Rutland Development and Industrial Commission
Meeting Minutes –6/1/2017
Community Hall Annex
Meeting opened at 7:30PM. Attending: Mike Sullivan, Doug Briggs, Mark O’Clair, Michele Van Reet, Dick Williams
Guests: Skip Clark, Select Board; Tom Dufault, Dick Mosio, Mark Mosio, Karen Greenwood
- Review and approve past minutes. – Nothing to review.
- Open Meeting Law Complaint
- Michele Van Reet filed an open meeting law complaint with the Attorney General’s Office against Mark Sullivan and Doug Briggs. Sullivan stated that the major issue is that they took a vote at a meeting on March 7, in Michele’s absence, when Mark O’Clair was taking the minutes. Mark neglected to put the vote in the minutes. Sullivan made a motion to amend the March 7 minutes to include the following: The board unanimously voted to forego any further site walks since the forester and DCR have conducted numerous site walks already. O’Clair seconded. Briggs added that it was also because, after a slight change, the DCR had already given approval. On those same minutes, there was a statement about Sullivan conversing with Jineen Walker, but he did not actually
speak with her. Sullivan wanted to be sure that is also corrected. Briggs moved that they also remove the verbiage about the site walk with Jineen Walker. Sullivan made the correction that he called and left messages twice, but got no response. Approved unanimously by Sullivan, Briggs, and O’Clair. Williams and Van Reet abstained. Sullivan noted that Tom Dufault is no longer a voting member as of yesterday.
- After the amendment was approved, Sullivan asked Tom Dufault if he was still a voting member, would he agree to what they just did? Tom agreed that was his recollection as well.
- Van Reet asked Dufault to clarify that even though in the meeting before that, he said that Van Reet had to trust that we would do the right thing – we would file the permit and have the public walk through before we did anything – which the committee voted to do. Then in the next meeting, when Van Reet wasn’t in attendance, Dufault agreed to this action. Dufault stated that his decision was based on the discussions of that day; based on Sullivan’s attempts to contact people that were opposed to or had questions about things and they were not responding to his requests.
- Van Reet followed up with a question about not holding the walk through and Briggs interrupted. Briggs stated that Van Reet has filed a complaint against us and he does not think they should be discussing it. Sullivan agreed. Briggs stated that the Attorney Generals’ office may be in contact with Van Reet. Sullivan agreed. Van Reet pointed out that Dufault did not vote, so it’s not like he was perjuring himself. Sullivan stated that that’s why he intentionally asked him not to. Van Reet confirmed that Dufault didn’t vote so he wouldn’t perjure himself. Sullivan stated that it wasn’t so he wouldn’t perjure himself, but because he was no longer a voting member.
- Sullivan stated that he gave everyone a copy of the open meeting law complaint form. His obligation was to disseminate the information to all members of the public body; which he has done. He called everyone individually and told them about it. The public body must meet to review the complaint within 14 days; which is this meeting. After revue, but within 14 days, the public body must respond to the complaint in writing – they must send the Attorney General a copy of the complaint; Sullivan will send a letter telling them about the complaint. Briggs asked if Sullivan has contacted town counsel about the complaint. Sullivan had not. Briggs suggested that because it’s a complaint against the RDIC, Sullivan should contact town counsel through the town administrator.
- Sullivan reviewed what actions were sought by Van Reet to remedy the complaint:
- The committee to cease and desist all tree cutting until a proper public walk through with a member of DCR available for questions is held and the body considers moving forward based on public input after the walk through.
- In addition, there was a prior open meeting violation brought forth against these members of the committee on 7/6/2015. She would like Briggs and Sullivan to resign from or be removed from the RDIC due to repeated violations of the open meeting law.
- Sullivan reviewed the minutes of 4/6/2017 because he had a concern about the way our last meeting went and the fact that Van Reet confirmed that she thought we were liars as a committee. He wanted to review the accuracy and integrity of the minutes. He looked at those because they were the most recent. The changes that I made to the minutes were significantly different from his recollection of the changes and asked Van Reet to bring the recording of these changes to our next meeting. Van Reet asked for copies of his changes for clarification; which Sullivan provided. Van Reet will make those corrections for our next meeting.
Van Reet also mentioned that Anita Carlson, Town Clerk, noticed that the incorrect year was indicated on our minutes from a previous meeting and they will also need to be amended.
- Sullivan provided copies of the certified vote at the town meeting.
- Sullivan noted that the RDIC received copies of the letters sent to the bidders on the contract. Round II Timber was awarded the bid and Blanch Flower Logging was not awarded the bid.
- Sullivan also presented an invoice for $120.75 from the Landmark newspaper for the advertisement for the tree cutting. Williams motioned/O’Clair seconded to submit the bill for payment. Unanimously approved.
- Sullivan also received a copy of the actual forest cutting plan that is a document that Sullivan signed.
