A regular meeting of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was scheduled for Wednesday, January 28, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. in the Conference Room of the County Administration Building, notice of such meeting having been posted as required by law.
Commissioners Present: John Alley, Chairman, Leonard Jason, Jr., Leslie H. Leland, Robert Sawyer, Nelson Smith, Paul Strauss and Roger Wey.
Also Present: Dianne Powers, Deputy County Manager; Diane Abbot, Temporary Administrative Assistant; Noreen Flanders, County Treasurer; Sheriff Mike McCormack; Woodrow Williams; Ezra Blair, MV Times; Joanna Jernegan; David Kann; Herb Putnam: Steve Berlucchi; Marsha Smolev; Warren Doty; Woody Williams; Tad Crawford and T. J. Hegarty.
Chairman Alley brought the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
Minutes of December 11th were approved with Commissioners Smith and Strauss abstaining.
Deputy Managers Report:
Dianne Powers gave the Commissioners an update on the current situation of the Executive Assistant, Marsh Smolev. After speaking with Attorney Gilman, the process will move forward and be resolved as quickly as possible. But, Attorney Gilman said that until a letter is received from Attorney Rogers, the County is unable to investigate.
Dianne Powers also presented an Interim County Plan. According to the State Ethics Commission, Ms. Powers is not able to receive payment for any work in the capacity of Acting County Manager. Diane Abbot will act as temporary Administrative Assistant to fill the responsibilities of Executive Assistant (until the return of Ms. Smolev) and upon Ms. Smolev’s return will act as a liaison between the Executive Assistant and the Acting County Manager and the Board of Commissioners. Ms. Abbot’s responsibilities will be managerial and Ms. Powers will have signatory authority. Ms. Abbot will report to the Acting County Manager and keep her apprised of all necessary tasks. Ms. Abbot will be paid at the rate of $30 per hour; hours to be adjusted as seen necessary. Ms. Powers will only attend meetings of
the County Commissioners and the Advisory Board. During this interim period many commitments will be overseen by appointed persons. The appointees will be expected to represent the County and report back to the County Commissioners and/or the Acting County Manager. General Administration: Abbot; Press Liaison: Powers; County Manager Screening Committee: Abbot; Commissioner’s Appointments: Powers/Leland; Cape Light Compact: Alley; Sheriff’s Department: Union Negotiations: Powers; Jail Site: McCormack/Powers; Modular Unit at current site: McCormack/Powers; FY’04 budget preparation: Powers/ Flanders/ Abbot; MMA Classification Review: Powers/McCormack/Abbot; Legal Matters – Airport: Flanders/Smith; All Other Legal Matters: Powers; Courthouse Renovations: Flanders/McCormack/Powers; NY Avenue property: Berlucci/ Powers; Airport meetings: Smith; Dukes County Health Council meetings: Sawyer; Dukes County Housing Authority meetings: Jason; All Island Selectmen meetings:
Wey; Barrier Beach Task Force meetings: Strauss: All Island Police/ Fire Chiefs meetings: McCormack; Administration Building leaks: Berlucci/Wey.
Commissioner Wey made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sawyer, to approve the Interim County Plan. Motion passed unanimously.
County Manager Screening Committee Update: Dianne Powers asked Mike McCormack to give an update on the First Committee meeting. Sheriff McCormack stated that all but two members (who were unavailable) were present. The meeting went very well; the members are asking good questions. The committee will meet twice next week and then appear before the Commissioners on February 12th. Marie Allen was elected Chairman.
County Commissioners unanimously voted Dianne Powers Acting County Manager.
Dianne Powers read into the record a letter from Attorney Stephen Perry from the law firm of Casner & Edwards representing Carol Borer. In part, the letter states: “In recent newspaper reports, at least one of the commissioners referred to the matter as a ‘scandal’ and made disparaging comments about Ms. Borer having worked the system. I respectfully suggest that comments such as those are unfounded, inappropriate and potentially actionable. It is my understanding that the Commissioner’s own counsel has stated that he sees nothing wrong with the payments that have been made. Rather than bending to popular sentiment, or encouraging the current feeding frenzy, which you must surely know has been distressing to Ms. Borer in the extreme, I ask that the commissioners recognize that Ms. Borer, as well as
those involved in the approval of her checks, acted in good faith and with a reasonable basis in the calculation of the amounts she was owed. On that basis, the commissioners should ratify the payments that were made to her. Any concerns about ambiguities in the County’s policies in relation to county manager should be dealt with in the context of Ms. Borer’s successor and not through her vilification in the media.”
Subcommittee Report: Nelson Smith and Paul Strauss
Mr. Strauss reported on his and Mr. Smith’s findings. After several interviews with Marsha Smolev, Noreen Flanders, Mike McCormack, Dianne Powers, Carol Borer and Les Leland, they offer the following recommendations:
Commissioner Strauss’ recommendations:
· Review and revise Personnel Bylaws to reflect County Manager responsibilities in time reporting, vacations, etc.
· Create additional document to specifically address County Manager time worked, allowances, reporting relationship to county commission and oversight by commission.
