West Seneca Town Board Meeting Minutes 04/20/2009
Supervisor Wallace C. Piotrowski called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. with 30 seconds of silent prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ROLL CALL: Present -
Absent - None
Supervisor Piotrowski read the Fire Prevention Code instructing the public where to exit in case of a fire or an emergency.
6-A MINUTES TO BE APPROVED
6-B LEGAL NOTICES
1. Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, that proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: “OF A PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 102, §102-5 AND §102-9, OF THE TOWN CODE CONCERNING SITE PLAN REVIEW” in the Town of West Seneca, be received and filed.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to open the public hearing.
Councilman Graber stated that the purpose of the public hearing was to consider an amendment to the site plan waiver process requiring signatures from the Town Engineer, Code Enforcement Officer, and Planning Board Chairman for approval of the waiver. The amendment will change the number of signatures required to two instead of three.
No comments were received from the public.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve the proposed amendments to Chapter 102, §102-5 and §102-9, of the Town Code indicating that only two signatures of the Town Engineer, Code Enforcement Officer, or Planning Board Chairman are required for granting a site plan waiver.
6-C TABLED ITEMS
1. Moran rezoning request
Remained on the table.
2. Youth Employment Program
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to receive and file this item.
On the question, Councilwoman Bove noted that she had spoken with Maureen Kraus of Erie County who alerted her to the fact that WNY AmeriCorps will be working with students of special needs and will be facilitating the program in West Seneca.
3. Support for Director of Burchfield Nature & Art Center
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Councilman Graber, to remove this item from the table.
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Councilman Graber, to appropriate $1800 per month to assist the Burchfield not-for-profit and enter into a short term service agreement as soon as possible.
On the question, Supervisor Piotrowski requested a draft of the service agreement.
Councilwoman Bove stated that due to the lack of legal assistance at this time, she did not have a draft of the service agreement but would try to get it as soon as possible, hopefully by the next meeting. The Burchfield was running out of funding and needed money as soon as possible.
Supervisor Piotrowski questioned the purpose of the $1800.
Councilwoman Bove responded that the Burchfield needed a number of things, including a salary for the support of the director, and she thought the town should help fund them.
Supervisor Piotrowski noted that they were a not-for-profit and obtained funding through grants and donations.
Councilwoman Bove agreed but stated that the sports programs in town were also not-for-profit and the Town Board paid for the umpires, etc. She thought it was in the good interest of the town to fund the Burchfield since it was the town’s facility and if they do services for the town as a not-for-profit the town should help with funding.
1. Supervisor Piotrowski re Appointment of Town Attorney, Deputy Town Attorney, Town Prosecutors
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to table this item until the next meeting.
On the question, Supervisor Piotrowski stated that the town was without a Town Attorney, Deputy Town Attorney Paul Notaro was leaving May 1st, and the next Town Board meeting was not until May 4th. He thought the board members should be able to select someone from the six resumes received.
Councilman Graber stated that he only received three resumes.
Supervisor Piotrowski responded that on April 2nd he forwarded six resumes to all the board members.
Councilman Graber noted that some of the people did not reside in West Seneca.
Supervisor Piotrowski responded that only one of the applicants did not reside in the town.
Councilwoman Meegan suggested scheduling a work session to discuss this issue and Councilman Graber suggested an executive work session 30 minutes prior to the next Town Board meeting.
2. Supervisor Piotrowski re Southtowns Fitness Center 5K Race
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve the request of the Southtowns Fitness Center to hold a 5K race supporting the American Cancer Society Relay for Life on May 1, 2009 beginning at 6:30 P.M.
3. Councilwoman Meegan re Credit card policy
Motion by Councilwoman Meegan, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to adopt a credit card policy for the Town of West Seneca and execute the attached document relating to policy and procedures, noting that the Town of West Seneca will issue a credit card in its name for the use of its officers and designated employees for authorized expenses.
On the question,
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Councilman Clarke, to table this item for further discussion and research to make sure it fits the town’s needs.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that she had reviewed vouchers submitted to the Comptroller’s office from many town departments and discovered the following concerns on purchases made by the Youth Bureau in excess of $90,000 for the calendar year 2008, many without supporting documentation: gift cards, liquor, airline tickets for non-town employees, hotel stays, gas purchased from Sunoco when the town has its own gas pumps to fill vehicles, cash advances over $3000, attendance at conferences without prior Town Board approval, 10+ non-employees using town credit cards, a Home Depot credit card account statement reading West Seneca Youth Bureau with another non-town employee listed as a card holder. Councilwoman Meegan stated that proper controls must be put in place and policies set and strictly adhered to in order to limit credit card usage for department heads and town employees. They must establish reasonable credit limits for each purchase transaction and a
total for the card for each department to prohibit the use of the town’s credit card for expenses pending later reimbursement. The NYS Comptroller’s Office recommends this since there is no guarantee that a payment will be made. The town’s independent auditor, Wayne Drescher, made it very clear at the last department head meeting that all spending must be looked into and they must find ways to save within the town. Every department will be affected by the next town budget and the board members must do what they can to reduce the costs. Councilwoman Meegan noted that there are several people that are not town employees that are using the town’s credit card for their daily business and the NYS Comptroller’s Office informed her that it is incumbent upon the West Seneca Town Board to move forward and adopt policy and procedures because the spending is out of control.
Councilwoman Bove asked for Comptroller Robert Bielecki’s comments on this issue.
Mr. Bielecki responded that the purchases referred to were made by AmeriCorps personnel. The credit card used was a Town of West Seneca card and when they met with the AmeriCorps in March Mr. Bielecki asked that it be returned to the Comptroller’s Office, but they refused to do it, citing that they needed the entire Town Board’s approval to return it. The charges were made by AmeriCorps and the town had no control over them.
Councilwoman Bove questioned if the vouchers go to the Comptroller’s Office.
Mr. Bielecki responded that his office was not responsible for AmeriCorps charges; they were only responsible for the credit card. The Youth Bureau charges did go through his department.
Councilwoman Bove stated that it sounded to her like Mr. Bielecki was not doing his job.
Mr. Bielecki stated that the charges were initiated by AmeriCorps and they did not submit the charges to his office, but they were on the town’s credit card.
Councilwoman Meegan noted that the credit card was authorized by the prior administration and it had continued for many years. She stated that Mr. Bielecki was doing his job and was doing it very well, but there was a lack of control because other people were allowed to do what they want without question. The response Mr. Bielecki received from the Youth Bureau was that the credit cards would not be returned until the West Seneca Town Board approved it.
Councilman Clarke questioned why this was not reported to the rest of the Town Board.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that the information was available in the Comptroller’s Office and the item was on the Town Board agenda that was distributed last Thursday.
Councilman Graber stated that it was obvious the Town Board needed to look at the procurement policy, not just for AmeriCorps but for everyone. He suggested that this be done in conjunction with a new Town Attorney as well as the thoughts and ideas of the board members.
4. Town Engineer re Ice rink engineering services proposal
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to accept the professional engineering services proposal submitted by Carmina-Wood-Morris, 487 Main Street Suite 600, Buffalo, NY 14203 in the amount of $30,000 for providing professional engineering services on the ice rink study.
On the question, Councilwoman Bove questioned the line item code for this expenditure.
Town Engineer George Montz responded that it referred to the grant received from Assemblyman Schroeder’s office.
Councilwoman Bove stated that the town did not have that money.
Mr. Montz understood that but stated that he discussed this with the Comptroller’s Office and Grantwriter Connie Miner and that was the only item they could possibly code it to. The town did not yet have the grant money but it was expected.
Councilwoman Bove stated that it could be a couple years before they receive the money and $30,000 was a lot of money. Although she saw the need for the engineering services, Councilwoman Bove was hesitant to spend money they did not have.
