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Agenda and Meeting Minutes
Any Additions, Deletions or Amendments to Agenda
William St Peter reported in Sally Wood-Simon’s stead that due to the system now being used to allocate grants, the financial report to the Joint Select Boards is not be available for this meeting. Walter Smith requested that a financial report be sent to the individual boards before February 7, 2018.
The 2018 budget for the Transfer Station was reviewed as presented. The budget included the purchase of stickers for the bags instead of buying trash bags. This budget was rejected by the board. Max Aldrich made the motion to accept the budget with the money for trash bag purchase included, instead of stickers. Seconded by Walter. Motion passed.
At this time, Walter Smith recognized John Wolfe. He registered a complaint about how he was treated at the Transfer Station. The Board agreed that verbal abuse is not tolerated. Regarding the barrels that he removed from the Transfer Station, Mr. Smith requested that the next time Mr. Wolfe brought his trash, to bring the barrels back. The Board apologized for the treatment he received at the Station.
William St. Peter updated the Boards that the meeting is allowed to be adjourned for executive session but is not required according to the Open Meeting Law. Choosing not to go into executive session, David Lee asked about sick time specifically for Transfer Station employees. Walter Smith made the motion to approve two (2) days sick time for the employees. Seconded by Max Aldrich. Motion passed.
Vermont League of Cities and Towns News, “Drainage Management Standards for Town Highway Access Policies” article. Wendy e-mailed the author regarding the drainage problems on Ingalls Drive and will await her response.
William St. Peter submitted an amended Personnel Policy for General Employees and Elected Officials which included clarification of qualifications to receive benefits and number of hours paid for a holiday. Max Aldrich made the motion to approve the policy, seconded by Walter Smith. Motion passed.
Ed Richardson submitted the Town Hall budget for 2018. Included in the budget is an estimate for sanding and finishing the Town Hall floor and the cost of a new cook stove. Ed explained the need for both of these expanses.
The Town Hall ran out of heating oil this week. The delivery company had scheduled a delivery but due to the cold, the hall ran out of oil. Ed suggested that a red light be installed in a window to provide an alert that the furnace is not running.With no further business, Max Aldrich made the motion to adjourn. Seconded by Walter Smith. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 6:47 PM.
Elect a Chairperson for the ensuing year
Will the Board authorize the Chairperson to sign routine paperwork and documents on behalf of the Board including but not limited to excess weight permits
Appoint Officers for Ensuing Year
Determine a newspaper to print the town’s announcements, ads, etc.
Review proposal from Passumpsic Bank for taking credit cards from purchasers of town services and use of debit cards for town employees for town approved purchases.
Max Aldrich reported that Sheffield had done some road work for Wheelock on a stormy Saturday when the Wheelock road crew needed help. The board agreed with Max that Sheffield will not charge Wheelock for this work.
Sheffield and Wheelock are now responsible for the metal box at the Transfer Station. All Metals recycling will be picking up the waste metals and sending the money to Sheffield for deposit into the Sheffield/ Wheelock Transfer Station account now.
Present: Walter Smith (Chairperson) and Max Aldrich, Charles Gilman, Select Board
Hear from Passumpsic Savings Bank Representatives, Amy South and Jackie Greaves: Taking credit/ debit cards in the office and having a Town debit card.
Charles Gilman made the motion to approve the proposal to take credit/ debit cards with the Town Treasurer and Assistant Town Treasurer monitoring the card transactions and being signatories of the account. Seconded by Max Aldrich. Motion passed.
Any other non-binding business that may properly be brought before the meeting.
Any Additions, Deletions or Amendments to Agenda
Shelley Twitchell and Bernie Dunbar presented their request for the Town to take over the Class IV section of Dunn Mountain Road and Gilman Field Road (private road), if the roads were brought up to Class III standards. Max Aldrich explained some of the things that would need to be done, including: putting in a new stream culvert, getting a right of way that is 3 rods or 49.5 feet on the private road, checking with Wheelock land records, since the road goes through Wheelock and checking the easement from the Piperville property. Max will check on the hydrological study that had previously been done.
Ed Richardson reported that the Town Hall floor refinishing is done. The Food Pantry is now using heavy paper mats in the high traffic areas. He also reported that he and Audrey are stepping down as chairpersons for Field Day. The committee is looking for new chairpersons. The Field Day may not happen without new leadership.
