"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Friday, May 22, 2015

Town Planner to Convert to Contracted Role

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.


Anonymous said...

Subject to review by our employment council........trust that this not our town legal council, who did not review the old T A contract renewal, and cost us fortunes.....Time he leaves...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Woodruff, is doing a great job and is a good fit for the town. The Select Board did the right thing.

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

Not only the right thing ... but the smart thing.

An unburdened labor rate versus a burdened labor rate, is always a positive to taxpayers, especially when the required needs of the town will no doubt be met.

A contractor v. non-exempt or exempt employee ...why not?

We've got part time governance don't we.

The town should be so lucky, as to get the performance level of this town planner, from all its employees.

Disappointed said...

70k for a part time position, even on an annualized basis, where the Planner is home almost half the time seems very expensive for what he has accomplished in Town.

I was reminded about his error in supporting with the former TA the new commercial establishment at the corner of 109 and old 109 that has caused a load of cars and trucks blocking the road, the sight lines, etc, when I understood that area was zoned residential.

I fail to see what the Planner has accomplished and wish the BoS had accepted his resignation and gotten a new Planner who could read our Zoning Ordinance.

Anonymous said...

The Cup and Crumb is now open it seems and traffic does not seem to be a problem. Support a local business and our local economy.

Eric Taussig said...

I read Disappointed’s comment with interest regarding the Rock Pile/Cup and Crumb establishment. Disappointed’s comments really address two issues:

(1) The interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance and Special Exceptions, and
(2) The establishment of an appropriate site plan.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) granted the Special Exception by a 3 to 2 vote to allow the facility.

The Planning Board (PB) approved a Site Plan by a 4 to 2 vote that established the parameters of the allowable functions, hours of operation and parking.

While the Town Planner was notably unhelpful at both the ZBA and PB hearings in explaining the consequences of certain decisions the two Boards eventually made, the ultimate decisions allowing the facility and the site plan were votes by the duly elected ZBA and the PB.

Don't Get It said...

There was more then one citizen that spoke up at the original town meeting that asked those present to make this a - contract - position.

Hmmmmm . . . . .

And here we are full circle. The "new" town planner is . . . wait for it . . . . a contract position.

Again, I am amazed at those who vent here that are against "big government" but vote YES for a full time employee. With sick days, vacation days, government retirement and on and on.
I guess "big government" does not apply when it is something that they want. Then it is not "big government".
I don't get it.