Board wants town to be ready for anything
by Jack Deming
Sep 13, 2012 | 804 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
READSBORO- The selectboard got the ball rolling Wednesday night on a plan to institute FEMA’s National Incident Management System in Readsboro. By doing this, town administrator Mark Shea pointed out, Readsboro can join 27 other towns in Vermont who have elected officials trained in securing their town in case of a disaster.

According to a FEMA brochure, the National Incident Management System enhances organizational and technological interoperability and cooperation, promotes all-hazards preparedness, enables a wide variety of organizations to participate effectively in emergency management, and institutionalizes professional emergency management practices.

Shea suggested the board set up a time to get town workers and elected officials to take the required online courses to be certified.

The board also spent time re-writing the job description of the superintendent of public works. The only major change made to the position itself was redefining qualifications, including requiring candidates for the position to obtain a CDL license within six months after being hired. This discussion included a presentation by Shea on how a more efficient government model could benefit the town’s chain of command. Shea said that if the selectboard and other elected officials of the town delegated work more efficiently to him, he could make sure work gets done in a more timely manner. The board was hesitant to lean on the administrator, with board member Teddy Hopkins giving holidays as an example of when direct action, not a chain of command, is necessary.

Selectboard chair Ray Eilers voiced frustration as well, saying that it is the job of each town official and worker to know their jobs and when work must be done.

The board also approved a plan for appraising the performance of town officials each year with new forms to be filled out by supervisors and their staff. The new system has a quality ranking system of one to five, based on a certain set of criteria.

Shea also brought up a plan to set the town’s capital planning budget. In this plan, the town could keep track of the cost of each of its needs and rank them by importance. By ranking projects the town can set aside certain monies based on need of each major spending item. This also gives the town a chance to rank priorities based upon need, reach consensus on which ones will be given money, and what Shea refers to as an objective basis for assessing capital property. Shea says this also rules out favoritism and relieves political pressure for the town.

The board voted on the lifetime and amount of money put into the plan, choosing a criterion of $25,000 and a lifespan of five years. Under this plan, projects over that amount will be ranked by priority. Even if a project is costly it still may not be the first thing money is spent on, based upon its rank from zero to three. Hopkins was concerned with the broad definitions of some priorities in the plan including public safety and external requirements.
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