Councilwoman Meegan noted that they had already spent the grant money they hadn’t yet received for the remediation project at the ice rink. They used it to clean up the ice rink and moving forward with the engineering will make it part of the same grant.
Councilwoman Bove stated that when they approved expenditures for the ice rink remediation the funds were coming from the General Fund and they were unaware of the grant money that would be coming.
Councilman Graber stated that he had spoken with Ms. Miner this date and the $250,000 grant from Assemblyman Schroeder’s office was in process and there was a very good chance the town would be receiving it. He questioned the expectations of completing the study.
Mr. Montz stated that he was still asking for a projected schedule, but right now they were trying for the end of July or beginning of August.
Councilman Graber questioned who was on the Ice Rink Review Committee.
Mr. Montz responded that he and Supervisor Piotrowski, Councilwoman Meegan, Recreation Director Robert Walsh, Chief Gehen, Highway Supt. Matthew English, Ken Moeller, and Dick Lynch were on the committee.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that all the council members were invited.
Councilman Graber noted that there was a question about the refrigeration system and the long term capability of the structure itself, but until they had actual figures from a qualified engineering firm they could not decide which direction to go. Although the cost was $30,000, it had to be spent in order to get the answers and make an educated decision based on the facts.
Motion by Supervisor Piotrowski, seconded by Councilman Graber, to table this item until the next Town Board meeting so they can find a different line item in the budget.
5. Town Engineer re Drilling services proposal
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve the SJB Services Inc. proposal of $2200 for providing drilling services and reports for the upcoming projects this summer.
6. Town Engineer re Bid date for Ludwig Avenue Reconstruction Project
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to set a bid date of May 18, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. for receipt of bids on the Ludwig Avenue Reconstruction Project, Job No. L-0801.
7. Town Engineer re Bid date for East & West Road Watermain Replacement Project
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to set a bid date of May 18, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. for receipt of bids on the East & West Road Watermain Replacement Project, Job No. E-0807.
8. Town Engineer re Bid date for Collins Avenue Reconstruction Project
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to table this item until the next meeting.
9. Town Engineer re Bid date for Graham Avenue & Burch Avenue Reconstruction Project
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to set a bid date of June 1, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. for receipt of bids on the Graham Avenue and Burch Avenue Reconstruction Project, Job No. G-0805.
On the question, Councilwoman Bove stated that when the town applied for HUD money they put in for three streets and the result was only receiving money for Graham Avenue. In 2007, they received no streets because the town was penalized for not completing the project at the Senior Citizens Center on time. When the Senior Citizens Center project was completed, she contacted Tom Doering and Mike Alspaugh at Erie County and advised that the town was penalized by not receiving money for two streets for an entire year. In 2009 they only received one street, but she told them she had hoped the town would receive funding for two streets. They informed her it was not possible, but she knew the town had a three year agreement with the coalition that was up for signing in 2010. When she heard about the increased stimulus from President Obama, Councilwoman Bove contacted Erie County and told them that the federal government was giving more money for projects that were already on the books that may not have been granted and asked if the town had a chance of receiving funding for the second or third street. Both Mr. Doering and Mr. Alspaugh told her that the town did not have enough points. She then expressed her disappointment and asked to speak to their boss, but before that occurred the town received information that Burch Avenue would receive funding. Councilwoman Bove was happy that the stimulus money was made available and the Burch Avenue project could go forward and she thanked Connie Miner for her assistance.
10. Town Engineer re Appointment of Mark Hummell as Senior Engineer Assistant
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to appoint Mark Hummell as Senior Engineer Assistant in the Engineering Department at an annual rate of $51,767.02, Group 9, Step 1, effective May 4, 2009, and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
11. Chief Gehen re Justice Assistance Grant stimulus funding
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the Town of West Seneca Police Department to pursue the 2009 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) stimulus funding and authorize the Supervisor to sign any necessary grant forms, noting that the town is eligible for $37,724 in federal assistance from this stimulus program, it will be utilized to fund expenses for various community policing programs, the town is in partnership with eleven other agencies within Erie County, and the financial resources must be used between March 1, 2009 and February 28, 2013.