· Carol stated she was willing to return 16 days of vacation buyback because they were uncertain. Accept this offer: 16 days at $304.64= $4874.24
· Believe sick day buyback was miscalculated by 2 days. Require Carol to return 2 days at $304.64=$609.28
· Total money to be returned $5483.52
· That these actions are deemed to fulfill all obligations of both parties to the retirement of Carol Borer as County Manager.
Commissioner Smith’s Recommendations:
· The County Commisioners must exercise stronger supervision and require better records from the County Manager in regards to vacation time, compensatory time, sick records and personal time. Time records should be kept on a daily basis or as accrued. A yearly summary of these records should be presented to the County Commissioners on the anniversary of the County Manager’s employment.
· The personnel bylaws need to be revised. The County Manager’s accrual of benefits should be clearly defined in the personnel bylaw or a separate document. Is the 120 hours of comp time in Section 8-2a, a yearly amount? Why does the vacation accrual change midway through the 4th year of employment?
· Employees need to provide clear copies of original documentation of their vacation and sick leave before buyback. The County Manager and other employees should not be making new copies of orginal county records. Erroneous records should be crossed out (not erased or “clean” copies made) and corrections added with a clear explanantion of why the change was made. The Department Head should then authorize the correction. The County Commissioners or a designated independent authority should approve corrections to the County Manager’s personnel records.
· The Dukes County Commissioners acting together should approve any buyback requests from the County Manager.
There was discussion concerning the report and the recommendations. Commissioner Wey said that he could see a compromise asking the return of 16 days rather than the original 25.
Commissioner Wey made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sawyer, to take the recommendation of the subcommittee concerning the return of 16 days vacation (as Ms. Borer orginally offered at the Advisory Board meeting). Motion was approved with vote in the affirmative from Commissioners Sawyer, Smith, Strauss and Wey. Commssioners Jason and Leland voted no, Commissioner Alley abstained.
There was more discussion concerning the Personnel By-laws. Commssioner Strauss made a motion to instruct the Personnel Board to issue documentation to clarify the situation and make specific recommendations to the Commissioners in one month. Dianne Powers (a member of the Personnel Board) agreed that changes need to be made, but the County Manager administers the Bylaws and cannot be subject to them. Therefore, when a County Manager is hired, an agreement should be signed addressing these issues. Sheriff McCormack (also a member of the Personnel Board) stated that there is a 3 year review of the bylaws and revisions are brought to the Commissioners. He also stated that M.G. L. state that the County Commissioners hire a County Manager and set salary and benefit rate, the County Manager is not subject to
bylaws, but may be used as guidelines. Commissioner Strauss withdrew his motion.
The Commissioners took a break at 9:15 p.m. and returned at 9:20 p.m.
Dukes County Health Council:
Tad Crawford presented minor bylaw changes in Resolution #001-03. Changes attached.
Commissioner Jason made a motion to adopt Resolution #001-03, Seconded by Commissioner Leland. Motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Crawford presented one year and two year appointments to the Dukes County Health Council. One year: Frank Case, Dan Greenberg, Patsy McCormack, Rev. Dr. Mary Jane O’Conner-Ropp, Nancy Gilfoy, Robert Tonti, Sandra Lothrop and Jo Ann Murphy.
Two year Appointments: Lorna Andrade, Tad Crawford, Marni Lipke, Paddy Moore, Michael Dutton, Beth Toomey, Kathleen Rose, Robert Sawyer, Susan Desmarais, Ilene Klein, Michele Lazerow, Peter Strock, Philip Hickey, Christopher Knowles, Catherine Brennan and Cynthia Mithchell.
Commissioner Leland made a motion to accept one year and two year appointments, seconded by Commissioner Sawyer. Motion passed unanimously.
The Commissioners received a letter from Robert Culbert expressing his interest to continue to serve as the Pilgrim R C & D representative.
Commissioner Leland made a motion to appoint Robert Culbert to a three year appointment to Pilgrim RC & D, seconded by Commissioner Sawyer. Motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Alley told the Board that he is a current member of the Retirement Board. In the Retirement Board Audit, Mr. Alley is listed under attendance. For the period of 1997-2000, he has missed 19 out of 66 meetings, or 29%. He wanted to clarify that a portion of those missed meetings were for his hip replacement and he only missed 6 (10%). He would like to continue but he is bringing it to the Board’s attention. Mr. Jason asked if the recommendation was to step down. Mr. Alley said no, that the Retirement Board was to write a letter to the County Commissioners explaining how many meetings he had missed. Mr. Jason said that he thought it should be advertised.
Commissioner Sawyer made a motion to appoint have John Alley stay on the Retirement Board, seconded by Commissioner Wey. Vote in favor of the motion: Commissioners Wey, Sawyer, Strauss, Smith and Alley. Vote against the motion: Commissioner Jason. Abstained: Commissioner Leland. Motion carries.
Minutes of December 23rd were approved with Commissioners Sawyer, Smith and Strauss abstaining.
Motion to adjourn at 9:40 p.m.
Complete text of meeting is available on tape at the County Commissioner’s office.
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO, JR.
CLERK OF THE COURTS