Selectboard Meeting Notes: Community Safety Review Facilitators Chosen, Committee Stipends Set

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved a proposal for a Community Safety Review facilitation team. They chose a local proposal, created a committee, and decided on how much to pay for stipends.

Other issues before the board involved the Department of Public Works, some grants, and gathering data on housing to aid in town planning.

Comments | 11

  • Preliminaries

    Well, to start off, the meeting is “locked by host” so we can’t get in, despite having the passcode. We’ll try a few more times.

  • Preliminaries II

    Others are having trouble logging in, so we’re waiting a bit.

    The board discusses how much they’ve seen each other on Zoom recently. They trade bad jokes about the agenda. Brandie has arrived! Daniel doesn’t like last-minute emails.

    Chair Tim Wessel apologizes for starting late.

    He said that representative town meeting was a good one, and long, but it went off pretty well. Last night, the board had the organizational meeting. He’ll remain as Chair. We says he will represent everyone in town, respecting town employees, and respect BCTV and ASL interpreters every meeting, local journalists doing an excellent job communicating our issues. I just want to get us to be efficient to have the energy to have good decisions. We need to limit sidebar issues and comments. I pledge to do better at keeping this body more focused. One way is to enforce comments to be 2 minutes. I’ll start a time clock, and maybe on the screen. The exception will be for invited presenters. If you do want to make a comment, turn on your camera, tell us your name and what town you reside in. We need to know who you are and your connection to Brattleboro. We’d like to end these meetings at a reasonable hour. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

    Town Manager comments – RTM – you thanked town staff, and on behalf of them we want to acknowledge that patrick Moreland carried us with the trends effort to set up RTM, both the meeting and voting. A lot of advance work was required. Also, the special protections to protect the meeting made it hard to access the meeting. With 7 days notice, there was a lot of additional work to do, often one on one with reps. It led to a 13 hour seamless meeting. The heavy lift was done by Moreland. I also want to celebrate that the skatepark is just about finished. The concrete is curing, and on Oct 3rd there will be a dedication ceremony. It has the best view of any skatepark around. Excited to be cutting the ribbon.

    Daniel Quipp – On Friday Chief Fitzgerald announced he’d be retiring and I wanted to thank him for his service to the town of Brattleboro. There will be more opportunities, but I wanted to say thanks and wish him well.

    Tim – 20 years of service.

    Ian Goodnow – I want to pile on the praise. I echo that. And yeah, thanks to Patrick for making RTM a success. There are things we can do differently, but on the whole it was an effective meeting – all online for the first time in Vermont history.

    Liz McLoughlin – I salute all as well, and Lawrin Crispe as moderator. He did a great job. I’m pleased and grateful.

    Brandie Starr – I don’t have a statement yet to thank Chief Fitzgerald. In my year and a half with Groundworks I worked with him, and the human beings we have in the department are good people and I cried when I heard he was retiring. I worry the size of the shoes that need to be filled are enormous. I’m apprehensive and appreciative.

    Public Participation

    / – I feel left behind with this tech, I’m 38 – I’m Joseph from Newfane. I’ve had problems with stores and businesses in town adhering to the mask mandates and the exemptions for individuals with disabilities. Mot places do a good job of making sure people have masks on, but fail to follow the law and allow people, like myself, with a reduced breathing capacity and not wearing a mask. The Town’s ordinance has the exemption – I wasn’t allowed to use the waiting room of a car dealership. It was humiliating, all because I have a disability and I can provide a doctor’s note.

    Tim – we have limited time. You’ve had conversations with board members. We did a town resolution, then the state had a resolution. I’m pretty sure the state has an exemption.

    Joseph – yes…

    Tim – we can hear the feedback but can’t act on it. Wew have limited options with merchants. I hope people will remember that there are exemptions for people like you.

    Joseph – will the police department know that it is not trespassing and I have the right to be there with a disability. That’s my biggest fear.

