City Council Minutes 07-17-2018


JULY 17, 2018


Mayor Renny Perry called the special meeting to order at 6:33 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station. The purpose of the special meeting was to approve warrants, discuss the appointment of an interim City Manager, an interim Delinquent Tax Collector, an interim 9-1-1 Municipal Coordinator, and a Zoning Administrator. Discussion will also include recommending an interim Health Officer to the Vermont Department of Health. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Renny Perry                                    City Manager Mel Hawley

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                  City Clerk Joan Devine

Alderman David Austin                           Andy Kirkaldy

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                    Cheryl Brinkman

Alderman Mathew Chabot

Alderman Mark Koenig

Alderman Lynn Donnelly

WARRANTS: Four Warrants were presented totaling $326,235.33 and were circulated for review and signatures of approval. One Warrant was for bills paid in June for FY2019 expenses. Another Warrant involved checks that were processed on June 30 for invoices that needed to be paid before July 17. The third Warrant involves invoices received after June 30 for FY2018 expenses. The fourth one involves invoices received after June 30 for FY2019 expenses.

APPOINTMENT OF INTERIM CITY MANAGER: Mayor Renny Perry advised we need to appoint an interim City Manager as City Manager Hawley will retire on July 24, 2018. Alderman Matt Chabot stated that he is speaking for himself. He advised he finds the City in a regrettable position even though best efforts have been put forth but we ended with no viable candidate for the City Manager position. He stated he has asked Mel to work part-time until a replacement can be found and transitioned.

City Manager Hawley explained he has no problem with this discussion being held in public session but wanted the City Council to be aware that an executive session is allowed under these circumstances. He went on to say that his 65th birthday is August 7th and if anyone knows him, they know that he is tired and that there is little financial benefit to work beyond is 65th birthday. City Manager Hawley advised he was looking forward to his retirement on July 24th and his wife was looking forward to July 25th. He stated that he felt he had a moral responsibility to not leave the City in this condition. Reading the City Charter it says that the City Council shall appoint a City Manager at their first meeting of the fiscal year. He reported further down in the City Charter it says “…who shall serve until a replacement is found and sworn”. Manager Hawley advised he has spoken with his wife Laurie who understands he needs to stay on longer with very, very limited hours through August 31st. He has about 330 hours of accrued vacation time that he can use with approximately eight work hours per week through August 31st. Manager Hawley advised he is not interested in being an interim City Manager. Alderman Lynn Donnelly reported she has seen the job applications and resumes provided by VLCT and they are very, very good so she feels August 31st is a date that can be met. City Manager Hawley went on to report the Listers work is completed and the property tax bills have gone out. Alderman Lowell Bertrand questioned if any action is going on with the part-time administrative assistant/accounts payable position that was approved. City Manager Hawley advised not yet but that an available candidate has been identified who may come in on a temporary basis to assist. He reported it has been busy getting ready for the auditors who are arriving July 18. He also said that he did not feel it was appropriated to be hiring permanent employees given that a new manager will be starting soon. Mayor Renny Perry advised the Planning Commission has a recommendation for zoning administrator that will be presented to the City Council on July 24th. It was announced that the interested candidate is Peter Garon (current Chair of the Development Review Board). City Manager Hawley advised his term as Zoning Administrator runs through June 30, 2019 so he recommended the term of a replacement be from the date of appointment through June 30, 2019. The next appointment for the position would be a 3-year term per statute. Alderman Lynn Donnelly moved to appoint Peter Garon as the Zoning Administrator beginning July 25, 2018 and expiring June 30, 2019. The motion was seconded by Alderman Matt Chabot with all voting in favor.

INTERIM E-9-1-1 MUNICIPAL COORDINATOR: City Manager Hawley advised the person who fills this position needs to be in tune with the detail and importance of E-9-1-1 addressing and how they are laid out. In the interim, until a replacement is found, he felt City Clerk Joan Devine could assume this role since the maps are in the vault and is familiar with the system. City Clerk Devine agreed to fill the position on an interim basis effective July 25, 2018.

DELINQUENT TAX COLLECTOR: Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz moved to appoint Mel Hawley as the Delinquent Tax Collector from July 25, 2018 through August 31, 2018. Alderman Mark Koenig seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

INTERIM HEALTH OFFICER: City Manager Hawley reported most of his calls as City Health Officer deal with rental housing inspections. The Legislature passed a law effective July 1st that when a complaint is filed it requires a full inspection and a form needs to be filled out. The City Council recommends a candidate to the Department of Health and they make the appointment. If the City Council fails to do that, the position falls on the Chair of the local legislative body (Mayor Renny Perry).

The City Council expressed their sincere gratitude to City Manager Hawley and his wife for their consideration and understanding of the City’s position.

ADJOURNMENT: At 7:25 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Vergennes City Clerk