Max Aldrich reported that he is meeting with Patrick Ross of Vermont Environmental Conservation in St. Johnsbury to consider stream management on Ingalls Drive. A representative from VT Agency of Natural Resources viewed the site and spoke to Max Aldrich earlier this week. Ingalls Drive is a private road. The Town is not responsible for maintaining the road.
Rod Dwyer from VAST asked Max Aldrich if the gates behind the Municipal Building are for sale. The gates are not in use, nor is there a planned Town use for them. The Board agreed that VAST could take the gates with the recommendation that VAST make a donation to the Sheffield Wheelock Fire Department.
Small trash bags order has arrived. The Board asked that an order be placed when the inventory of either the large or the small bags reaches a six month supply. The order for small bags was placed on January 10, 2018.
Any Additions, Deletions or Amendments to Agenda
The meeting was called to order at 6:03 PM by Walter Smith, as Chairman, with an acknowledgement of today being the anniversary of D-Day and of the sacrifices of the soldiers during the invasion of Normandy.
Policy reading: Records Management and Conflicts of Interest and Ethical Conduct
Any other non-binding business that may properly be brought before the meeting.
Max Aldrich made a motion to authorize Walter Smith to sign a letter addressed to a resident of one of the two towns about unacceptable actions at the Sheffield Wheelock Transfer Station. Seconded by Charles Gilman. Motion passed. The Select Board in Wheelock will be considering a similar motion at their next meeting.
Max Aldrich reported that the 2018 Freightliner truck’s repairs are almost finished following the accident in March. The truck will go to Viking-Cives for body work.
Purpose. The Town of Sheffield’s Office of the Town Clerk is responsible for creating, managing and disposing of records in accordance with State and Federal laws and regulations. This policy is to ensure that the Office conforms to these mandates. The town is authorized under Vermont State law to adopt and enforce reasonable rules to prevent disruption of operations in responding to records requests, to preserve the security of public records, and to protect public records from damage.
Section 1: All written or recorded information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, produced or acquired in the course of Office business shall be managed in accordance with record schedules approved by the Vermont State Archivist.
Section 2: Public records, regardless of format, are available for inspection and copying unless there is specific statute exempting the record from public disclosure [1 V.S.A. 317(c)]. This policy applies to requests for public records in the custody of the Town Clerk.
General Record Schedules and Agency-Specific Record Schedules: schedules, approved by the Vermont State Archivist that govern the management of records, specifically access, retention and disposition.
Disposition Orders: guidelines for disposing of records issued between 1938 and 2008 by the Vermont Public Records Advisory Board Disposition orders may still apply to Office records if the requirements in the order do not conflict with current legal or administrative requirements of the Office and have not been superseded by a records schedule.
The Town Clerk’s Office will follow the General Records Schedules (GRS) as approved by the Vermont State Archivist to manage public records. See Appendix for schedules. Retention of records will meet or exceed minimum retention requirements. The Office will follow the Agency Specific Record Schedule (SRS) for Municipal Clerks. See Appendix for Agency schedules. Retention time frames will not differ from those specified in the SRS.
In responding to a request to inspect or copy a record, the Custodian will consult with the requestor, if necessary to clarify the request or to obtain additional information that will assist the Custodian in responding to the request and in facilitating production of the requested record for inspection or copying. When a requestor seeks a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records, the Custodian may ask the requestor to narrow the scope of the public records request.
2. If the Custodian withholds the record as exempt from public access, the Custodian will inform the requestor of this fact in writing within three business days from receipt of the request. The Custodian will identify the record or portion of record withheld, the statutory basis for withholding the record, and a brief statement of the reasons and supporting facts for denial. The Custodian will also inform the requestor of the right to appeal this determination to the Town Select Board. It is the policy of the town that all exempt records, as outlined in 1§ 317, will be withheld from disclosure.
3. If the record is in active use or in storage and therefore not readily available at the time of the request, the Custodian will inform the requestor of this fact in writing and set a date and hour within one calendar week of the request when the record will be available for inspection. For the purpose of this policy, a “business day” means a day that the Custodian’s office is open to provide services. The time limits described above may be extended in writing up to ten business days from receipt of the records request based on:
If the time limits described above are extended, the Custodian will inform the requestor of such fact in writing, setting forth the reasons for the extension and specifying the date upon which the Custodian will respond to the request. The Custodian will not withhold any record in its entirety on the basis that it contains some exempt content if the record is otherwise subject to disclosure; instead, the Custodian will redact the information he or she considers to be exempt and produce the record accompanied by an explanation of the basis for denial of the redacted information.