    Peter Elwell – The Town said the police can address disputes, but otherwise there isn’t an enforcement mechanism to the town’s order. The state has an enforcement option. If you contact me tomorrow, I’ll be happy to give you contact info for the state enforcement arm.

    Joseph – thanks.

    Gary Stroud – It was a great 13 hour flight meeting. Is there a recovery place for zoom meeting people? It was handled well. It was awesome. What did you think, and what about the next town meeting? What improvements do you see in the future?

    Ian – we can’t get into it, but I think it would be a great agenda item to discuss. I have thoughts and others do, too. Maybe add it to a agenda soon. I have thoughts for sure.

    Liz – too soon.

    Tim – I agree. Be very careful not to forget it is RTM’s business, but we could have a meeting to kick that off.

    Ian – maybe it isn’t our place to do it.

    Tim – we aren’t the boss of RTM, just keep it in mind.

  • First Class Liquor License – Grand Idea LLC, d/b/a Inn on Putney Road

    Elwell – Inn on Putney Road at 192 Putney Rd has been a B&B in the past. New owners need new licenses. Everything is in order.

    Paul Tomakian – the previous owner let the license lapse. We’d like it again so we can serve beer and wine to guests, and for sale to them if they’d like. Also if we have events, we’d like to serve at those events. We have 6 rooms total, and generally the capacity is 12 people. We won’t have a formal bar. This is meant for guests only, other than people coming for an event.


  • Water & Sewer Commissioners

    1. Pleasant Valley Water Treatment Waste Process Line Project – Award Bid for Pipe & Fittings

    Dan Tyler – this is the process water waste line. The new culvert is in the brook, and we’ve started installing the line, so we need to buy a bunch of pipe and fittings. We put it out to bid and FW Webb of Rutland, Vermont, in the amount of $31,211.14 was the low bid.

    Tim – is it unusual to have bids within $2?

    Dan – no. And prices are going up, so we’ll be glad to have this approved.


    2. Wastewater Treatment Plant Tank Cover Project – Award Bid for Bid and Construction Engineering Services

    Dan – this is the sludge tank cover for the odor problem. They’ll finish this winter, so here we’d like to approved engineering construction services. They design the cover. Aldrich & Elliot Group in the amount of $15,200 for engineering services.

    Ian – is this a custom sludge tank cover?

    Dan – yes, the tank is custom to our plant.

    Liz – I think we’ve adequately covered this topic.

    Brandie – good one, Liz.

    Liz – I’ll be here all night…

    Ian – I just got it.


  • Municipal Planning Grant Application – Housing Needs Analysis and Plan

    Sue Fillion –

    Tim – congrats for 10 years…

    Sue – it was last year. 11 now. I’m here to apply for a planning grant – a comprehensive housing plan, which has not been done. We want to look at the full spectrum of housing to find out needs and strategies, with an equity lens. We want a steering committee – developers, tenant’s union, housing experts… – we can’t solve it alone. We need the experts to be on board. We have the experts. The plan is to apply for a $22,000 2021 Municipal Planning Grant from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, with a bit more from the Planning Dept. WE will get RFPs, but have talked with a planning firm to confirm we can do it for this amount.

    Tim – this feels very needed for Brattleboro to have information and data. Critical.

    Brandie – I’m excited about this and watch it unfold and curious to see what the outcome is, and glad we have an equitable element to it. Treating all the same isn’t always the best route. Can’t wait to see the results.

    Liz – when will this be completed?

    Sue – we’ll know in December, and it can be done in about 5 months.

    Ian – I read this and my mind has been in housing and we need more data and discussion.

    /Joseph – this is my first zoom call, can you tell me what this is about? An elevator speech?

    Sue – one responsibility of the planning dept is to write a town plan, and housing is one area in Brattleboro where we have census data but not a lot of on-the-ground data, and we know our housing stock isn’t always what people are looking for. This plan is looking at getting some data and putting together a plan. Can we make it easier to construct housing in Brattleboro? Other things we can do?

