Town of New Salem Selectboard

Meeting Minutes

March 18, 2019

Stowell Building, New Salem, MA 01355

Convened: 7:00 pm

Present: Randy Gordon, chair, Wayne Hachey, Selectboard; Nancy Aldrich, Town Coordinator; Matt Eastman, Andrew Ohlson, Roger Hamlett, Applicants for Highway Department Position; Ricardo Conde, Energy Committee

Scheduled Attendees

7:00 pm Matt Eastman

7:20 pm Andrew Ohlson

7:40 pm Roger Hamlett

8:15 pm Zara Dowling or Ricardo Conde regarding Green Communities Grant Application

Selectboard Reviewed & Signed the Following:

Ø Payroll & Vendor Warrants

Ø Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Grant Application

Ø Minutes from March 4, 2019

Discussion Items

Highway Department Vacancy

The Selectboard met separately with each of three applicants for the Highway Department driver/laborer position. After reviewing their resumes, the Board asked them a series of questions, which included, among other things, information about their previous experience, their licensing qualifications, and how they handle conflict. At the end of each interview, they answered questions from the applicants.

After completing the interviews, the Board discussed each applicant’s answers to these questions. They not only looked at previous experience and qualifications, but also discussed less tangible concerns, such as how they felt each candidate might react to situations they are likely to encounter on the job. They determined that Matt Eastman was not qualified for the position, since he has neither his CDL nor Hoisters License. The other two candidates had all necessary licenses, but the Board felt Roger Hamlett’s responses indicated his temperament was better suited to the position. They agreed to offer him the job. Nancy will send letters to each of the applicants, sharing the Board’s decision. Since there will probably be a second vacancy in the Highway Department soon, she will indicate there is no need for either candidate who did not get the position to re-apply, as all their information will be kept on file.

Letter from Board of Health regarding 100 Blackinton Road

The Board reviewed a letter from the Board of Health, requesting their presence at a meeting to discuss ongoing issues at 100 Blackinton Road. Since this meeting is in conflict with the Selectboard’s meeting, they will be unable to attend. Nancy Aldrich has informed the Board of Health of this conflict.

Maintenance Issues at Old Academy Building

The Board reviewed a letter from Dan Hammock of the New Salem Academy Trustees, in which he outlined some maintenance issues in the Old Academy Building, including paint peeling from the ceilings upstairs and issues with the front door. He suggested money to address these concerns might be available from the endowment fund set up to maintain the building, and he has reached out to the Historical Commission for their help. Nancy Aldrich will keep the Board informed of the Historical Commission’s response.

FY20 Assessment for Orange Ambulance Service

The Board reviewed the FY20 assessment from Orange Ambulance, which is based on the number of calls made in each town. While this assessment reflects a large increase over the previous fiscal year, going from $28,818 to $40,611, the Board agreed the charges were in line with the services provided. Randy Gordon signed the agreement on behalf of the Board.

Green Communities Grant Application

The Board met with Ricardo Conde of the Energy Committee to discuss a Green Communities Grant application. Funding from this grant will be used on total energy management upgrades at Swift River School, replacement of the walk-in freezer, and additional insulation. The Board voted to allow the Energy Committee to move forward with the grant application.

Date for ATM

There has been some difficulty finding a date for the Annual Town Meeting that is acceptable to the Moderator, Town Clerk, Selectboard and Finance Committee. The Board tentatively agreed to try for May28th, but this date will need to be cleared with all parties before being finalized.

Plowing Issues on Lovers Lane

The Board discussed a recent issue with a private citizen plowing Lover’s Lane during the previous snow storm. The forecast called for light snow changing over to sleet and freezing rain; Tom Swan made the decision not to plow until the precipitation had stopped. He felt that if the snow was plowed first, the freezing rain would cause the roads to ice over and create dangerous conditions. A resident of Lover’s Lane was unhappy with this decision and took it upon himself to plow the road before the freezing rain had stopped. This resulted in the road becoming treacherous, and the Highway Department truck slid to the bottom of the hill, endangering both the driver and equipment. The Board was advised by Town Counsel that the best course of action was to write a letter to all residents of the road, explaining that if this were to happen again, it is within the Highway Superintendent’s authority not to plow if he feels the road conditions are unsafe. Nancy Aldrich will draft a letter for the Board’s signature at the next meeting.

Upon motion made and seconded, the Board voted to adjourn at 9 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Aldrich

Town Coordinator