Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Chairman Leonard Jason, Jr. called the County Commissioner’s meeting to order at 5:10 p.m. Commissioners Tristan Israel, Leslie Leland, Melinda Loberg, Carlene Gatting and Tom Hallahan were present.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Martina Thornton, County Treasurer Noreen Mavro-Flanders, Assistant County Treasurer Carol Grant and Joanie Ames of MVTV.
Tristan/Carlene moved to approve the minutes of March 25,2009. So Voted. In favor: Lenny, Carlene, Tom, Tristan, Melinda. Abstained: Les (5-0-1).
Tristan/Carlene moved to approve the minutes of April 16,2009. So voted. In favor: Lenny, Les, Tristan, Carlene. Abstained: Melinda, Tom (4-0-2).
At a prior meeting the schedule of meetings to be held in difference towns throughout the year was distributed to the Commissioners. There were no objections to the list. The next meeting will be on May 6th in Chilmark. The place will be confirmed and reminder sent before the meeting.
RFP for auditor
We received 5 proposals. We eliminated three. One for not enough experience in municipal audits, one company was from Rhode Island with no experience in Massachusetts, one company had no attention to detail as in their proposal they were referring to some school instead of Dukes County. Noreen informed the Commissioners that the remaining two are our current auditor Powers & Sullivan (P&S), which was non responsive to the Airport manager’s requests for a special project and the Airport is not willing to use them anymore. The other is Malloy, Lynch and Bienvenue, LLP (MLB), who works for the Norfolk and Plymouth County. They might also do some work in Bristol County. Noreen would not want to split and have separate auditors for the County than the Airport as the Airport is part of the County and we currently share the cost of
the audit. We did talk to the Airport Manager and he agreed to use MLB. We could still hire P&S if we needed to do the transfer of Sheriff’s Office to the State and the Sheriff’s Office would pay for it. Noreen talked to other municipalities to get references on both firms and all references were positive for both firms.
Les/Tristan moved to use Malloy, Lynch and Bienvenue, LLP as auditors. Discussion: We used P&S for about 16 years. The cost of both proposals was about $26K which is higher then the budgeted $22K. P&S gave us an hourly rate if we want to use them for special projects. P&S was non responsive to the Airport’s requests for setting up some financial statements for months. At one time they also did a substantial error. The new contract would be for 3 years (as proposed in the RFP) subject to an annual appropriation. Noreen would not mind using P&S this year again but she does not want to split with the Airport. If the County were to use P&S, the Airport would have an additional audit done and pay for it itself and the County would have to pay the full price for the County audit. Tom said he wished the Airport
Manager would be here to explain the Airport’s position. So voted. In favor: Lenny, Les, Melinda, Carlene, Tristan. Abstained: Tom.
Russell shall send letter to P&S thanking them for their services and that we are looking forward to work with them on special projects in the future.
RFP for Legal Counsel
We received proposals from 3 large off-island firms and one local firm, which is Marcia Cini (Cini Miller Law Office) our current local counsel. As far as labor counsel used for union negotiations, the Sheriff uses one counsel and the Airport uses another one. In the future, if Sheriff goes to State we will only need a counsel for union negotiations for the Airport.
Tristan/ Melinda moved to appoint Marcia Cini as County Counsel for all issues except the labor issues. All in favor.
We received 4 other proposals: Kopelman and Page, PC; Gilman & Associates, PC; Brackett & Lucas; Blatman, Borrowski & Mead, LLC. Tristan said that the Town of Tisbury used Kopelman & Page and he would not mind finding out more about the other firms. However, he would like to use someone other then Gilman & Associates, PC as a labor counsel. Russell said that at this time the Sheriff is the only one using Gilman for the union negotiations. Tristan said that we would need a labor counsel even after the Sheriff goes to the State. Les said that the County Manager should first review the RFPs and come up with recommendation for the labor counsel to the Board. Melinda said that once Sheriff is not part of the County the role of the labor counsel might change.