    /Joseph – build more housing nd lower costs? Is that the long term plan?

    Sue – it could be affordable housing, but all needs of the community – COVID and climate refugees – what are our future needs?

    Wichie Artu – I was a former resident of Brattleboro and got priced out and live in Athens. I express my support for this. In my experience, I can name 5 people of color being priced out of Brattleboro. How can we help people build wealth? We can’t afford everything at once and have to make choices. WE get locked into programs that mean we can’t own property. Paths to building wealth rather than more barriers or putting a band-aid on the issue.

    Tim – did you buy a farm?

    Wichie – yes, we just bought a farm.

    Tim – congratulations.

    Sue – first is the approve the grant, then the planning grant must pass a resolution…

    Elwell – the state requires the resolution.

    approved, and adopted

  • Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions Tiny Grant for the West River Trail

    Sue – in March you approve the application for the $480 grant. They’ll create some signage near the trail in the Riverstone Preserve, explaining the natural environment. Some Abanaki information, and maybe activities for kids. Will be done by May.

    Tim – we bike that portion of the trail…

    approved and accepted.

  • Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) Grant Application for Brattleboro Housing Authority – Public Hearing, COVID-19 Cost Recovery

    Patrick Moreland – we’d like to hold a pubic hearing and submit a grant to get reimbursed for BHA COVID-19 expenses. And another resolution to pass, too. This program is about affordable housing, but the state of VT has CARES money to distribute, through existing grant programs. It is to reimburse eligible non-profits. BHA has made it, because they manage federal projects and can demonstrate the household income of their residents. This application will score well at the state, and they are awaiting this application.

    Liz – wilt the others who didn’t make it to the finish line keep trying?

    Patrick – they didn’t want to continue.

    Tim – I open the public hearing.

    Liz – what will BHA do with this?

    Ian – what were the COVID related expenses?

    Christine Hart –

    Christine Hazzard – this has already been spent. We’ve already spent the money. We spent it on maintenance overtime, hazard pay for providers, we hired support staff to contact residents from march to July… we need to do these things . We disinfect 7 buildings daily or more often. We had technology expenses for employees to work at home. We made laundry free from March to July. That’s the majority of the costs.

    Christine Hart – we did apply to FEMA. Out of $17k they approved $600. None of that is in this application. This is the only funding available.

    /Joseph – I heard the term thrown about – it’s unsettling to me – the idea of affordable housing. It’s nebulous and means nothing. When they mean affordable, is it affordable to me on public assistance? Can you give a number terms what affordable means?

    Tim – that’s a bit off-topic. They serve hundreds of resident of Brattleboro.

    Hazzard – you can call Brattleboro Housing Partnerships. Some have no income, so have low income. It is a HUD formula. Rent is based on 30% of their income, but I can go into further detail.

    Hart – I have the numbers. Of there 446 residents we have , 329 have incomes lower than $16k. That’s called extremely low income. The definition of affordable ….74% of our residents are at 30% of median or below.

    Ian – A clarification…it isn’t VCDP money, just going through them, right?

    Elwell – it originated in the CARES Act but administered under VCDP rules.

    approved and resolved!

  • FY21 Winter Fuel Oil

    Elwell – as we annually do this bidding, we coordinate with the school district and pool together to make us a larger buyer with better pricing. Six bids received. Lowest is Barrows & Fisher Oil of Brattleboro, for 70,000 gallons of No. 2 heating fuel oil at a prepaid price of $1.259 per gallon. Best price in many years. The Town’s portion is an estimate of 70,000 gallons. Our actual consumption depends on a couple of things. We’ve been reducing demand, and the variable of how harsh a winter we have. Historically we use the full amount some years, and some years we do not. 70k is an estimate until the winter is through and we know what we used.

