Last night's meeting kicked off with Selectmen Bob Ells and Skip Smith choosing Dorothy Heinrichs as the third member. Like the other two members, Dorothy had served on the Board previously. Dorothy made it clear that she did not intend to run for election next March.
The Board's next move was to elect Dorothy chairman.
During the meeting, the Board noted that former Town Treasurer Cathy Bean still has not returned the Town's computer, despite attempts to arrange a pickup. Dorothy said she would look into the matter asap.
The Board also revealed that the two Board members who had recently resigned, Pat Mercer and George White, had signed vouchers paying themselves for their service. Board members are not supposed to sign their own vouchers. Pat and George signed those vouchers at an "emergency meeting" shortly before they resigned.
The next large trash pickup is slated tentatively for August 28.
The property revaluation being conducted by the assessor firm Avitar Associates appears to be on schedule. Property owners can expect to receive notices of the 2015 assessment in early September.
Thanks to Betty Fulton, a new informational directory is getting mailed out soon.
Board Secretary Sandi Pierson sent out approved minutes for the July 14 meeting. You'll find them here. This is the first time we've gotten minutes from last March. Thanks, Sandi, for helping restore openness to the Town government!
- Jay Heinrichs (Feel free to comment or send news by replying to this email. Or email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Former Orange Treasurer Cathy Bean has turned over the computer to New Hampshire State Trooper Jordan Kopko. He in turn has given it to Dorothy Heinrichs, who'll deliver it to current Treasurer Tessa Michetti. The computer is important not just because it's Town property but because it contains files critical to straightening out Orange's accounts.
Last night's Select Board meeting displayed a notable lack of drama, as the two Selectmen chosen by a state judge calmly went through the must-do items left by the previous Board.
Town Clerk Sophie Seace swore in Bob Ells and Skip Smith, who will serve until Town Meeting. They said a third former Selectman has volunteered to serve, but that the state has encouraged them to solicit competition for the post. They said they will announce an appointment at the next meeting. Anyone interested in serving can contact me (Jay) at email@example.com, or contact Bob or Skip directly.
Bob and Skip appointed Sandi Pierson to fill the position of Board Secretary and Tessa Michetti as Town Treasurer. The appointments of these two veterans of Town service drew applause. Citizens in attendance also applauded Sophie, along with Town Moderator Danny Hazelton, for handling the resignation of the former Select Board with admirable competence and transparency.
The Board also said that, in order to deal quickly with the problems that have raised concern in the Town, they will hold weekly Select Board meetings for the next several months. They will hold the next meeting 7:00 pm Wednesday, July 22.
Among the issues to be resolved:
- The Town’s attorney said that according to state law, former Treasurer Cathy Bean was required to turn over all records immediately upon her resignation. “Concord will get it straightened out," Bob Ells said. