Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Town Council, new promises

The newly elected Franklin Town Council was sworn in on Wednesday evening. The Council was elected by the lowest percent voter turnout in recent history (11.5%).

Town Clerk Deb Pellegri with the new Franklin Town Council; left to right - Feldman, Padula, Mercer, Kelly, Vallee, Pfeffer, Jones, Bissanti, Williams
After being sworn in by Town Clerk Deb Pellegri, they elected their officers with simple single nominations and no discussion. The officers were selected as
Chair - Bob Vallee
Vice-Chair - Matt Kelly
Clerk - Judy Pfeffer
The first order of business was to approve the prior meeting minutes. The three new members were not allowed to vote on the prior minutes as they had not been part at that time so all three votes for were 6-0.

The Council then recognized Ken Norman for his long history of volunteering for various committee roles with a Citizenship Award.

Council Chair Bob Vallee, Ken Norman, Council Vice-chair Matt Kelly

The major item on the agenda was a presentation updating the Council on the Downtown Project. The project which started discussion in 2002 is finally going to bid early next year with construction to begin in the spring of 2014. The project will be managed by the MassDOT although the Franklin DPW will be a liaison and assist with communications to the community and businesses downtown.

The presentation document is scheduled to be updated to the DPW webage on Thursday. The link will be added as soon as it is available.

There were two items of legislative business on the agenda. One to add a fee for limited use of the recycling facility. Currently a one time fee of $25 gets a pass for the full year.The proposal was for a $10 fee for 7 days and during the discussion amended to 10 days. The item was moved to a second reading and will come up again before becoming effective.

The second item on the agenda was the adoption of the Town Council Procedures Manual. This document was put together and revised by prior Councils and accepted at the beginning of each Council term. There was some hesitancy to accept this document as some of the new Council had not yet read or understood the document. As explained by Mark Cerel, the town attorney, this document effectively provides the detailed procedures on how the Council conducts business. Where matters are not expressly defined Roberts Rules of Order becomes the guide. The Town Bylaws and Charter support these procedures but are do not effectively provide the guidance needed. 

After some discussion, the measure was deferred to the next full meeting. During Council Comments later in the meeting the item came up again and after some discussion on whether it should be accepted at this meeting because it was already deferred, it will be added to the 'workshop' meeting agenda. The next meeting (Nov 20th) is apparently going to be more of a 'workshop meeting' than a regular Council agenda.

The Council Comments brought up a recurring theme that this council would be 'more proactive, less reactive' and provide more direction to what is going on in Franklin. 

The notes taken during the meeting can be found here

The DPW presentation on the Downtown Improvement Project was updated to share the document separately from the full agenda. You can find that doc here

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