    Daniel – thanks for the content. I’m pleased we can get a good price from a local place. Fuel oil prices are abnormal right now, but as we move forward, if oil were to remain cheap, how will that impact our decision to move away from fossil fuels. I’d hope we’d take the high road.

    Liz – I went outside this afternoon. The air is smokey. We’re getting smoke from the west coats. Global warming in our air right now.

    Ian – I smelled the smoke, too. I thought it was someone in town. I’m shocked by that. My question is we lock in the price for the entire winter.

    Elwell – yes – we pre-buy. We get a good price by paying a large amount up front, then we settle up at the end after all the deliveries.

    Tim – I locked in my oil price today and didn’t get this price. It’s all about volume.

    Ian – is this strategically timed?

    Elwell – we get bids in mid August or Sept each year. We don’t play the market. This is rock bottom prices. It’s not strategically timed. Just ordinary business. The schools does much of this, too.

    /Joseph – we are in the middle of a 22 year solar cycle, a solar minimum. Before you blame the ash in the air on global warming, you might want to look at the solar minimum we are in the middle of.


  • Salt Shed

    Dan Tyler – We no longer have a salt shed. It was the large wooden structure close to the road. It was built in the early 1900’s and Valley Fair. Near the end of the winter the roof was buckling Nothing we could do to save it. We took the salt out, and demolished the salt shed. We’ve looked at different options, we considered the uncertainty of the DPW facility and may rearrange things or move, so we settled on a fabric top ever a frame, on concrete blocks. It could be moved if need be. The old salt shed held 400 tons. We use 100-150 of salt per storm. We want plenty there. Wasn’t anywhere else to store it. This is the best option. Got one bid. Iron Horse Structures of North Conway, New Hampshire, in the base amount of $43,250 for a 40×60 building. Plus $37,500 for the installation of a block foundation upon which the new structure will be installed. We’d like to accept the $43k base amount for the shed, but will look at foundation alternatives, or maybe something we can do it cheaper. This was not budgeted so we’d like to pay for this from the capital fund and ratify it at the next RTM.

    Elwell – Two or three years ago we had erosion near RR tracks due to a drainage problem and we couldn’t wait to get approval then construct it. We moved quickly, then went to RTM the following year to have that action ratified. Just what we want to do this time. The old building was very bad – we thought it might fail of it’s own weight. When it had become dangerous enough to stop using, we have a video we’d be happy to share. The heavy equipment to bang on it to make it collapse – it barely touched it and it fell like dominoes. A serious hazard that had to be removed, and with winter coming we have to have the new one in place. We can disassemble it and move it if we have to in the next few years.

    Brandie – this sound prudent. It’s cold now. Seems like a good plan.

    Daniel – I agree – a necessary thing to do. I’m surprised it wasn’t budgeted for, since we know about the state of the previous salt shed?

    Elwell – we knew, but we didn’t prioritize it. We pushed our luck one year too far.

    Ian – any estimate on how much for the block foundation done by us not a contractor?

    Dan – this a possible source for concrete block – old blocks from VY – we’re waiting on those. Also there are “waste blocks” but the quality isn’t that good. Hoping for the VY blocks. The lead time is 4-6 weeks. We’ll need to decide pretty soon.

    Elwell – we expect to spend something for the foundation, hopefully lest than $37.5k


    ten-ish minute break, too! : )

  • Community Safety Review (i) Select Facilitator (or “Finalists” for Facilitator) (ii) Determine Number of and Compensation for Committee Members

    A small discussion of recycling and Little Blue Truck vs. Thomas the Train and Gardener’s World.

    Tim – first is the facilitator selection. We have 5 proposals.

    Elwell – we received 5 responses. 4 were fully responsive – from $10k to $175k. The RFP asked proposers to address things as they feel is most appropriate, and then their pricing. A fifth proposal was offering to run alongside the process doing research, if the board would like.

