Selectmen – November 14, 2012
I would like to bring your attention to the last Board of Selectmen meeting on October 10, where the entire Board voted not to allow public audience at the end of the meeting under the guise that two members had to leave early. I say HUMBUG! First of all the court ordered resolution and policy affirmed by this board
there where 3 people given 5 minutes to address the board. That left 15 minutes
of the allotted time unused which could have been used for a continuation of
public audience, giving each person another 5 minutes. This board was in
contempt of a court order. First Selectman Mary Glassman was aware that 2
members of the board asked to leave by 9 P.M. First Selectman Mary Glassman is
also aware that a quorum did not have to be present to hear public audience,
the other members could have remained at the end of the meeting. All these
members were elected by the Simsbury residents to represent them and yet time
and again they show disdain for residents expressing their opinions at public
audience. There was no mention in the agenda that the meeting was to adjourn at
9 P.M. There was an article in a Los Angeles newspaper where the police arrest a 60 year old woman,” for speaking too long at a Riverside City Council meeting.
“I would hope that our pseudo town manager, Tom Cooke
would not call the police as he is alleged to have done when a resident came to his office for an FOI request. During the meeting we heard from Linda Johnson, an Avon resident discussing her issues for approximately ½ hour and Bob Hensley was pontificating about the attributes of the Performing Arts Commission for almost an hour. They received the board’s undivided attention without any restrictions of time. It appears that certain groups have the
undivided attention of this board and residents expressing their concerns at
public audience who do not have a lobbying constituency, their views are
discounted as an annoyance and tolerated only for as short a time as possible
so they can listen and embrace the lobbyists. When this board asks for your
vote at the next election, ask yourself if they are serving you or the
lobbyists who they embrace continually with their actions and words. This is
not democracy by the people for the people. We are not all equal in the eyes of
this board. Our constitutional rights to address our elected officials have
been eroded. Shame on this board!
Now that the Referendum vote for a new Town Charter was approved, the First Selectman is now delegated to a ceremonial position, stripped of her legislative duties. This was highlighted when First Selectman Mary Glassman was in Spain during the hurricane, where many residents had no
lights and trees downed power lines and damaged homes, leaving the pseudo Town Manager to give guidance to the town. Now that the revised Charter is in effect, and the First Selectman has evolved into a ceremonial position, the salary for this position should be reduced to no more than $30,000 from a six figure salary. As the new Charter evolves, the position of part-time communication specialist should not be added. With the economy faltering it is not the time to increase staff. Many companies are increasing the work load on their employees without adding additional staff. The position should not be approved.
I would urge this board to reject the proposal to sell Pharos Farm since this sale is not in the best interest of the town. The Center Study Charrette showed that we should have residential and commercial establishments at Iron Horse Boulevard, using the fields for economic development. Pharos Farm has been highlighted in many studies to be appropriate for playing Fields being continuous with other fields in the area. This town asset should not be sold.
I would suggest that since the Golf course restaurant has been vacated this board
should review the entire golf complex with a cost benefit analysis and decide
whether the Town or a private organization should manage the facility. The taxpayers have been subsidizing this facility for years.
This board should reject the proposal to eliminate the affordable housing caveat on the Ensign Bickford d property. This development would not have been approved without the affordable housing caveat. Having
the complex change from 55 and over and removing the affordable housing
component, adds an additional burden on the taxpayers and increases the profits of the developer. The developer has the ability to be creative with affordable housing. This board should protect the taxpayers from another tax burden. The taxpayers should not subsidize the developers.
At the last meeting this board voted to increase the fees for the paddle courts without fully understanding the reasoning behind the decision. It is alleged that the Culture Parks and Recreation commission raised the fees for the paddle courts
because all the lobbyists for Hockey, Golf, etc. balked at the increase and
nobody was representing the paddle constituency. In their deliberations they felt that the paddle players were captive to the courts but the other groups could go to other venues. I suggest this board listen to the tape of the deliberations.
This board was not told that the walk-on fees were only to be collected from
November 1- March 1 on an honor basis. Recently I was at an “A” team paddle practice when the heaters were on from 8:30-10:30 for no reason whatsoever. The courts were clean and dry. The Simsbury Farms Staff did not monitor the heaters so they were heating all of Simsbury for 2 hours. This reflects poor management not additional costs to the players. This is not the first time heaters have been used for lengthy periods due to poor management controls over the years. I would suggest that this board review these inconsistent policies and reject the increases for the paddle players so their fees are consistent with all the other groups who have not had their fees increased.
The Simsbury Farms renovated building now has upscale offices for their employees. Since there are many office areas in the building, I would like to know why Mr. Toner, Director of Parks and Recreation has his office in the Apple Barn
instead of the renovated building where he can oversee the programs on a daily
basis? I also noticed that the changing area near the pool was too small for
large groups of swimmers. In the past the building was not maintained properly
leaving the complex to deteriorate over time. I would like to know who on staff
is responsible for building maintenance at the Farms.
The taxpayers paid $24,000 for a consultant to review the Performing Arts and produce a Facility Management Report where they stated that the scope and management has to change. Therefore, I would like to know why the Performing Arts Commission has voted to hire Tom Vincent again. I would urge this board to reject rehiring Tom Vincent and digest the comprehensive report before doing anything. We cannot throw good money at poor management.
I would like to inform this board that a retired employee of our town allegedly won a large settlement from the Workman’s Compensation Board on her claim that the mold in the Town Hall building made her permanently ill. Although the building was renovated the mold has not disappeared from the vents etc. I am asking this
board to monitor the health of the employees for susceptibility to mold and
other air quality issues in the building.