12. Chief Gehen re Attendance of Lt. Cotter at Child Abuse Investigations training
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize Family Offense Lieutenant Richard Cotter to attend the Child Abuse Investigations training course April 27 – May 1, 2009 in Rochester, New York, at a cost not to exceed $920.
13. Chief Gehen re Retirement of Det. Lt. John Cunningham
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to accept the retirement of Detective Lieutenant John Cunningham and terminate him effective May 6, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel, noting that Lt. Cunningham has served the Town of West Seneca for more than 30 years.
On the question, Councilwoman Meegan stated that she had the privilege of working with Lt. Cunningham over the last year and was proud that he was part of the West Seneca Police Department. He was a great guy, did so much for the youth court, and will be greatly missed.
14. Town Clerk re Refund of site plan review application fee – 1168 Orchard Park Road
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to refund $600 to Dr. Daniel Mazur for the site plan review application fee for 1168 Orchard Park Road, noting that it was determined that the project qualified for a site plan waiver and the applicable $150 fee was paid for the waiver request.
15. Town Clerk re People Inc. rezoning & special permit request for 117 French Road
Rhonda Frederick, Chief Operating Officer at People Inc.; William Long of Long Associates Architects; Jocelyn Bos, Housing Director at People Inc.; and Patricia Bittar of William Schutt & Associates addressed the Town Board on the rezoning and special permit request for 117 French Road. Ms. Bos stated that they had received notification of funding for construction of a 47-unit, two-story senior apartment facility. They met with the fire chief prior to this meeting to show him the layout of the plan and he was satisfied.
Ms. Bittar noted that the site was zoned R-100A and C-2 and they were requesting a rezoning to R-50(S). This was a 5.5 acre site and the density requirement will be met if they achieve the R-50(S) zoning. A stormwater management area was proposed for the northwest portion of the site.
Councilwoman Bove questioned if the design of the structure was the same no matter where they were built.
Mr. Long responded that the design depended on the site conditions and some were two-story while some were three-story. There were many constraints that HUD applied to the projects.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to refer to the Planning Board the request for a rezoning & special permit for property located at 117 French Road for a 47-unit senior apartment facility.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
OPPOSITION TO SIDEWALKS ON COLLINS AVENUE
Janine Sobczak, 441 Collins Avenue, presented a petition signed by residents of Collins Avenue that were opposed to the sidewalks and curbs proposed for their street. They live on a dead end street that runs from Mineral Springs Road to the Buffalo Creek, there is no through traffic, it never had sidewalks or curbs, and they would like to keep it that way. Ms. Sobczak stated that of the 27 homes on their street, all but two signed the petition; one was vacant and one wanted the sidewalks.
Bill Dinderski, 413 Collins Avenue, stated that they never had curbs and sidewalks and really did not need them. He suggested that curbs and sidewalks instead be put on Harlem Road across from the Winchester School where they are needed.
Ella Morlock, 440 Collins Avenue, questioned the next step in the process and how the residents will find out if the Town Board agrees not to have curbs and sidewalks on their section of Collins Avenue.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that Town Engineer George Montz also received a letter this date and indicated that he would provide the Town Board with a response concerning this project. The Town Board will then make a decision as to how to proceed at their next meeting.
Mrs. Morlock questioned why the residents of the street were not notified about the proposed project.
Mr. Montz stated that letters are sent to the residents, but they wait until they are almost ready to solicit bids for the project.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
STATUS OF SEWER STUDY
Amy Carpenter, 406 Woodward Crescent, questioned when the sewers would be inspected, noting that there was money allocated last December and a number of people had problems with their sewers backing up.
