BELLOWS FALLS -- The village's board of trustees opted Monday not to appoint any liaisons to its four public departments.
New Village President Nancy McAuliffe said the trustees felt liaison appointments were in-name-only positions that were not particularly effective. She said each trustee has an open invitation to visit the village's police, fire, water and wastewater departments at will. McAuliffe said no trustee had an issue with opting out of having liaisons.
McAuliffe said Police Chief Ron Lake, Fire Chief Bill Weston and Chief Water Operator Ray Perry formally introduced themselves to the new trustees at Monday's meeting, while Chief Wastewater Operator Rob Wheeler could not attend.
Municipal Manager Willis D. "Chip" Stearns II told the Reformer there is no provision in the village charter or state statute that requires a board of trustees to appoint liaisons. He said, however, the board has appointed liaisons every year he has been employed at Rockingham Town Hall. He started working as the full-time finance director in March 2012 and took over as municipal manager on July 1, 2013.
McAuliffe told the Reformer the trustees settled on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month to hold their 6 p.m. meetings, though they will convene on only the second Tuesday in July and August. There is always the possibility, however, of special meetings being called during these months. The new village president also said Trustee Sanford "Sandy" Martin was appointed the trustee representative to the union negotiation team because he "has had negotiation dealings his entire life."
In other business:
-- The trustees voted to award a fuel/propane contract to HB Energy Solutions.
-- McAuliffe said members of the public will be given three minutes to speak at the beginning of a meeting on items not on the agenda, though they can be granted more time if the topic is deemed relevant.
-- The Shopper was selected as the official village newspaper. There had been uncertainty about whether The Shopper, a free weekly that is automatically delivered to the mailbox of each resident, would be tapped as the official paper because of an oversight that forced the delay of a bond vote regarding the Bellows Falls wastewater system.
Stearns has previously told the Reformer state law requires notification of a bond vote to appear in the newspaper of record on the same day for three consecutive weeks, but The Shopper failed to print the notice in the May 1 edition, meaning the vote could not be held as planned. The vote on a $6 million wastewater bond was supposed to be held via Australian ballot on May 20, the same day citizens elect their village officials, but Stearns said it will now have to wait until the primary election in August or the general election in November.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.