Town of Walpole Staff Meeting Minutes – 9/19/19

This meeting may be, or may be not interesting for the staff, but I for one find them very informative. Thank you all. – Lil 

Selectboard Present:Steven Dalessio (Chair); Peggy Pschirrer; Cheryl Mayberry


Staff Present:Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Richard Kreissle (Manager of Finance); Chief Michael Paquette (Police Department); Justine Fafara (Librarian); Justin Cassarino (Recreation Department Director); Helen Dalbeck (Exec. Director, Hooper Institute); Ben Hoy (Recycling Center Manager)


Excused:  Sandra Smith (Town Clerk/Tax Collector); Michael Rau (Road Agent)


CALL TO ORDER:  Mr. Dalessio called this Staff Meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall and welcomed everyone.  He advised this meeting is being recorded.


Mr. Dalessio hoped everybody had a great summer and vacations.  The Selectboard met to look at every department’s first draft budget.  He thanked everybody for level funding their budgets.  They just received the second draft budget from Mr. ,n with some adjustments they made.  The Selectboard only spent about 3-1/2 hours reviewing the budgets.  This short time is probably a record.  


Selectboard Office:  Mr. Dalessio explained that there were some questions about Employee Hiring and Exit Procedures. Therefore, the Selectboard asked Mrs. Downing to create these procedures.  She has not as yet had any feedback from the Selectboard.  Copies of the draft Employee Hiring Procedure and Employee Exit Procedure had been distributed earlier to the department managers.


Mrs. Downing proceeded to read and explain the Employee Hiring Procedure.  Employees do have to sign a form when they receive the Personnel Handbook to acknowledge they receivedit.  Police Department Hiring is a little different than the other departments because of testing, requirements, etc.  Mr. Dalessio pointed out that the basic procedures should still be followed.    


Mrs. Downing proceeded to read and explain the Employee Exit Procedure. There are two different procedures depending on whether an “Employee Resigns” or an “Employee is Terminated”.  The Manager of Administration immediately alerts the Manager of Finance as the last paycheck will follow standard payroll timing for an employee who resigns.  Any vacation time due to the employee will be included in the last paycheck.  The final paycheck for a terminated employee must be produced in less than 72 hours.  Town property is to be returned before the payroll payment is completed.  A NH retirement form is given/sent to the departing employee.  Documentation as to why an employee is being terminated must be placed in the employee’s human resources file.


Mr. Dalessio advised that after the Selectboard approves these two procedures, an approved copy will be given to each department manager.  


Mrs. Downing noted that next month she will discuss Carry-Over Time.  The Selectboard encourages employees to use their time.  She will create a form so that before the end of December people can request what they want to carry-over into 2020.  They either use it or lose it.  Mrs. Pschirrer advised there is a provision for this in the Personnel Policy Handbook.   Mr. Dalessio noted each employee is getting a report of vacation time on their pay stubs.  This should be checked regularly as it is easier to resolve issues sooner rather than later.  


Mrs. Downing will continue to send out reminders about our busy November schedule.   

 Employee Appreciation Harvest Dinner – Weds., November 6th to start at 6pm at the Town Hall.  It will be a turkey dinner with all the fixings and apple pie for dessert.  Please bring your immediate family or a guest to the event.
 HealthTrust Medical and Wellness Benefit Overview – Friday, November 8th from 1-2pm.  There is mandatory attendance for all full-time personnel to attend.  The presentation will be held in the main meeting room of the Town Hall.
 Discrimination and Harassment Awareness Training –Friday, November 15th from 1-2pm in the main meeting room of the Town Hall.  There is mandatory attendance for all full and regular part-time personnel to attend with a sign-in sheet.


Library:  Mrs. Justine Fafara reported that they have been busy but their numbers are down.  Their after school programs are very busy.  August programs were down but September programs will look better.  


They received a $1,500 donation towards their Coding Club expenses which was used to purchase 5 new Chromebooks.  They are getting somewhere between 12 and 14 kids each Wednesday for Coding Club.


Summer Reading was a success as usual.  They had 66 kids, 3 teens and 25 adults register for the reading challenge.  They hosted 40 programs for kids and 1 special program for adults.  Their program attendance for all summer programs was over 700, with their most popular program being Wildlife Encounters.


They received a huge donation of DVDs. They are working to add them to the collection.


