The Board of Selectmen at yesterdays 5:30pm meeting discussed the impending resignation of Town Planner Bruce Woodruff ( effective July 1st, 2015) and how to proceed going forward with the Planner's proposal to continue on as a contracted Planner not an employee.
In the audience were the chairs of the Zoning Board, Planning Board and the CIPC who unanimously supported the concept and urged the BoS to agree to the contract. All were very complimentary of Mr. Woodruff and felt that his departure would leave a void in the Land Use Office and be of great detriment to the Town.
Selectmen Russ Wakefield reviewed the contract as he opened the discussion and was in full support of the contract as was Josh Bartlett and myself. I pointed out that the contract represents a cost savings to the Town of nearly $19,000 from his current compensation package and that not continuing with his services would be detrimental to the Town. Jean Beadle was concerned that we would be going from a full time to a part time planner and felt that the Town voted for a full time planner. Mr Woodruff explained, that while the contract calls for 30 hours per week, he will be obligated to perform the same duties he currently does as an employee with the exception that he will be in the office 3 days per week and will also work from home. He also pointed out that the warrant article did not mention full time
The proposed contract calls for a 15 day " out" clause by either party and annualized will cost $70,000 for his services. Josh Bartlett made the suggestion to pay on a bi weekly basis rather than monthly.
After some discussion, I made the motion to accept the contract offer ( subject to review by our employment counsel and a few minor changes such as bi weekly pay) effective July 1st 2015 for a period of six months with a review and reassessment after January 1st 2016.
Bob Stephens, Chair of the ZBA asked why six months and not the full year as we do have a 15 day out clause and I explained that I was very confident that after six months we will find that the end result was very successful and then we could continue to move forward.
The motion carried by a vote of 4 to 1 with Chris Shipp opposed.