Town Engineer George Montz stated that the sewer study was already in progress and they were working out details of the work plan with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). As soon as that is finalized they will start with the flow monitoring.
AMERICORPS GRANT ADMINISTRATION AGREEMENT
Paula Minklei, Orchard Park Road, stated that questions had been asked and not answered regarding the grant administration agreement between the Town of West Seneca and WNY AmeriCorps. Many people were still seeking answers. The agreement stated that AmeriCorps will pay actual facility costs incurred by the town related to AmeriCorps occupancy of the Burchfield Nature & Art Center (BNAC. Mrs. Minklei questioned how much WNY AmeriCorps had paid for their occupancy since the agreement was signed last August.
Comptroller Robert Bielecki responded that the town charged the AmeriCorps account for $75,000, but there was still some disagreement on their end concerning the entry.
Mrs. Minklei questioned who determined the actual occupancy cost.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that it was a flat rate and was part of the lease agreement.
Mrs. Minklei questioned if anyone had checked the BNAC for damages prior to or since the agreement was signed and if a report was made.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that she has been in the building and the Buildings & Grounds Department maintains it.
Mrs. Minklei noted that the BNAC and park are town property so the town is the landlord, but she questioned who the Town Board considered the landlord to be.
Councilwoman Meegan responded that the Town Board is the landlord/owner/proprietor.
Mrs. Minklei stated that the WNY AmeriCorps agreement required that a payment from grant money be advanced from the town as fiduciary the first of each month, and in return, WNY AmeriCorps promises to account to the town 45 days later as to how the money was spent and to verify how much cash and in-kind has been raised. She questioned how this has been working out.
Mr. Bielecki responded that in his opinion it was not working out well, but they meet with them monthly and from January 1st thru this date, he had receipts of $249,847 from them. However, the town has expended under the grant administration agreement over $700,000. This left a deficit just for 2009 of about $470,000.
Mrs. Minklei questioned their accounting practices for what they were supposed to account for.
Mr. Bielecki stated that they turn in a rather succinct monthly summary of their receipts and disbursements; it is not detailed in any fashion.
Mrs. Minklei questioned if Mr. Bielecki had eight reports of this nature since last August.
Mr. Bielecki confirmed that and stated that they turn the reports in monthly.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
AMERICORPS GRANT ADMINISTRATION AGREEMENT (continued)
Mrs. Minklei questioned how much the town paid in unemployment insurance and other benefits for AmeriCorps and Youth Bureau coverage and if they ever paid for AmeriCorps vehicles and insurance policies.
Mr. Bielecki responded that since the grant administration agreement has been in effect that has been separated out. The town fronted the money under the grant administration agreement and they then spent it for those purposes. The Youth Bureau was part of the town budget, but he did not know that figure and would have to check on it.
Former Town Attorney Timothy Greenan, 21 Cedar Court, stated that under the grant agreements the town is required to provide space to AmeriCorps as part of its match under each of the budgets. The reason the agreement provides that it is only actual facility costs is because the town legally is not in a position to charge rent to AmeriCorps. Mr. Greenan understood and asked Mr. Bielecki to confirm that it was the town that had the legal obligation, at least prior to the grant administration agreement, to carry out the services and employ those people.
Mr. Bielecki responded that this was a question for the Town Attorney.
Mr. Greenan had reviewed the grant administration agreement and disagreed that it was AmeriCorps obligation to hire those people and do those things under the grant. The grant agreement actually runs through the Town of West Seneca and it was the town’s obligation to carry things out.
Mr. Bielecki questioned if there were sub-agreements with the grants that stipulated what AmeriCorps’ responsibilities were.
Mr. Greenan stated that each of the grants obligated the Town of West Seneca to do those things; it does not obligate AmeriCorps. At the time the agreements were entered into, AmeriCorps did not exist; it was the Town of West Seneca and the Youth Bureau. The legal obligations that the grants impose are obligations imposed upon the Town of West Seneca. If the town hasn’t collected the money that is due it or if the town has not performed what it is supposed to under the agreement, it is the town’s obligation to correct that, not AmeriCorps. The only person that has any obligation on behalf of the town is one department head that was assigned to the project.
