room. “It’s like herding cats.”
The Selectmen authorized Joy to apply for the grant.
Though it might sound like “regionalization,” or even combining towns, municipal aggregation is a term that refers to the purchase of electricity for residents in bulk together with other communities to get the best rate.
Joy recently attended a presentation on this topic by the Old Colony Planning Council.
The basic premise is that multiple towns hire a third-party “aggregator” who seeks out the lowest possible price for electricity. Lower prices are due to the increased purchasing power of a group of towns buying together.
A resident could choose to opt out and no one would see a change in the company that their bill comes from. The savings would be modest, according to Joy, although she mentioned that very conservative estimates were presented by the OCPC.
Several towns in the county have expressed interest, and the Board will continue to explore the matter.
“It’s an interesting opportunity,” said Joy.
In Other News:
• Just Right Farm was issued a Common Victualler’s License. Because Chairman Russo lives at Just Right Farm, he recused himself from the vote.
• The Selectmen will meet next on December 14th and December 21st at 6 p.m. in the Committee Meeting Room.
• The Public Safety Building Committee will meet next on December 16th and December 30th at 6 p.m. in the Committee Meeting Room.