Julie has been in contact with Walpole Village School and the Walpole Primary School to begin outreach story times again in October at all three pre-school classes.


They were one of a dozen libraries around the state chosen to participate in a test training of the new inter-Library Loan software.  Chris, Julie and she participated in the webinar. It looks like a great system and they have provided some feedback to the state.  As of September 17th, the planned “go live” date for the new system is October 8th.  They have another training to watch next week. They will get a test site to practice on before the system is ready in October.


They have redesigned a label to put on new books that helps identify books that are available for download using the Libby or Overdrive app.  They have had a handful of patrons ask about the service because of the stickers.  She is hoping to come up with similar advertising ideas for other services they offer such as Mango Language Learning and Ancestry for Libraries.


The 2020 fee for New Hampshire Downloadable Books (Libby/Overdrive) will be $1,43. This is about a $200 increase from 2019.  The larger increase was not approved by the state-wide vote.  This is not a cost the Town pays for. This is funded by private library funds.


The library is looking to revamp the magazine collection.  Surveys out to patrons in October so they can give feedback about which magazines they would like available in hard copy and which they use on Libby/Overdrive.


The Nubanusit Co-op is looking into a shared digital newspaper subscription that would give patrons access to thousands of local news sources from home including things like The Keene Sentinel, The Concord Monitor and The Eagle Times as well as newspapers from all other 49 states.  This would be something patrons could access from anywhere with an internet connection (the library, home, work, anywhere with a cell phone, etc.)  They are negotiating pricing right now.  The co-op meets tomorrow, Wednesday the 11th and will discuss it further.


The State Library is looking into a state wide subscription to the New York Times online.  It would allow patrons to access the Times online from anywhere with an internet connection.  No timing or pricing on this yet; the State Library is still exploring what this would look like.


They would like to start featuring book reviews in the Clarion and on their website from patrons.  Mrs. Fafara is working on a form people can fill out at the library when they return a book they loved, especially a new book.  The goal is to help patrons find new things they will enjoy and to help staff recommend books they have not read yet.


Construction is going well.  They are right on schedule.  It looks incredible.  The goal is to be done with construction by Thanksgiving and be back in the Library in early December.  The volunteers that helped with the move to the Town Hall were wonderful.  Mrs. Fafara hopes they will volunteer to help with the move back to the Library building.


Recreation Department:  Mr. Dalessio recently attended an event (laser show) sponsored by the Recreation Department; the adults were smiling and the youth were having a wonderful time. Mr. Cassarino submitted and reviewed the following written report as follows.  This is the first year he had to speak to adults about being rude and disrespectful especially with the lifeguards.


 Everything is closed up and covered; it was a great summer.    
 Hopefully this will help with our opening of the pool in May.


 We have over 120 participants this year;
 We have 21 4-year-old participants, which is the largest that we have ever had.

We continue to improve the league each year, which I feel like is bringing in more participants.

 We have 12 sponsors this year – Very GRATEFUL!!

Diamond Pizza

Spencer’s Place

Dog Daze

E.E. Houghton

The Hungry Diner

Latham Electric

Savings Bank of Walpole

McGill Woodworking

WW Building Supply

Smart Power Sports


Home Away from Home

 Season started last week and we will be going until the end of October.


 Pickleball is very popular

Already asking if more courts can be provided.

 Basketball court is still being used

Basketball team from VT is coming down and using the court every week.

Upcoming Events:

 Trivia Night – September 21st;
 Murder Mystery & Dinner – November 16th , Spencer’s Place is doing the dinner and the show is about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.    


Hooper Institute:  Ms. Helen Dalbeck distributed copies of the following Late Summer/Early Fall Edition from Hooper Institute and read the report.


A summer highlight for the Hooper Institute (HI) is the High School Summer Program.  In 2019, 23 high school students participated, working for and alongside 10 mentors in Walpole, including the staff of the Hooper Institute (at our camps and in all of the school gardens).  They worked a total of 1,629 hours.  The cost of the program is paid for in part by the Education Trust and funds raised by the Friends of the Hooper, gifts and donations.


We have begun to renew and rebuild our Hooper Institute Board and to rebuildenliven the Friends of the Hooper.  Community outreach has begun and the Hooper Institute plans to partner with the library to present after school programs, family and adult programs.  We will also be present at community events such as “Chickens on the Loose”.  The Walpole Community Gardens are coordinated by the HI.  We have 42 garden beds that are rented to 16 Walpole residents.  

