By SHIRLEY PULAWSKI
OBSERVER Staff Writer
The Pomfret Town Board held its reorganizational meeting on Monday and approved standard business along with discussing opportunities to put some policies into writing regarding expenditures.
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Before its annual reorganizational meeting on Monday, Councilperson David Penharlow was sworn in by Town Clerk Roberta Valentine to fill the remainder of Charles Civiletto’s term after his retirement. Penharlow was voted in to fill the term in November. The term expires in December 2013.
Before the meeting, councilperson David Penharlow was sworn in by Town Clerk Roberta Valentine. Penharlow was appointed by the Pomfret Town Board in January to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Charles Civiletto. Penharlow won the ballot in November to complete the remainder of the term which expires in December 2013.
Among topics discussed, budgetary spending by some departments was questioned. According to Councilperson Patricia Christina, an expenditure was made by the Grapebelt Seniors she felt may not have been approved by the board.
Supervisor Donald Steger said a luncheon was held with "musical entertainment" which the group paid for entirely out of the budget. "It would be different if it were something they contributed to. If it's a $10 luncheon and they each pay $5, that's one thing, but if they pay the whole thing for anyone who comes in, that's something else," Steger explained after the meeting. Steger did not know the figure at the time, but confirmed the amount was well over $100.
Discussion at the meeting surrounded how to address "non-standard expenditures" by some departments. Councilpersons David Penharlow and Scott Johnston suggested setting a policy so any amount spent over a certain level would need to be approved by the board.
"Is there a written policy in place?" Penharlow asked.
Clerk Roberta Valentine said there was not, but expressed concerns people would come to her office seeking a resolution to be placed on a board meeting agenda "for every birthday cake" if a policy was not written carefully.
Steger said timeliness could be an issue if a policy resulted in a long wait for board approval due to meeting schedules a department needed to make an expenditure. "You would need to have a deputy. ... If there is a policy, then someone has to be able to make that approval," he explained.
Christina said terms could be "explicitly stated" and said she was not looking to implement a set of policies for all departments, but one specific to the senior group.
"It doesn't have to be for every $5 pack of pens," Johnston stated. Councilperson Ann Eckman agreed and said a procurement policy should be considered.
Penharlow said he felt written policies should be in place for all departments, and said the discussion "is probably more than we can deal with in our reorganizational meeting," and suggested the board look at setting specific policies at the next meeting on Wednesday. "I think we need to talk to folks and make sure any dollar amount set is appropriate and reasonable."
The meeting otherwise focused on annual business including appointments to offices and information on sick and vacation time, health and dental benefits and which town employees are entitled to those benefits. Effective January 2013, eligible employees will now have to contribute 5 percent of the annual cost of the premium for health insurance benefits.
An insurance buyout program was adopted for eligible employees who choose not to participate in the town-provided health insurance. For active employees, the buyout amount is $1,500 for a family/double plan and $750 for a single plan or for eligible retirees on a double plan or $375 for single.
The town depositories designated are M&T Bank, Community Bank, MBIA Class Cooperative and Bank of America. For official notices as required by law, the official newspaper is the OBSERVER and Pomfret Town Hall is designated as a posting location. The regular monthly meetings will continue to be scheduled for the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the town hall, 9 Day St., Fredonia, unless otherwise changed with proper notification.
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