Committee To Conduct Search for Town Manager

Communities / Feb. 16, 2017 9:58am EST

By Lisa Campbell

The Bethel Selectboard began its February 13 meeting by presenting this year’s dedication of the annual Town Report to the Bethel Revitalization Initiative, in recognition of the work the BRI has done to bring the community together to imagine and create a better Bethel, including potluck dinners, Bethel University, and Bethel Better Block.

Next up was discussion around the selection of the town manager hiring committee. Carl Russell explained that the committee can have up to 10 members to start, but that by the time interviews begin, it would be important to have the committee smaller to make the process less cumbersome. Six people expressed interest in being on the committee. All members of the committee need to be residents of Bethel, ruling out a local business person who expressed interest.

Board member Lisa Hill has also expressed interest in participating, and will be placed on the committee after she finishes her term on the selectboard on Town Meeting Day. The Vermont League of Cities and Towns said there are no rules prohibiting the participation of a selectboard member on a hiring committee.

The selectboard anticipates beginning the review of the applications in executive session following its regular meeting February 27. Russell noted that in a conversation with Heather Law from the VLCT, she said there were currently 20-30 applications for the position, and recommended running the advertisement for at least one more week.

In an update on the status of the unified bylaws, Russell had spoken with Kevin Geiger of the TROCC, and Geiger will provide the board with a “clean” version of the bylaws (with the changes requested) by the February 27 meeting.

The board approved a request from Whitcomb High School to hold a coin drop March 25 on Route 12 near the Bethel Bandshell.

Town Mtg., Budget

There was discussion about the presentation format for Town Meeting, including explanation of the capital plan, so it is as easy as possible to understand. The plan itself is not being voted on, but some of the budget items are based on the approved plan.

The board discussed Hill’s role in approving warrants, and signing checks in between regularly scheduled meetings. This process was created to help the town avoid extra expenses in late fees on various payables accounts. Hill noted that it takes less than an hour and recommended that the board continue to do this moving forward. The board will appoint a member after the Town Meeting elections.

Town Manager Arlund reported that the “new-to-us” constable’s vehicle has been purchased and picked up. He also said there is someone interested in purchasing the former vehicle, a 1997 Tahoe.

The SB discussed the lack of policy/ operating procedure for cleaning up the village after a snowfall. There have been some complaints regarding the noise created by the town vehicles when cleaning up during the early morning hours. The board acknowledged the annoyance factor, but also knows the limitations on the road crew’s availability. There are three-and-a-half employees working eight hours a day, and they only have so much time to get the job done. In addition, the clean-up downtown obviously needs to happen at a time when parked cars are minimal.

The idea of a mural for “the wall” in Bethel was discussed. Burlington artist Mary Lacy has national funding for creating several murals, and would like her last project to be a mural on The Wall. The AOT, which has ultimate responsibility for the wall, is interested enough in this idea to look into it further.

AOT is looking for the board to endorse it, in order to get the permits for the installation, if the project should be approved. This idea is still in the very early conceptual stages, and the group will be looking for community input on what form the mural would take, if it is approved.

The board spent the remainder of the meeting in executive session discussing personnel matters.

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