The annual harvest potluck for WCG members and friends will be this Saturday, 9/21, 4-8pm.


School programs are in full swing.  HI educators teach in all pre-K thru 6th grades.  We stand in front of 260 students each week!  Our fall classes focus on the school gardens, harvesting veggies that go straight into the school’s kitchens and back to the students and planting the high tunnel for a winter crops.  We also teach botany, entomology, forestry, migration and soils in the fall.  


Museum Day at the Hooper Institute is this Saturday, September 21st from 10am to 2pm.  It is hosted by the Smithsonian Magazine in museums across the country.  It highlights our Farm and Forest Museum and we get to participate in a national event sponsored by the Smithsonian Magazine.  Hopefully people will come to participate in this event.  Autumn is a busy time for the Hooper Institute!


Recycling Center:  Mr. Ben Hoy reported they will be collaborating with the Walpole Police Department in hosting another Drug Take Back Day at the Recycling Center in early October.  They have had good luck with picking up mattresses off the roads.  Cost could be a factor, causing the mattress dumping alongside the roads.  The disposal cost is $12.50/mattress plus 15-cents per pound.  They are trying to green-up the community as best as they can.  There is a new employee at the Center, Emma Wilson, who is doing great work in the office as well as recycling.


The big news is that on Saturday, August 21st a large oak tree fell on the Reuse Center building and demolished it.  No serious injuries were reported.  The trailer and tree removal were covered by Primex.  The risk management company issued us a net claim of $29,134.82 for a new Reuse Center.  Mr. Michael Nerrie and Mr. Hoy have been collaborating on ideas for rebuilding the Reuse Center.  The most favorable location would be an addition to the right side of the Recycling Center when approaching from the road.  They would like to use the tree that struck the Reuse Center as lumber for the project.  The new facility will provide more supervision over “unchecked drops” and a more inviting workspace for volunteers and the public to enjoy.  Hopefully it will be a year-round operation.  Mr. Dalessio mentioned the new Reuse Center would have some heat from the main building.        


Police Department:  Police Chief Michael Paquette reported that over 100 people have thanked him for the Police Department following the recent incident and lockdown.  He spoke about trying to contact as many people as they could in the Village and schools because the accident was right off Route 12 and South Street.  It is still an active case.  They have met and tried to figure out if-or-what they could have done to make it better.  Law enforcement from the entire county was involved. 


Chief Paquette reported they hope to complete the new poles project on Wentworth Road by mid-October.  They have the Drug Take Back booth in their lobby that was donated by Rite Aid Pharmacies.  People can come in and drop off their prescriptions whenever the building is open.  They will still do the Drug Take Back Day at the Recycling Center.  Mr. Brad Nash has been doing a lot of work for them; it is appreciated.  For three weeks, since the High School started, they have been patrolling on the Old Drewsville Road.  Some tickets were given out but many warnings were issued.  The Police Department has been extremely busy.    


Public Safety Comparison:

Emergency – 31Administration – 75Citizen Assists – 33

Motor Vehicle Calls:

Accidents – 10MV Stops – Traffic Safety – 21

Criminal Investigations:

Drug/Alcohol – 8Crimes Against People – 45     Crimes Against Property – 18

Total Monthly Calls For Service:  August 16, 2019 through September 15, 2019 – 317 Calls.


Manager of Finance:  Mr. Kreissle and Mrs. Pschirrer went to a Budget Workshop.  To carry money over into the next year is called an encumbrance.  To do this going forward, Mr. Kreisler needs a written notice by mid-December from the department manager with an explanation, copy of quote/contract and an amount.  After that, it needs approval from the Selectboard.


Highway Department:  Mr. Rau was unable to attend this meeting but submitted the following written report for the period of August 22, 2019 to September 18, 2019.  

 Serviced trucks and equipment;
 Cold Patched;
 Crushed metal dumpster at Recycling Center;
 Mowed town properties;
 Roadside Mowing;
 Fixed Truck-3 and Truck-5 bodies;
 Truck Inspections;
 Graded, Raked, Rolled, and put Chloride on all gravel roads;
 Began installation of new backup generator;
 Cut brush in North Walpole and Walpole Villages.


ADJOURNMENT:  Mr. Dalessio declared this meeting adjourned at 6:05 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Regina Borden, Recording Secretary



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