Chichester Board of Selectmen
December 1, 2006
MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman MacCleery, Selectman Colbert, Selectman DeBold and Administrative Assistant Lisa Stevens.
Chairman MacCleery opened the meeting at 12:12pm.
Subject: Road Agent
PRESENT: David Kenneally, Road Agent
Chairman MacCleery asked Mr. Kenneally if he wanted a closed meeting. Mr. Kenneally responded no.
The Board asked Mr. Kenneally to meet with them to clear the air regarding his handling of the directive given for information to be included with the snow plow contracts.
Mr. Kenneally shared copies of last year’s pay stubs showing the hourly rate of $60.00
For plowing snow.
Selectman Colbert started by apologizing to Mr. Kenneally for accusing him of increasing the hourly rate to $60.00. Selectman Colbert misquoted the rate based on hearsay.
Selectman DeBold stands corrected as well and apologized to Mr. Kenneally. His impression was that rates had gone up, apparently the Board was wrong.
Chairman MacCleery stated he had the misunderstanding that the price for plowing last year was $55/hr.
The Road Agent shared copies of the original contracts. Last years contracts have been misplaced by both the highway department and the Selectmen’s Office. The previous two years contracts are missing from the Selectmen’s Office. The only difference in the wording is the omission of the word legal on line one of the contract. The Road Agent stated it was an honest typing error.
Selectman DeBold stated the underlying issue here is that the Road Agent doesn’t understand why the Board of Selectmen should be involved in setting rates.
Mr. Kenneally responded that rates get approved at this level not set. Mr. Kenneally feels this is a misplay on words. Mr. Kenneally did state the cost to the contracts prior to confirmation with the Selectmen. Mr. Kenneally does agree that the Board needs to approve of what the department heads do.
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Selectman DeBold stated there needs to be checks and balances. This Board has taken an active stance in setting rates.
Mr. Kenneally responded, I didn’t change any rates.
Selectman DeBold does not understand why the Road Agent is bothered by the request for the additional information such as copies of truck registrations and licenses from the contracted snowplow vendors.
Mr. Kenneally responded, well the Selectmen should have had a prior discussion with the highway department about the reasons for the additional information.
Selectman Colbert’s concern if the request for additional information was not received well by the Road Agent why didn’t he come to the Board and discuss it. Why did two contractors have to come to the meeting telling me I don’t want this to be another Epsom.
Selectman Colbert is concerned with how the Road Agent is conducting himself as a town official. Selectmen Colbert stated Mr. Kenneally made a valid point about whose license to request. If Mr. Kenneally was unhappy about a decision the Board made, Mr. Kenneally should have discussed it with the Board first, not to the contractors or all over town. Selectmen Colbert has heard on more than one occasion that the highway department is accusing the Selectmen of micro-managing the department. It is their job to oversee the departments. We all make mistakes; difference being the Board does not run around town talking about the Road Agent.
Chairman MacCleery stated the Board is just looking for documentation. This covers both the Road Agent and the Selectmen. Paperwork is part of your job.
Selectman DeBold feels when he is sitting at the Road Committee meetings that the Road Agents presentation to the body is that the Board of Selectmen is the root of all his problems and Selectman DeBold has to spend time defending the Board’s decisions.
In particular was the decision about Center Road. Yes, it is a bottom line budget; however the Board’s decision was a judgment call not to allow the work on Center Road because the highway budget figures were too tight.
Mr. Kenneally responded by saying you can’t hold me responsible for what a guy takes away from a meeting in regards to his opinion, in regards to the Road Advisory Committee meetings.
Selectman Colbert could not be happier with the amount of work from the highway department but Mr. Kenneally needs to talk to the Board about an issue, not having contractors questioning the Board’s directives. It is the Board of Selectmen’s
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responsibility to ask questions and make directives. I personally don’t appreciate individuals telling us how to run things on this side of the table.
The Road Agent responded he doesn’t feel it is easy and open to try talking to the Board. Respect is a two way street. Mr. Kenneally went on to explain he did not come to the Selectmen’s Office high on the horse. Mr. Kenneally has apologized to the staff in the office for his outburst.
Chairman MacCleery expressed the need to act like professionals whether or not you are provoked.
Mr. Kenneally did not ask the contractors to come in on my behalf and discuss this issue, it was not planned to bring in those guys and surprise the Board.
The Board of Selectmen has gone on record stating the directive that license and registration will be required from plow contractors.
Selectman Colbert does not feel this is an unreasonable request.
Selectman DeBold asked the Road Agent if he thinks it was unreasonable.
Mr. Kenneally responded it put a burr in my saddle because it feels like you guys think I’m letting unregistered vehicles plow for the town.
Selectman DeBold responded saying it is not that I mistrust you; it’s the right thing to do for the Town of Chichester.
The Road Agent shared copies of the original contracts. Last years contracts have been misplaced by both the highway department and the Selectmen’s Office. The previous two years contracts are missing from the Selectmen’s Office.
Mr. Kenneally responded, you never before asked for registrations and license.
Selectman Colbert stated, the request for more documentation does not reflect on you, it’s on the position, and you’re doing a great job.
The Road Agent would like the request for information be included in the contract.
Selectman DeBold responded by saying he backs what Selectman Colbert stated, if you didn’t like the directive why didn’t you come talk to us about it.
Selectman Colbert stated there must be open dialogue.
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Mr. Kenneally agrees the Board is very involved but it is hard not to take his job personal.
The Board is looking into other departments, it’s our job but the Board can not act on hearsay. We just got caught with the rate assumption, the Road Agent was right and the Board was wrong. We need to continue to work together as a team.
Mr. Kenneally submitted the signed contracts with the exception of Mr. Mayville’s registration. Once in hand, the contracts will be complete.
Selectman Colbert and Selectman DeBold are not in favor of a written reprimand.
The Board of Selectmen goes on record officially stating a verbal reprimand to Road Agent David Kenneally for his conduct.
The Board reviewed prices for new plows and accepted the bid from EW Sleeper for the blazer, contingent that pricing is not substantially lower from another vendor and bid from Fairfield of $5,500 for a new plow contingent upon Donovan’s not being a substantially lower price.
The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 1:25pm.
Stephen MacCleery, Chairman
APPROVED AS CORRECTED