Councilman Graber questioned if WNY AmeriCorps, the non-profit 501(C)3, accepted a lot of the responsibility under the grant administration agreement.
Mr. Greenan responded that they accepted the responsibility to go out and do the match and to assist the town in collecting the money that is due the town for what was advanced under the grant agreements.
Councilwoman Meegan questioned if it was each board members’ responsibility to go out and make sure the agreements are fulfilled.
Mr. Greenan stated that the agreements run to the Town of West Seneca. At the time the agreements were entered into and up until the grant administration agreement went into place, there was no such legal entity as AmeriCorps. They were the town and it was the town’s obligations. Mr. Greenan compared this to the road reconstruction agreements approved at this meeting and stated that the town will advance the money to do the sidewalks and then have to go and collect the grant money for the job.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
AMERICORPS GRANT ADMINISTRATION AGREEMENT (continued)
Deb Fuszara, 1416 Ridge Road, thanked the Town Board for supporting AmeriCorps and commented on the good things they do. Ms. Fuszara does investigations for people with developmental disabilities on abuse and neglect and does in-home counseling for children with emotional disturbances and she works with a lot of families in West Seneca. She was aware of the support that can come out of AmeriCorps and it is a place she looks at where things are done very well. Ms. Fuszara thought that the support West Seneca had given them was helpful and encouraged the Town Board to help them through the upcoming transition.
MANHOLE REPAIRED ON LIND AVENUE AND CENTER ROAD
Tom Kelly, 54 Centerview Drive, thanked Highway Supt. Matthew English for following through on his complaint about the manhole on Lind Avenue and Center Road. Mr. English contacted the proper agency and the manhole situation has been fixed.
PROPOSED BILL CONCERNING WHITE COLLAR CRIME
Johanna Guenther, 140 Neubauer Court, referred to an old article from the Buffalo News that stated West Seneca was going to be investigated by the FBI for the Assessor’s office, but nothing ever came of that. Mrs. Guenther further stated that there was discussion in the Senate today concerning passing a bill against white collar crime. It was stated that in a depression money is watched more carefully than in a good economy and the bad economy is exposing financial crimes. The FBI is watching carefully people who receive funds from the federal government. Mrs. Guenther stated that the Senate was asking President Obama to hire fraud investigators, forensic accountants, forensic auditors, and fraud enforcement and recovery for financial fraud. She agreed with the comment made by one Senator, “Follow the money and you will find the crook.”
PROCUREMENT POLICY/OPEN MEETINGS LAW/FOIL REQUESTS
Karen Lucachick, 61 Greenmeadow Drive, thanked Councilwoman Meegan for her work and comments on the credit card situation. She commented that it was essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens be fully aware of and able to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy. The people must be able to remain informed if they are to retain control over those that are their public servants. Mrs. Lucachick referred to the Open Meetings Law and stated that items were presented to be voted on at this meeting, but no action was taken other than to table them. She stated that the residents of the town do not witness the Open Meetings Law in action. On April 6th there was a Town Board meeting and then on April 8th there was a special meeting to discuss the downsizing referendum. Mrs. Lucachick questioned where the public notice announcing that meeting was posted and why it was not announced at the April 6th meeting. She was tired of the political games being played at the Town Board meetings and noted that it was a constant power struggle. Mrs. Lucachick commented that none of the board members were serving the people of the community because they did not hear deliberations and only witnessed games of tug of war – one side makes a motion and the other side amends it to their liking. She stated that Albany has three men in a room and so does West Seneca, so what difference would downsizing make when there would still be three men in a room, just a different three. Mrs. Lucachick suggested that the board members work together as adults.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
PROCUREMENT POLICY/OPEN MEETINGS LAW/FOIL REQUESTS (continued)