In order that all public records in the custody of the Custodian may be protected from damage or loss, such records may only be inspected in locations in the town offices as designated by the Custodian. No public record may be removed from a designated location, marked, altered, defaced, torn, damaged, destroyed, disassembled, or removed from its proper order. The Custodian or other staff person may be present during the inspection of a public record. No person shall be allowed to copy a public record using copying equipment other than that owned by the town unless approved by the Custodian. When inspection of an electronic record is requested and the inspection of the original electronic record would create a disruption in operations of the town or would jeopardize the security or condition of the original record, the Custodian will provide an electronic copy of the original record in the format in which the record is maintained, less any exempt information redacted from the record, at no cost to the requestor.
b. The cost of staff time associated with complying with a request for a copy of a public record when the time exceeds 30 minutes as determined under the uniform schedule of charges established by the Secretary of State.
All charges for copies and staff time must be paid in full prior to delivery of the requested copies. Upon request, the Custodian will provide an estimate of the cost of making a copy of a public record prior to complying with the request.
Standard formats. The Custodian will make a copy of a public record in the following standard format: a. For any public record maintained by the Custodian in paper form, the Custodian will make a paper copy of the record; b. For any public record maintained by Custodian in electronic form, the Custodian will make either a paper printout of the record or an electronic copy of the record in the format in which the record is maintained, as directed by the requestor. A request for a copy in a format other than those mentioned above is “non-standard.” The Custodian may provide a copy of a public record in a non-standard format (e.g., conversion of a paper public record to electronic format).
DENIAL OF A PUBLIC RECORD REQUEST. If the Custodian denies a public record request in whole or in part, the denial may be appealed to the Town Select Board. In accordance with 1 V.S.A. § 318(c)(1), the Select Board will make a written determination on the appeal within five business days after receipt of the appeal. A decision of the Select Board may be reviewable by the Vermont Superior Court pursuant to 1 V.S.A. § 319.Effective Date. This policy shall become effective immediately upon its adoption by the Town of Sheffield Select Board.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the business of this municipality will be conducted in such a way that no public officer of the municipality will gain a personal or financial advantage from his or her work for the municipality and so that the public trust in its officers will be preserved. It is also the intent of this policy to ensure that all decisions made by public officers are based on the best interests of the municipality.
Applicability. This policy applies to all individuals elected or statutorily-appointed to perform executive, administrative, legislative, or quasi-judicial functions of the Town of Sheffield, Vermont.
2. A situation where a public officer has publicly displayed a prejudgment of the merits of a particular quasi-judicial proceeding. This shall not apply to a member’s particular political views or general opinion on a given issue.
A "conflict of interest" does not arise in the case of an official act or action in which the public officer has a personal or financial interest in the outcome, such as in the establishment of a tax rate, that is no greater than that of other persons generally affected by the decision.
C. Ex Parte Communication means direct or indirect communication between a member of a public body and any party, party’s representative, party’s counsel or any person interested in the outcome of a quasi-judicial proceeding, that occurs outside the proceeding and concerns the substance or merits of the proceeding.
D. Official act or action means any legislative, administrative or quasi-judicial act performed by any public officer while acting on behalf of the municipality. This term does not apply to ministerial acts or actions wherein no discretionary judgment is exercised.
G. Public officer means a person elected or statutorily-appointed to perform executive, administrative, legislative, or quasi-judicial functions for the municipality. This term does not include municipal employees.
H. Quasi-judicial proceeding means a case in which the legal rights of one or more persons who are granted party status are adjudicated, which is conducted in such a way that all parties have opportunities to present evidence and to cross-examine witnesses presented by other parties, and which results in a written decision, the result of which is appealable by a party to a higher authority.
B. A public officer shall not personally – or through any member of his or her household, business associate, employer or employee – represent, appear for, or negotiate in a private capacity on behalf of any person or organization that has an interest in an official act or action pending before the public body in which the public officer holds office.
E. A public officer shall not use resources unavailable to the general public – including but not limited to municipal staff time, equipment, supplies, or facilities – for private gain or personal purposes.
