Minutes: April 18, 2019

Call to Order

The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority (VTMUA) of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2019 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on February 21, 2019, as well as posted on the bulletin board in the municipal building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.

Salute to the Flag

Roll Call

Thomas BuchneyP
John AubergerA
Ed SegerP
John PerryP
Kristin WheatonA
Paul Kearney (Will be voting tonight to fulfill quorum)P
Dave McDermott (Will be voting tonight to fulfill quorum)P

Pronouncement of a Quorum

We have a quorum.

Roll Call of Professionals

Attorney Richard WennerP
Auditor Robert McNinchP
Engineer Ceren AralpP

Public Comment

Paul Kearney made a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
Seconded by Ed Seger.
No discussion.
All were in favor.

Seeing no one come forward, Ed Seger moved to close the meeting to the public.
Seconded by Dave McDermott.
No discussion.
All were in favor.

Consent Agenda

Resolution #19-23: Payment April 18, 2019 Bills

Motion made by Tom Buchney to pay bills.
Seconded by Ed Seger.
No discussion.

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes-Tom Buchney, Ed Seger, John Perry, Paul Kearney, Dave McDermott
Nays-None.

Other Resolutions

Resolution #19-24: Resolution Authorizing the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority to Execute Shared Service Agreements between the Township of Vernon and the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority

Motion made by Paul Kearney.
Seconded by Ed Seger.

Discussion-

Was Finance already in the amount before or is it added?

Donelle Bright DeCouto, CFO-Finance agreement or purchasing? Purchasing wasn’t part of it before, just finance so this is just putting it altogether. The total is $52.00 + change for the year is the agreement now. The new agreement is additional for purchasing is $25.00. The original for finance is $32.00.

Tom Buchney-Why are we doing finance if already included?

Answer to Tom-Finance is separate so VTMUA has always had the finance portion. As to purchasing, the board had passed a resolution saying the purchasing was on the executive director but are now opting to have it done in finance.

Tom-Still trying to understand finance side. Thought it was already in the original yearly wasn’t it?

Someone on the board stated that no it wasn’t.

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes-Tom Buchney, Ed Seger, John Perry, Paul Kearney, Dave McDermott
Nays-None.

Approval of Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes of March 21, 2019.
No motion needed as it was decided by the board to table the motion until next meeting.

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes-Tom Buchney, Ed Seger, John Perry, Paul Kearney, Dave McDermott
Nays-None.

Approval the minutes of the Executive Session of March 21, 2019.
No motion needed as it was decided by the board to table the motion until next meeting.

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes-Tom Buchney, Ed Seger, John Perry, Paul Kearney, Dave McDermott
Nays-None.

Correspondence

None

Auditor Report

Robert McNinch has been working with the Township of Vernon CFO this month. Things are moving forward & hoping to finish up by next month. Keeping an eye on the settlement agreement as it could impact the audit.

Attorney’s Report

Rich Wenner is saving his comments for the executive session.

Engineer’s Report

Review of New Applications

None

Old Business

None

Status of Asset Management Study

None

Status of Activities

None

Ed Seger asked Ceren with things going forward with the expansion if anything is needed from executive director position.

Ceren stated currently do not until we get DEP report. Then it will go to public hearing session & we’ll discuss what is required. Will have to coordinate with the county on where it is to be held. I will update the board.

Tom-Any difficulties in dealing with the county at this point?

Ceren-No not yet as we are on a holding pattern with the DEP. I have reached out to talk to Amanda & she has nothing remaining to get from the county & she has noting remaining to get from us. So nothing from the county we need to report as of yet. I’ll keep in touch with the county to keep them in the loop.

Tom-From what I understand they have not hired into that position & I don’t know if they plan to.

Ceren-I will have to work with the county engineer. Somebody has to progress there.

Tom-Claire got as much done while she was there.

Ceren-I am happy, she was very supportive & pushed it through before she retired.

Tom-I did see her recently & she did say she’d be more than happy to assist us, she lives in town. She’d be more than happy to assist us with anything she could help with. However, she said she was not interested in taking a more permanent position with us. She plans on traveling a lot now that she is retired.

Ceren-At least we know we can reach out to her if we have a need but hopefully we can just mail her the approval so she can see the fruits of her labor.

Tell her is she’s lucky she can get a spot on the board.

Executive Director’s Report

None

Commissioners’ Comments

None

Chairman’s Comments

Tom Buchney is saving his comments for the executive session.

Executive Session

WHEREAS, the Open Public Meetings Act N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 permits the exclusion of the public in certain circumstances; and

WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist.

NOW, THERFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority of the Township of Vernon as follows:

  1. The public shall be excluded from discussion of and action upon the hereinafter specified subject matter.
  2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is litigation.