    Tim – we’ve discussed this for many hours and this is exciting as we get to the nitty gritty of real proposals.

    Liz – I reviewed the in light of the criteria of the RFP, but maybe we should hear from Ungerleider regarding the add-on scope.

    Quipp – We have a few of the folks who wrote proposals…

    Tim – John’s is a little different. Is that ok?

    Daniel – I feel like to discuss the others first, then if we want to talk about it… in his email he said it is not a proposal for facilitation, so I’d like to talk about the others first.

    Daniel – I review them as Liz did, looking at the criteria – they meet facilitator qualifications, there are measures of success, the budget and timeline. I liked Emily-Megas Russell and Shea’s proposal – they worked on the RFP – but I have worked with them and feel they’d do a great job. It answers the criteria most directly. The other proposal I liked was Training for Transformation – that it talked about really centering on those closest to the pain. We should be inviting in and trying to find out about those directly impacted by things to do with policing and cereal system. I liked those two in that order.

    Brandie – I agree with what Daniel said about looking at it and the criteria, and thinking about the community. Many have worked with Emily already. Our laws enforcement has worked with Emily and Shea. The proposal from Oregon was good, too, but when we talk about the work in the community it is important that they are local and known to all of us.

    Ian – I did the same, looking at criteria. I thought it was helpful to read them all thoroughly. I’m not surprised I also support Emily and Shea’s. We spent a lot of time on the language of the RFP,a nd they were involved in that discussion and their proposal reflect’s that effort. John’s other idea is really interesting and I’d like to hear from him, and if Emily and Shea would be up for collaboration. he had some good ideas.

    Liz – Peter – do you want to see our rankings?

    Elwell – not necessary. It was meant to give you guidance.

    Liz – My ranking also had Emily and Shea at the top. They had a schedule that was achievable and a nice chart of survey questions. The others, less so. I’d also like to hear fo the two groups can collaborate. Emily, Shea, and John.

    Tim – Wow, it sounds like we are in a lot of agreement. I liked a lot what Brandie said about familiar faces and connections to the community. The short time frame requires it, but it also needs a very centered approach to the needs of Brattleboro. Some of the others felt like terrific proposals, but not necessarily for Brattleboro. I want the finding to fit Brattleboro, or else it won’t be of much use to us. Emily and Shea’s impressed me. Emily has facilitator skills. I know less of Shea, but impressive comments during this while process. Talking to Chief Fitzgerald, I’m hoping to find things the police will embrace that we’ll find helpful. I want this to be a useful process for everybody in Brattleboro.

    Liz – shall we vote on the facilitator then explore what John has to say?

    Elwell – there is one nuance to address. There is a recommendation within this proposal that is about the compensation for committee members. Based on the wording and the budget for the proposal, these are estimated costs, and that piece could be extracted and paid as we have previously discussed, and the rest would be for the rest of the engagement. Might be good to get a confirmation from them.

    Shea W. – That was so quick… (Daniel – we haven’t voted yet). Thanks for your confidence. How the money is dispersed is ok, but if you change the amounts a lot we’d want to discuss. We sort of undercut dome professionals to get this budget, and some were people of color. That was a mistake. We charged less per facilitator so we could give committee members substantial compensation. I’ve spoken with John… there are possibilities and limitations. A good combo.

    Tim – the overall budget or the budget of committee members?

    Shea W – more specifically the committee compensation, oof there were changes.

    Elwell – The rest of this shouldn’t be revised. The complication is because the RFP wasn’t specifically requested for that amount be in the proposal. You all want to accept this, so accept it as it was made to you. The budget addresses the other costs.

    Shea W – we didn’t know your standard protocol – but it was important to us to make space for this ewho need accessibility costs – like hearing impaired. Do you pay those costs?

    Elwell – Yes, it will be addressed as needed. It is an unknowable cost at this time, but expected to be something. WE use people for these types of services. It’s fine to be embedded in the cost of this work.