Carlene/Tristan moved to ask Russell to review the new firms that submitted proposals and make recommendation to the Board who, from the 5 candidates, he would recommend as labor counsel at the next meeting. Discussion: Tom suggested looking at Gilman also as he is part of the RFP process and should be considered unbiasly. Tom will help Russell in the reviewing process. Carlene asked if we could include the Airport’s labor counsel into the consideration. Noreen said that we couldn’t afford the Airport labor counsel. Carlene said sometimes we couldn’t afford not to have a good labor counsel. Lenny said that he is satisfied with the work Mr. Gilman did for the County, he worked for the County since 1995 and he would not mind using him in the future. Martina clarified that if the Commissioners are not satisfied with any
of the applicants they could make that decision and look for new candidates. So voted. All in favor.
The County was asked to run the animal shelter starting May 1st. We received letters from 3-4 towns’ Board of Selectmen to support this effort. We have an ad hoc committee meeting weekly to work on the main issues considering running the shelter. The committee agreed that we would have a 5-member Board of Directors to make decision regarding the shelter and hired 3 part-time people to work in the shelter. The MSPCA allowed the use of the building to the county at no cost. They are preparing a 1-year lease. We will be able to use all the equipment that is in the building also. Russell presented the Commissioners with the proposed budget for the first 6 months and explained the lines in comparison to the MSPCA budget as provided to us (without wages). We are not sure if we will be able to use the crematorium or not and so we
took it out of the budget for now. The shelter will be considered a “no kill shelter” as we would not kill animals for the lack of placement. The only two reasons we would use euthanasia would be for serious medical reasons or if the animal is a danger to the society. Russell increased income from donations and fundraising events as this will be a local community shelter and he hopes for increased local support. We already received about $7K in donations. We would hire 3 part-time people for less then 20 hours a week so we don’t have to pay benefits. The total labor cost for the year would be $49K. The budget as presented shows deficit, on annual bases, of $24K. We divided it up by the population ratio and presented this to the County Advisory Board. They suggested using the 50/50 formula between the equalized valuation and population. It would mean about 6-10K for each of the down-island towns annually. We asked the towns to agree to this model. Tisbury
agreed yesterday and we will go for commitment from the other towns too. We have 6 people interested in working part-time in the shelter. We also have people interested to serve on the Board of Directors. There will be a sub-committee for fundraising and sub-committee for euthanasia questions among others.
The Trustees of the Reservations
We renegotiated the contract with the TTOR. It is not signed yet, but it is agreed upon. We will receive $45K a year instead of a percentage of the net. The amounts we received in prior years were substantially less. First year we owned them $15K; the second year after taking the $15K we received $3,400. This year we are expecting $18K. The new contract would be a 3-year contract. Tristan thanked the Trustees and the Manager for renegotiating the contract. Russell noted that we did give up the management of capital expenditures as part of the new contract and we gave them our 20% of the capital equipment purchased under the old agreement, which represented about $8000. There is a provision in the contract that if their gross revenue will go up or down more then 20% then the amount owned to us will be adjusted accordingly. This will
protect both parties.
We requested specification for the bid to fix the roof from a firm that was recommended by DCAM. We paid $5K on a $10K contract to the company. We only received an initial report but are waiting for the final specification since January. The situation is getting to be critical. We asked DCAM if we could move to fix the roof as we do have the $150K from the State since last December. There is mold in the building and the Sheriff’s civil process office had to move out because of it. We now are expecting a letter from the Health Department to do something about it. The leaks are getting worse, even after the rubber coating we put on in early spring. Noreen said that we were in emergency status last spring and at that point we did not have to go through the bidding process and could go and ask for bids. The only bid we could get was from a
firm that was not DECAM certified, nobody else was interested. They are DECAM certified now. We need DECAM to declare this an emergency and issue us a waiver so we don't have to go through the bidding process and act as quickly as possible. Lenny said we should just do it, even if DECAM does not approve this.
Calendar – The next County Commissioners meeting will be on May 6th at 5 pm in Chilmark.
Les/ Carlene moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:10p.m.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts