Board of Selectmen – April 23, 2012
Although the Charter Revision had many meetings discussing changes to the Charter through public comment, First Selectman Mary Glassman was the only person from this board giving testimony to the Commission. Having a position on public policy issues facing the town should be paramount to getting elected. This board has chosen to hide behind campaign rhetoric to get votes. Taking positions on issues facing this town may be controversial and many people may not agree. However, leadership counts and by doing nothing you may get votes but you are not serving the Town. Why the silence? Recently I reviewed the conflict of Interest forms filed with the Town Clerk for the Board of Selectman and found that Nancy Haase did not include any exemptions although she is on the Main Street Partnership Board o f Directors and it is alleged that the company she works for has been doing business with The Main Street Partnership. Since $50,000 of taxpayer money has been allocated to the Main Street ‘partnership and this board votes on the line items in the budget, we the people have a right to know any conflicts of interest by clearly stating it in the Ethics form and not voting for this expenditure in the budget.
I will not be voting for the revised Charter and I would ask the Board of Selectmen to reject the revised Charter since it does not give the residents of Simsbury the opportunity to vote for a Professional Town Manager for Simsbury. There are other changes to the Charter making the Design Review Commission beholden to the Zoning Commission, which appears to be a conflict. Also, having the Recreation Commission, an appointed commission responsible for hiring and firing the Director of Recreation undermines the authority of the human resources responsible for town employees.
During the commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March at the Simsbury Public Library with a packed house, a girl appeared to be fainting from the heat. With hundreds of people in the Library, it was Chief Peter Ingvertsen who filled a cup with water and gave the water to the girl so she could get hydrated. This was done spontaneously by Chief Ingvertsen, the only person coming forward to help. Chief Ingvertsen is Simsbury’s hometown hero.
Saturday the Fire Department was dispatched to the Simsbury Police Department Dispatch room for a Haz Mat condition when the Clorox being used to clean the floors caused a chemical reaction. Dispatchers cannot evacuate the room since they are responsible for all emergency calls. The fumes were difficult to dissipate since the cubicle is small and enclosed. Luckily there were two dispatchers at that time so they could take turns at the dispatch desk. Since the Dispatchers were not able to continue to work under these conditions, the dispatch calls were transferred to Granby and the Simsbury Fire house as were the Dispatchers until the Fire Department could ventilate the room sufficiently allowing the Dispatchers to return to the room without any injurious fumes to their health. A police officer was stationed outside the Town Hall entrance so nobody could enter the building. At no time was the town without immediate response and all calls were answered without delay.
A flyer has been distributed asking for a tax-deductable donation to build a bicycle sculpture on town land. This 500 pound sculpture is about 7 ft. tall and made of recycled steel. The Board of Selectmen has approved placing the bicycle sculpture on town land without any input from the land use boards. It appears that there are many parts on this bicycle that could be dangerous to anyone climbing on the sculpture. Since this is on town land the liability is with the town. However, nobody on this board has asked a representative from CIRMA, the town’s liability insurer if it is a risk. Is pandering for votes more important than taking the time to go through a thorough process of due diligence? According to the State’s Consumer Protection this organization has not filed with Consumer Protection which is against the law and they could be fined for this failure. Has CIRMA reviewed the sculpture for risk? Why hasn’t the town’s Risk Manager Red flagged this sculpture?
First Selectman Mary Glassman has told the taxpayers that the Performing Arts Commission is required to pay for all expenditures with their revenues. However, we are now being told that the PAC Commission is hiring Web Management Consulting for $24,500 of taxpayer money. When David Bell, the last PAC manager testified before the Board of Selectman he stated that the Performing Arts Center will never be profitable until the town infuses millions of dollars into its infrastructure. How can Tom Vincent, our present Manager, raise that huge sum of money? The town should charge the PAC for all the services expected from town employees since these services are not free. Time is money. When is the town going to collect the money owed to the town from last year’s Hartford Symphony events? How can we sign a contract when they haven’t paid their bills?
I am concerned that money is being appropriated for Tariffville Park for a road to nowhere when money should be spent on the tennis courts, bench and Pavilion that is in desperate need of repair. There are trees down throughout the park, leaving roads impassible. The access to the river from the tennis court parking area is impassible. The tennis court that has many deep and wide fissures needs reconstruction before someone gets hurt. Has the Town’s Risk Manager assessed these courts for liability? These pictures show the various assets in the park.
When passing Simscroft-Echo Industrial facility I noticed a sign posted in front stating that they are selling topsoil. This appears to be a violation of the Zoning regulations. Are people purchasing this topsoil assured that the soil is tested for contamination? Also, there continually appears to be soil run off from the property on Iron Horse Boulevard.