    Brandie – there is fruitfly that is bothering me that lives in the aloe plant. IT’s making me itchy.

    Shea – I read the collaboration proposal. None of us knew what other people were submitting. He wanted an anonymous way to submit info. He had some predetermined questions, and we felt that was the committee’s work. There is space for collaboration if he is open to letting the committee guide, he can help with technical support. The intent to engage a broad range of people is the same. The second part was getting together non-profit human service leaders to be a part of the solution making. We’ve reached out to many already. My concern with the collaboration idea is that we want to make sure the voices of experience aren’t overshadowed. So, Joh’s idea would be a great Phase II, or happen independently. I see it as Phase II. My fear of doing it first is how to envision solutions before knowing the gaps? People are already doing great work, but can we hear the most underheard most loudly for a moment? If we ask too soon.. the first part of his proposal has ample room for collaboration. He may have other ideas. That’s where we landed. Yes, and a lot is already in the proposal. Our proposal includes much of it, broadly. It’s for the will of the Selectboard to decide.

    Ian – you have expected hours per week for facilitators – do you have any estimate for committee participants?

    Shea – It is variable. How many committee members will there be? We thought 1 meeting a week? As many as possible? Depends on who shoes up, how many, and how many listening sessions we can achieve. We want to engage as many people as possible. We figured a stipend would be better than an hourly rate. We have space for co-facilitation.

    Ian – The board is about to talk about number of committee members. Opinion on number?

    Shea – we thought 9 in our budget. A small committee may not be as effective reaching enough people. One that is too large may not be able to move quickly enough. There will be challenges. I’m open to nine or less. But we want to involve even more than that. Seven could be great.

    Tim – hear from John?

    John Ungerleider- Shea and I had a great talk after these were posted Friday. The Committee is leading this, but they’ll be busy – one is to do online questions – to get ideas and a sense of buy-in. Two purposes there. The other is to get the professionals – mental health, social services, other agencies , police – what are ideas to collaborate. One comes on the early side, one on the late side. My questions were sample questions. We need to get committee questions out to the community early. The other would follow reviewing the committee’s results.

    Tim – it sounds like they want to collaborate – want to tie these together or have separate motions.

    Daniel – I hear you. I support Shea and Emily’s proposal. I heard that from other members of the board. I feel like the points he is making are in Emily and Shea’s proposal. I want to spend town money on Emily and Shea’s proposal.

    Liz – then two votes…

    Tim – well, it should like we have three people interested in them working together, and two maybe without. To me it sets us up for success if we have all three working together.

    Liz – I think there is a lot fo work and it is important work. It would only benefit to have John collaborate with his experience in restorative justice. It would make a better team.

    Brandie – Can’t we leave it up to them to collaborate, or couldn’t Jon apply to the Committee? Why have a second vote to have them talk to each other?

    Liz – to pay them both.

    Brandie – I thought we paid the one we vote for.

    Liz – if we ask them to collaborate but don’t hire them both they can’t collaborate.

    Brandie – I’m not comfortable with that.

    Liz – Maybe three of us are.

    Ian – I heard Shea said part of what John was proposing would work, and part was Phase II, so doesn’t it make sense to shoehorn it now. Can we hire Emily and Shea then ask them to talk to John, and we could hire him with a modified proposal later? They need to talk more then hire John for part of it. We have consensus on Emily and Shea.

    Liz – Shea said it would be helpful to have him work on the survey. His proposal has two parts. WE could hire him for the first part.

    Tim – we could hire Emily and Shea as the lead, then John as a add-on service.

    Daniel – I feel like we landed in a classic place – we were doing well. We had agreement on this proposal, the two things John offers – online research – it is in the RFP in the proposal already. The second part is the service professional working group, already in the proposal, is probably better later on. I intend to vote for Emily and Shea, then if we want to take a second vote then so be it.