Daniel Warren, 836 Indian Church Road, stated that at the beginning of the new administration in 2008 he sent the board members a number of proposals and one of the proposals requested a review of the town’s procurement policy. Mr. Warren did not understand the widespread need for the use of credit cards amongst town employees. The town was big enough that credit cards should not be used, outside of an emergency expenditure that required last minute approval with no time to get a purchase order or check cut. He suggested that when the board members review the credit card policy, three people be designated to have the credit card in the case of an emergency. With more people having access to it there are more chances for abuse. Mr. Warren had also stressed in his proposals the Open Meetings Law and Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). He thought the special meeting held on April 8th was a clear violation of the notice provisions of the Open Meetings Law and there was no need to have that meeting in between two regularly scheduled meetings. Mr. Warren noted that Mr. Notaro would soon be leaving his position as Deputy Town Attorney and he was the town’s Freedom of Information/Records Access officer. He hoped that someone would be appointed in the interim regardless of whether there is a Deputy Town Attorney because the obligation was still there and there should also be a FOIL Appeals Officer. Mr. Warren interpreted the FOIL to say that the Town Board is the appeals officer. He noted that a lot of FOIL requests go unanswered for an unreasonable length of time, which wasn’t a constructive denial, the public should be informed of their appeal rights. Mr. Warren referred to the conduct of the Town Board as a whole and stated that he has been on a number of organizations and there are procedures where they know what they are voting on beforehand. The state legislature also has a three day rule where a bill has to be on their desk for three days. He suggested that the Town Board review its policies and procedures to ensure that all the information gets to all the members at the same time.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that she would research the question of the FOIL Appeals Officer and report back. She noted that there were many FOIL requests coming into the Comptroller’s office and they were behind on them. There was no deliberate reason and they were not just ignoring the requests, but they were inundated on top of their day to day work.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
RETIREMENT OF LT. JOHN CUNNINGHAM
Chief Gehen commended Lt. John Cunningham on more than 30 years of service to the Police Department and stated it was his privilege and honor to know and work with him for almost his entire career. He was an exceptional lieutenant, a great family man, and the town was losing a great police officer. Chief Gehen congratulated Lt. Cunningham on his retirement and wished him well.
STATUS OF REQUEST FOR TOWN EMPLOYEES’ WAGES AND BENEFITS INFO
Councilwoman Meegan referred to a previous request for the town employees’ wages and benefits being posted on the town’s website and stated that as it stood right now they were able to post the employees’ titles and wages, but they were in the process of open enrollment for health insurance which was part of their benefits. She was working with the Comptroller’s office on a PDF format for the website so they could provide this information for the public’s viewing.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
STIMULUS FUNDING FOR ENERGY EFFICIENT ITEMS
Councilman Graber stated that West Seneca qualified for $181,800 as part of the stimulus package for energy efficient items. He thought there were many ways to lower the carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency, and in return, the federal government will pay for it. Councilman Graber asked that Highway Supt. Matthew English work with Buildings & Grounds Supt. Steve Amoia and come up with various items that would qualify so they can go out and seek this stimulus money.
NOTIFICATION OF APRIL 8TH SPECIAL MEETING
Councilwoman Bove stated that Supervisor Piotrowski presented the board members with a notice at the April 6th Town Board meeting requesting a special meeting for April 8th. Legally, there was a 48-hour notice requirement and this complied with that requirement.
SCHEDULING WORK SESSIONS
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Councilman Graber, to institute a Town Board policy that all work sessions be scheduled by Town Board approval.
On the question, Supervisor Piotrowski questioned if the notice requirement for work sessions would remain the same at 48 hours.
Councilwoman Bove responded that if 48 hours was indicated in the Organization Meeting that would be the notice requirement.
Councilwoman Meegan suggested just holding a standing monthly work session.
Councilwoman Bove preferred to have the work sessions as needed because sometimes important items come up and they need to hold a work session. It may even be twice in one month.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC