Plympton Selectmen met Monday, April 24, with the Finance Committee to hear a presentation from Dick Kobayashi from the Collins Center. The Board is considering using the Collins Center’s services to assist in hiring a town administrator.
The UMASS Boston based Collin’s Center was established by the state legislature in July, 2008, to focus on improving public management, particularly at the state and local level. The Collins Center offers a variety of services, including staffing.
Kobayashi began by highlighting the experience of the staff at the Collins Center, saying that although it’s part of UMASS Boston, all of the people that work at the Center have worked in towns. Kobayashi says, “No students and no academics are used.”
Kobayashi then went through the process the Collins Center uses to assist filling public roles. He said they start by interviewing members of the Board of Selectmen in a one-on-one setting. They also will interview members of the community who are active in the town, as identified by the Board.
According to Kobayashi, the purpose of these individual interviews is to determine the values of the town and what they are looking for in a candidate.
Selectmen then set up a screening committee to work closely with the Collins Group to examine the pool of candidates. This committee will screen and narrow down the list of potential candidates to about ten to twelve members.
These final candidates will be brought before the board for interviews during open session, as required by Massachusetts General Law. Kobayashi told the board, “It’s important the committee represents the board and town’s values.”
Members of the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee had several questions for Kobayashi. Selectmen Clerk John Traynor asked how big these screening committees typical are. According to Kobayashi, they usually consist of five to seven members.
FinCom members asked where the job postings would be placed. Kobayashi answered the advertisements will be placed online with the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) and International City Management. Brochures would also be posted with the ads and in print.
Finance Committee member Susan Ossoff questioned the need for the brochure if the advertisements are placed online. She described Plympton as a frugal town and the cost of putting the brochures into print, she was unsure there was value there if applicants are coming from online databases.
Kobayashi says that the brochures tell the story of the town and it may be a good idea to have some around the town hall. He did say that brochures could potentially just be put on the online profile and not printed, but they typically print them.
The cost of service is a $14,000 fee from the Collins Center. This however does not include the university’s fee, and the costs of advertising and travel. The total cost could be north of $17,000 if the town decides to pursue this option.
Review of Town
Article 29 was removed from the Town Meeting Warrant. This article would have limited the size of temporary signs. In particular, political signs would have been affected if passed. The article was removed due to it potentially being unconstitutional by violating the First Amendment.
An article to provide dental insurance for town employees was also dropped from the warrant. Board of Selectmen Chair Colleen Thompson says the cost were higher than anticipated due to a miscommunication.
One last article was removed because of a legal technicality. What was to be Article 10 reads, “To see if the Town will vote to accept provisions of M.G.L. Chapter 258 section 13 which provides that the town shall indemnify and save harmless municipal officers, elected or appointed, from personal loss and expense including reasonable legal fees and costs, if any, in an amount not to exceed one million dollars, arising out of any claim, demand, suitor judgement by reason of any act or omission except an intentional violation of civil rights of any person under any law, if the official at the time of such act or omission was acting within the scope of his official duties or employment or take any other action relative thereto.”
The Board of Selectmen learned via legal counsel that this type of action has to go forth as a ballot question rather than an article at Town Meeting. The Board still wants to see this voted on, it just cannot legally be done at Town Meeting.
Selectmen closed the Special Town Meeting Warrant. Most of the details were hammered out previously, so Monday night’s meeting was mainly a procedural discussion, with Selectmen deciding who will speak and move each the articles at Town Meeting.
Town Meeting Notes from the Financial Committee
The Finance Committee plans to reduce the equipment request from the Fire Department by $12,000. FinCom Vice Chairman Eric Hart said there was confusion about the need for several of the equipment requests from the FD, so he discussed them with the department.
One request was for new pagers which Hart says are failing. He agreed with Chief Warren Borsari and his Fire Department that this is a safety issue and this needs to be addressed.
Some of the disconnect was on the cost of uniforms and turnout gear, which Hart said was also in their budget line and for equipment thatcould fail.
Hart said, “We don’t want to budget for anticipatory breakage.” If emergencies come up, the Fire Department can come to the FinCom to request reserve funds.
Board of Selectmen Chair Colleen Thompson made a request to improve the identification of Area 58 broadcasts of meetings at the Plympton Town House. The Board is asking Area 58 to either take old meetings off the air or time stamping them to avoid confusion.
Thompson said they are broadcasting old meetings on television without time stamps, and there’s nothing to tell a town citizen that itisn’t current news. This is already being done for televised school committee meetings.
The next Board of Selectmen meeting will take place on Monday, May 1, 2017.
Open session will start at 6p.m.