    Tim – many community members have hands up. Emily? Your motion?

    Daniel – Emily…

    Emily Megas-Russell – go ahead and make a motion. I can answer direct questions, I’m super happy to respond. Shea spoke well to our discussion with John. Our priority in collaboration is with people of color and others with experiences to share. That’s our collaboration priority. I don’t support merging the two proposals. We have ways to get anonymous info, and think the rest would be good for Phase II. Non profits already do this discussion and it is already happening. If you want to increase our budget, to work with John, that can be discussed, but I don’t see merging them.

    Tim – we see it as an add-on. Motion on the floor.

    Ian – we’ll hire Emily and Shea and hand it to them, and give them the direction to have another discussion with John, and come back if you need more money for that?

    Tim – yes, maybe. But I thought we’d authorize the funding of his as well, rather than get under the hood.

    Ian – if they has said they fully supported this I’d be with you, but there are differing opinions they should talk more with John.

    Emily and Shea’s proposal is accepted. 5-0.

    Daniel – I’m not sure we should vote on JOhn’s… I don’t see any need to force collaboration on Emily and Shea. Who supports that and who doesn’t?

    Brandie – no forced collaboration…they can come back if they want to hire someone. We trust them to facilitate a conversation that might impact policy, but not know who to collaborate?

    Liz – there is a lot of work to do.

    Brandie – they can do it later.

    Tim – we want to make sure there is money and collaboration, we should have some motion to that effect.

    Elwell – you can take action tonight or leave it to facilitators to ask. If you want to act tonight, the way to do that would be to authorize the fee quoted in the proposal be amount not to exceed $40k, which would allow funding within the budget to cover John’s estimated costs, but would leave it to the facilitators as to when and how to call upon that resource.

    Tim – and stipends will be extra.

    Elwell – proposal what is in the proposal, not higher.

    Tim – do we want to move on to the next item?

    Liz – is what peter explained ok without another vote?

    Elwell – you either vote tonight to increase the budget, or have them come back if they need more.

    Tim – so let’s wait until after the next discussion.

    Liz – if we raise the budget then they don’t have to come back, that makes sense to me.

    Ian – if we don’t raise it they’d have to come back?

    Elwell – I suggest you don’t direct action without funding. Either increase it tonight for facilitators, or they can come back if they need more. If you do it tonight, it won’t be very specific.

    Brandie – and assuming that work with a specific collaborator. They might want to collaborate with someone else that we aren’t thinking of. I’d hate to lock that in so early.

    Tim – I can see it both ways. I feel like.. daniel…

    Daniel – we hired Emily and Shea because we trust them. I trust they’ll come back if they need more. Let the go do this work.

    Liz – Shea said John’s first item was welcome and would help them. It would help with buy-in of the process as it continues. They have a lot of work. Raise the ceiling now without the trouble of coming back. Give them the flexibility now. I vote for voting on increasing the ceiling. I move to increase the ceiling of the contract to $10k so they can have incidental collaboration services as needed.

    Ian – Daniel – I don’t see why we’d be opposed to this?

    Daniel – we didn’t direct them tow work with a particular person, they can work with whomever they please, but here is money for collaboration.

    Brandie – I’d support that.

    Ian – and there was some agreement in that discussion. This doesn’t seem that difficult.

    Tim – does that work if the committee stipend changes.

    Elwell – you accepted their proposal, and there is just shy of $9k for stipends to committee members. The hiring of facilitators would be deducted from the total. What you are saying now doesn’t change it, except the budget is larger and they can hire some supplementary professional assistance to do work of that nature in John’s proposal. That’s the impact of Liz’s motion if you approve it.


    Tim – we’ll continue now with the number and compensation for committee members. I have some ideas myself.

    Daniel – 7 and the proposal’s budget number – $950 per committee member.