Motion made at 7:10 p.m. by Ed Seger to go into executive session to discuss personnel.
Seconded by Paul Kearney.
Discussion-None.

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes-Tom Buchney, Ed Seger, John Perry, Paul Kearney, Dave McDermott
Nays-None

Resolution #19-25: Resolution Authorizing the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority to Execute a Separation Agreement with the Executive Director

Motion made by Dave McDermott.
Seconded by Ed Seger.
No discussion.

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes-Tom Buchney, Ed Seger, John Perry, Paul Kearney, Dave McDermott
Nays-None

Donelle asked about Jack’s cellphone.

We had a conversation about Jack’s phone previously. The board previously adopted a policy regarding use of personal phone. Reiterating what that policy is-VTMUA currently provides phone for the men who are working on the system & those are in functioning order. They’re not to use their personal phones for VTMUA business because hey have been provided with VTMUA phones & in the event one of their personal phones is damaged because they are using it in the field we are not going to be reimbursing them for that.

Because this is the second time?

Right.

If there’s an instance where, say the work phone is rendered useless, just stops working & the next day he has to go out in the field, he doesn’t have a VTMUA phone & something happens then with his personal phone? There has to be some kind of contingency, maybe get written authorization or an approval to use his phone first. He could say what was I supposed to do, this pipe’s leaking, I had to call somebody & then it dropped. There has to be a contingency if something happens & his phones not working for the day.

What is our plan with the second phone with the executive director’s phone? Keep it as a backup?

It’s been turned in so we have a backup now.

I think someone should have it to get the alerts anyway.

Want me to take it? I already have a key to his office.

At this point with the sensaphones if Jack is unavailable I think it makes sense.

Is that a problem wit one of us taking it?

Rich-No problem on my end.

Someone else available to get the sensaphone data?

And then if Jack needs something in an emergency..

I’ve been talking to him at least once a week. Everything so far has been going OK.

My other recommendation with the phones would be to get a case that’s not just drop proof but also water proof. Something that if he drops it in a pit he can fish it out.

Where I worked the guys called the “The brick.” It’s industrial to protect phones from water & such.

The one I have is supposed to be good for 20 or 30 feet in water. He should have more than just a drop case, something that if it goes in he could fish it out & the phone would still be usable.

Instead of paying $900.00 he would pay $50.00 for a case.

It might be around that number. Might be a little more depending on the phone. There are some better cases & you’re protecting an investment at that point.

Rich-Any other discussion?

What are we doing about the position? Are we putting together any kind of what we think it should be going forward. Interviewing people, taking resumes?

It’s a good question.

Options brought up in discussions with a couple of people is possibly only need to be designated as a part time position & if it was a part time position, less than 30 hours a week, don’t have to provide medical benefits. I know there might be several people that could possibly be interested plus there are several people in the industry that are in the process of retiring right now & hey might be interested in a part time position.

I don’t think we provide benefits anyway.

No, we don’t.

I think the other thing would be to sit down & talk to the town & see what they want & how willing they are to pick up the interim duty of answering phones and things like that. They have been now but going forward is that something they are going to be willing to do on days that a part time executive director isn’t here? Purchasing has already been taken care of which was a significant part of that but there is still the day to day.

Even at that they can leave a voicemail message.

Even a part time person is going to be here every day-8-1 or 7-12-something like that.

But there’s still going to be times when voicemail is available & they’ll get back to them within 24 hours.

You’re going to have walk-ins, people who want to see/talk to someone. There is going to be an additional burden on someone here.

I think if you tell/ask the town council if we can do this with a part time person, they’re always looking to cut, I’m sure with all the technology that we have today you could have a person in the office part time & then some kind of recording on the voicemail.

Could have messages forwarded to your cellphone & have access to computer from home.

We talk part time, but this person is still responsible 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Do we want to pay them to sit in the office or do we want to pay them to run the facilities? Do whatever we ask. In the office they can do other things. How creative can they be? They need to do some paperwork.

As a director I’m in the field at least 50% of the time.

But from a public standpoint I think it’s really going to come down to walk-ins are not what we’re really about any more. They’re not always available. They’ll have to set up an appointment.

Exactly, that’s how most towns are.

So are we taking resumes now? Is that what we’re looking for?

We have to wait until after this before we could do anything.

That being said, do we have to advertise for it?

Do we want to advertise for a part time position?

It’s up to you.

Do we have to advertise for it?

If someone’s interested we can interview them? Because I think there’s one gentleman who lives in town who has experience. He’s retiring from his job & is a sewer person.

OK to move forward on this.

Motion to Adjourn

Motion made by Ed Seger.
Seconded by Paul Kearney.
No discussion.

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes-Tom Buchney, Ed Seger, John Perry, Paul Kearney, Dave McDermott
Nays-None