Library Trustees’ Meeting May 11, 2017

The board of trustees met May 11, 2017, for their regular monthly meeting. The main topic of discussion was Skip Hurt’s proposal to expand the current library rather than construct a completely new building.
0:00:00 Call to order / pledge
0:00:25 Public input (none)
0:00:50 Approval of April Minutes
0:02:10 Treasurer’s report
0:03:05 Librarian’s report
transferring from vhs to dvd: interviews from town’s bicentennial in 1995
Tuftonboro central school student art Friday
Plant sale in June during town-wide yard sale. Also $10/bag book sale.
0:10:50 NEW BUSINESS
0:10:55 Discussion of Skip Hurt’s proposal to renovate/expand current building
Paul: If there’s potential for savings we need to pursue this
0:13:30 Gordon: Christie and I spoke and we have concerns about interior layout. Don’t believe bathrooms are currently up to code. Sceptic system is 47 years old. central air.
0:17:00 Gordon: In my heart of hearts I don’t want to do something just to do something. I want to do it right. I would under no circumstances go ahead without voter approval.
0:18:25 Gordon: mistake to go forward without town approval firm town funding. untenable.
0:19:03 Mary Ann: Agree. Can’t go forward without town approval.
0:20:30 Mary Ann: Applaud Skip. Exciting for me when he came in. Don’t want to spend money here when we already spent money on the other side of the road. Concerned about health issues renovating building.
0:23:35 Paul: what I like about Skip’s plan is it breaks the connection between us and the police building.
0:24:50 Gordon spoke with Anthony from SMP to get some cost estimates for developing a scope of work
0:32:45 Gordon: we should have another joint meeting with selectmen
0:37:30 Gordon: what are we going to do if we don’t do anything on this and we get to Town Meeting and there are two library articles?
0:37:45 Paul: and what do you say when someone gets up and say “you wouldn’t even spend a nominal amount of money to save us $1 Million?”
0:40:45 Public input
0:41:00 Joan Theve
0:43:45 Bob Theve
0:45:50 Steve Brinser
0:46:25 Carla Lootens
0:46:50 Terry
0:49:45 Steve Brinser
0:50:15 Ruth
0:55:00 Max
0:56:00 Steve Brinser
0:56:45
0:57:20 More New Business: Adoption of Town Harassment Policy
0:58:15 OLD BUSINESS
0:58:20 Capital Campaign Committee Activity
0:59:25 NH Library Trustees Conference
1:00:10 NEXT MEETING: June 8
1:00:45 Motion to Adjourn

Carolyn Sundquist: “What’s One More Case?”

Selectmen chairman Carolyn Sundquist last night dismissed concerns that refusing to disclose how much the town spends per employee on health benefits would open the town to future litigation through New Hampshire’s Right to Know statute (RSA 91-A). Seeming to invite a lawsuit, Sundquist said, “What’s one more case?”

The Tuftonboro selectmen are refusing to provide the budget committee with information critical to finalizing the town’s budget. The selectmen claim that public employee privacy rights prevent them from disclosing how much the town spends per employee on health benefits. The selectmen apparently base this decision to violate the Right to Know law on a single email that Carla Lootens, the chairman of the budget committee, received from someone at the New Hampshire Municipal Association. Lootens described this last night as “advice from counsel.” However, it’s not clear that an email from someone at NHMA really constitutes “advice from counsel.”

Recently the Carroll County business office turned over approximately 3,000 records in a Right to Know request that specifically asked for all employment records for anyone employed by the county during a specific time period including each employee’s eligibility for dental or health insurance. The County also turned over records of insurance claims that had been filed by employees during the same time period.

By refusing to provide the budget committee with basic information about how the budget is determined, the selectmen are not only violating the public’s Right to Know but also severely damaging the budget committee’s ability to do the job that they were independently elected to perform.

As budget committee vice chairman Steve Brinser noted, each budget committee member is supposed to sign off on the budget, with the statement “Under penalty of perjury, I declare that I have examined the information contained in this form and to the best of my belief it is true, correct and complete.”

“With respect to almost $600,000, that’s in the budget,” said Brinser, referring to the total amount spent on employee benefits, “which I can’t tie down, causes me to have a problem with that. I can’t sign off to attesting that it’s accurate.”

John Libby, also a member of the budget committee, voiced similar doubts about signing off on the budget when so many of the numbers within it, particularly tax revenues, are estimates. “How do we sign off on this, if this is an estimate, and these are all going to change?” He asked.

Update: In response to a comment from Rick, below, here is the 2016 personnel administration spreadsheet that shows how much we spent on each employee for health benefits:

4155 Personnel Administration for 2016

And here is what the selectmen provided for 2017:

4155 Personnel Administration for 2017

Per Employee Health Benefits Costs

The selectmen (Carolyn Sundquist, Bill Marcussen, Lloyd Wood) have refused this year to disclose how much will be spent per employee in 2017 for health benefits. The town’s health insurance provider is Interlocal Trust.

The budget committee voted 4-3 on December 6, 2016, for the personnel administration budget without knowing whether the budget line item of $315,622 for health benefits was accurate or not. Carla Lootens, Helen Hartshorn, Bob Theve, and Carolyn Sundquist voted in favor, while Steve Brinser, Tyler Philips, and John Libby voted against.

Continue reading “Per Employee Health Benefits Costs”