    Liz – I think we need to talk about that we are making a rare exception to our usual method of business in Brattleboro, spanning the entirety of Town Government. We get a meager stipend, and this stipend is for just a few months work. Other town committees don’t get paid at all. WE’ve agreed to pay in this instance. While we decide this amount, and I understand needing to make it worthwhile for participants, we should be careful not to make a precedent for the future that is unworkable for the Town.

    Brandie – I like around 9 people. I first thought 11, but that can be too much. The number of members will drive the payment.

    Ian – I started at 13 which is too big, but it is half 26. I read much online but there is no perfect committee size. The biggest committee currently is 9. I fall at 9. I know how hard it will be to select out fo the really qualified and good candidates. The other part, the stipend. I looked at the schedule. 16 weeks, let’s say each person works 3 hours a week per week – just a guess – and gave a livable wage of $15/hr. That’s $720 so I bumped it up to $750. That’s my number for the stipend. That’s where I’m at.

    Brandie – your process is hysterical and familiar to me…

    Tim – it seems like the members – I was going to go low to keep it efficient – maybe 6 or 7 . I’ll say 7 to line up with Daniel. The stipend, I am concerned about the precedent setting nature of it. This is a big ask and quick timeline. The numbers were higher than I was expecting. When you say living wage – wow – we don’t get paid living wage for what we do. I’m getting feedback on the idea of paying committee members in general, and the idea of stipends… nice that we get them but we shouldn’t quit our day job. My number was $200- $250 tops, and that is my upper range.

    Liz – I was thinking about $250, and 7-9 people doesn’t matter to me. What was Ian’s number, $750? We compromise, how would that be? $500? For a precedent stetting move. It makes a statement and it is decent for their effort.

    Daniel – there was a lengthy discussion of selectboard stipends on Saturday and some people need the money and some people don’t. Maybe we ask if they want the stipend, and we can save money that way.

    Ian – the work I do with the board of Civil Authority – they ask if you want to get paid and you say yes or no. Maybe some don’t feel like they need to be paid.

    Elwell – the poll work situation is the closest we have to that. A good local example. The example more related to committees is that the state of VT pays sometimes. Some service on committees gets some compensation offered. The board of VLCT offers payment and transportation reimbursement – the Town of Brattleboro receives the money I get. Doesn’t get to the equity issue and a break from precedent for this.

    Brandie – when we chatted with Shea, it was mentioned that if we did a big deviation we should have a formal discussion. The proposal had $950, and we accepted the proposal. Is $250 or $500 a large deviation?

    Liz – if we take Peter’s suggestion, some pay $50 a meeting, which is like Ian’s suggestion of $750. It’s not that much of a reduction. I’d be fine for $750.

    Ian – I needed a structure to determine a number. Love to hear more. It wasn’t a rejection of anything. This is new ground. When I say Liveable Wage I needed a number. Minimum wage is too low. So I moved it up. We have 26 people applying for this. Maybe because there would be a stipend?

    Tim – It was clear to Shea and Emily that what goes to committee members is up to us, so we should make the decision, but we can hear from them.

    Liz – we would be compromising and could focus on Ian’s $750.

    Brandie – we accepted a proposal with a specific number…

    Daniel – I get the feeling Tim wants to vote on this as a board.

    Tim – Yes. They knew it was our purview and not their proposal.

    Daniel – let’s give participants options to accept or reject.

    Tim – or a cling… up to… I urge 7 members.

    Daniel – number shouldn’t drive amount of stipend.

    Liz – I go with 9 and they need the people to do it. 9 and $750.

    Daniel – fine with me.

    Ian – a global pandemic is going on, so in case someone can’t participate…. more would be good.

    Tim – 4 votes for 9 members and $750. I’ll be against it as I want 7 and $500.

    It is 9 committee members and up to $750.

    approved 4-1 (Wessel against)

    Daniel – is it still summer?

  • Committee Appointment

    Art Miess to the Conservation Commission


Leave a Reply