- Sullivan attended a Select Board meeting last Monday and he feels that this board, in his opinion, took a pretty good whipping. One of the things that we got beat up over was that we have not communicated well enough with Chris Stark over the tree cutting. Sullivan stated that he responded to Chris Stark’s email. The Select Board was going to reach out to Chris Stark for a meeting, but Sullivan interjected that it is our responsibility and he would contact Mr. Stark. Sullivan contacted Mr. Stark to offer a walk through; which was declined as the trees are clearly marked. Sullivan sent Mr. Stark an email yesterday assuring him that no tree cutting will take place on the ‘back 40’ until well after school is out for the summer. In addition, it will not take place without the
approval of DPW Superintendent Gary Kelleher, RDIC, and DCR. Sullivan confirmed that RDIC supports his desire to hold meets on the property during the school year as long as liability waivers for the town are completed. Sullivan stated that he spoke on behalf of the RDIC because we have agreed on this in the past and he felt he was being consistent.
- Sullivan has been approached by 3 people regarding senior housing on the Heights property, but they want to remain anonymous at this point. One of them toured the property with Sullivan yesterday. He has asked for topographical maps and other information from Sullivan. It may be appropriate for us to consider an RFP. At this point, he wants us to be aware of the situation.
- Briggs reported that he spoke to Ralph Takala about his property, which abuts RDIC property. Mr. Takala passed along information from Linden Ponds, an assisted living facility, because his property is not sufficient to develop their plans. Linden Ponds is looking for 90-100 acres to build on, which would consume the entire Heights property. Briggs is concerned about reaching out to this company, but not others who may be interested in the property. Van Reet suggested that we should reach out to them. Sullivan agreed that we should reach out to them in a controlled way by inviting them to a meeting and have them introduce themselves to us and we can introduce ourselves to them in a public format. We want to avoid the appearance of playing favorites with any group. Sullivan
will invite them to a meeting. Van Reet stated that we should be inviting others to a meeting as well.
- Sullivan updated the progress on tree cutting: The ‘front 5’ has been cleared and the stumps will be grinded in the next couple of weeks so we will have a level field there. Briggs asked if Gary Kelleher, DPW would be overseeing this operation. Sullivan confirmed. Briggs, as a neighbor, is concerned about the safety of the stump grinding operation because he’s been told that some of these pieces of equipment can cause damage. Sullivan has spoken to Kelleher about this due to concerns with the Mosio property as well. Sullivan reports that they will be putting up a buffer to mitigate the problem. Mr. Mark Mosio told us that the contractor working at the site told him that they should not be doing the job this way. He said that putting up plywood will not mitigate
damage. The contractor stated that the stumps should be pulled. Mr. Mark Mosio is concerned about his property being further damaged, especially the propane and diesel tanks. He is concerned that the operation is too dangerous for the location. Mr. Mark Mosio suggested that they pull the stumps instead of grinding them. Mr. Dick Mosio expressed concern about pulling the stumps, as it may damage the fence. Sullivan stated that any damage would be repaired. Sullivan pointed out that the contractor is insured. Mr. Mark Mosio would rather they not damage his property in the first place. He is worried about his property and his customers cars. The contractor bid on the job and they should do it right. Sullivan agreed to talk to Gary Kelleher about these concerns. Later in the meeting, Mr. Dufault commented that there needs to be a conversation with the contractor and DPW if they are using a non-traditional stump
- Mr. Mark Mosio also expressed concerns about how the situation with the fallen tree on his customer’s car was handled. He was given conflicting information about who was at fault and has spent a considerable amount of time trying to get the correct information. Mr. Mark Mosio would like the correct information to resolve the situation without spending more time on it. Sullivan will check into it and get back to him.
- Mr. Mark Mosio suggested that if the RDIC is going to reach out to interested parties that we reach out to him. He noted that several members of the committee are aware of his interest and asked why we would reach out to these other parties but not to him. Briggs stated that he had reached out to Mr. Mark Mosio once, but that Mr. Mark Mosio stated that he would not submit an RFP and if Mr. Mark Mosio won’t submit an RFP then there’s no use talking to him because it has to be done through the RFP process. Mr. Mark Mosio commented that this is why it’s not getting sold. Mr. Mark Mosio pointed out that the RDIC needs to make the process easier, because obviously it’s too complicated. Sullivan confirmed that it’s mandated by state statute that we use the RFP process and
there’s nothing we can do about that (to avoid the RFP process). Van Reet suggested that what Mr. Mark Mosio is stating is that we need to somehow help people with the RFP process because it can be a daunting task, especially for smaller businesses. Van Reet suggested that the RDIC put together a boiler-plate guideline for how to complete the process for the RFP. Sullivan suggested that Van Reet is asking for the town to pay for putting together boiler plate information for businesses, which the town can’t afford to do. Van Reet stated that it would not need to cost money to put together a template for the RFP process. Mr. Mosio asked for a copy of the RFP. The RDIC does not currently have an RFP open for bids. Mr. Mark Mosio asked the RDIC to put forth an RFP for the lot adjacent to his property. Van Reet suggested that we put out an RFP. Sullivan and Briggs commented that we don’t have money to put out an RFP at this
- Next meetings: TBD
- Briggs motioned to adjourn. Williams seconded. Unanimously adjourned at 8:25PM.