Saturday, October 16, 2021

Finance Committee hears update from Human Resources, and ARPA funds

Quick Recap:
  • Senior tax abatement (work off) program update coming to Town Council session (Oct 20, 2021). Veterans update also scheduled for an increase.
  • Human Resources Director Karen Bratt provided an update on the hiring, background checks, negotiations, etc. that her office participates in. Approx. one third of Town employees have been replaced since 2018 as the generational turnover take place. 
  • The audio of this segment of the meeting will become a "must" listen as there are so many details on the cost drivers for the Town and School budgets. There is a separate School HR function but there is coordination between the two on health plans and negotiations.
  • Town Administrator Jamie Hellen provided and update on the current ARPA or COVID related Federal funding to date with an outlook on what is expected. These funds are limited in use and are spread over several years. Some of the reimbursements from FEMA (in particular) can really take time to be received.


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #fincom1013 
Agenda document -


  • Getting ready to live tweet the Finance Committee meeting beginning at 6:30 PM today. Agenda and remote connection info here  #fincom1013
  • Meeting host will let you in soon. #fincom1013
  • It is nice to be in the room where a meeting happens, it is very convenient to be in the Zoom where it happens #fincom1013
  • 6 yes, no notices, on motion to approve Dowd as chair, Conley as Vice chair, and Nicole as clerk via roll call some absent #fincom1013 Abatement programs to be expanded for Town Council, wage to minimum, and total increase of amount veterans/disabled amounts ...
  • Details on the program expansions contained on the agenda doc shared earlier and again here #fincom1013
  • Jamie explains the details behind the proposal, limited by statue at minimum wage and $1500/year, hence amount is within the statue. #fincom1013 limit on number of people to participate in work off (100), veteran status is required.
  • Motion to recommend motions first on senior citizen piece then on veterans piece, both pass via 6-0 via roll call votes #fincom1013
  • Presentation by Karen Bratt on Human Resources for Town, screen grabs shared here (didn't find doc) #fincom1013
  • So many photos/pages will create album to share. Presentation done, now in the Q&A segment, good background info on GIC plan option for town but not used #fincom1013 some collaborative strategies are more work than worth it long term.
  • Interesting discussion on turnover and reasons for, some due to demographics (aging work population) #fincom1013 not many if any leaving for another town, one that did had recently come back. Less interest in filling OT hours and shifts than prior, work life balance
  • "can't believe you are still using paper employee files" we will see it later, working to get a grant to help fund it. #fincom1013 Harvard Pilgrim did a 'rebate' but it wasn't much and took time to process. Talk of issues hiring, in some spots like those with CDL license
  • Did get confirmation that the pres doc will be posted to the HR page #fincom1013 policy procedures manual online as well as collective bargaining agreements
  • Next up an update from Jamie on ARPA funds overview (preview of what Town Council will see next week) Alicia has been the master tracking these details, coordination of reporting, etc. Kudos to her for this work! #fincom1013
  • Pres doc will be posted to this page #fincom1013
  • School funds separate from Town funds #fincom1013 multiple pages in this update also, also to be posted to budget page. These funds are separate from town ops and capital budgeting. They can help fulfill requirements that would be funded by ops or capital funds
  • Next up - future topics; contracts and grants can we get a view of these; MassWorks grant of $2.2m can distort analysis. What are you getting at? Maybe better to go at this by Dept. rather than overall. #fincom1013
  • Budget overview and CPC update schedule for the meeting 11/10 #fincom1013 meeting adjourns

Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days

Finance Committee hears update from Human Resources, and ARPA funds
Finance Committee hears update from Human Resources, and ARPA funds

No comments:

Post a Comment