Disclosure. A public officer who, while serving on a public body, may have a conflict of interest, whether real or perceived, in a matter under consideration by that public body shall, prior to taking an official act or action or participating in any official act or action on the matter, publicly disclose at a public meeting or public hearing that he or she has an actual or perceived conflict of interest in the matter under consideration and disclose the nature of the actual or perceived conflict of interest. Alternatively, a public officer may request that another public officer recuse him or herself from a matter due to a conflict of interest, whether real or perceived.1
Consideration of Recusal. Once there has been a disclosure of an actual or perceived conflict of interest, other public officers shall be afforded an opportunity to ask questions or make comments about the situation. If a previously unknown conflict is discovered during a meeting or hearing conducted by a public body of the municipality, the public body shall take evidence pertaining to the conflict and, if appropriate, adjourn to an executive session to address the conflict.
A. Recusal of Appointed and Elected Officers. A public officer, whether appointed or elected, shall declare whether he or she will recuse him or herself and explain the basis for that decision. If the public officer has an actual or perceived conflict of interest but believes that he or she is able to act fairly, objectively, and in the public interest, in spite of the conflict, he or she shall state why he or she believes that he or she is able to act in the matter fairly, objectively, and in the public interest.2 Otherwise, the public officer shall recuse him or herself from the matter under consideration. A public officer that recuses him or herself may, but not must, explain the basis for that decision.
B. Recusal of Appointed Officers. The failure of an appointed public officer to recuse himself or herself in spite of a conflict of interest, whether real or perceived, may be grounds for discipline or removal from office.3
A. A public officer who has recused himself or herself from participating in an official act or action by a public body shall not sit with the public body, deliberate with the public body, or participate in the discussions about that official act or action in any manner in his or her capacity as a public officer, though such member may still participate as a member of the public or private party, if applicable.
B. The public body may adjourn the proceedings to a time, date, and place certain if, after a recusal, it may not be possible to take action through the concurrence of a majority of the total membership of the public body. The public body may then resume the proceeding with sufficient members present.
A. Enforcement Against Elected Officers; Consequences for Failure to Follow the Conflict of Interest Procedures. In cases in which an elected public officer has engaged in any of the prohibited conduct, or has not followed the conflict of interest procedures, the Town of Sheffield Select Board may, in its discretion, take any of the following disciplinary actions against such elected officer as it deems appropriate:
1. The chair of the Town of Sheffield Select Board may meet informally with the public officer to discuss the possible conflict of interest violation. This shall not take place in situations where the chair and the public officer together constitute a quorum of a public body.
2. The Town of Sheffield Select Board may meet to discuss the conduct of the public officer. Executive session may be used for such discussion in accordance with 1 V.S.A. § 313(a)(4). The public officer may request that this meeting occur in public. If appropriate, the Town of Sheffield Select Board may admonish the offending public officer in private.
3. The Town of Sheffield Select Board may admonish the offending public officer at an open meeting and reflect this action in the minutes of the meeting. The public officer shall be given the opportunity to respond to the admonishment.
B. Enforcement Against Appointed Officers. The Town of Sheffield Select Board may choose to follow any of the steps articulated in the section of this policy listed under enforcement. In addition to or in lieu of any of those steps, the Town of Sheffield, Select Board may choose to remove an appointed officer from office, subject to state law.
Exception. The recusal provisions stated here shall not apply if the Town of Sheffield Select Board determines that an emergency exists or that actions of a quasi-judicial public body otherwise could not take place. In such a case, a public officer who has reason to believe he or she has a conflict of interest shall only be required to disclose such conflict.
2 Each member of an elected public body is independently elected and answers only to the voters. Therefore, unless there is a local ordinance or charter provision that states otherwise, the remaining members of the body may not force recusal. They may only express their opinion about the subject and/or privately or publicly admonish a fellow member who fails to handle conflicts appropriately.
Any Additions, Deletions or Amendments to Agenda
Note that all documents, minutes, notices, statements, etc. appearing on this web site have been duly signed and/or witnessed, as appropriate, whether said original signature(s) appears or not. Contact Mr. William St. Peter, Sheffield Town Clerk at (802) 626-8862 (Tel) or (802) 626-0424 (Fax) or email@example.com regarding access to the aforementioned documents, minutes, notices, statements, etc.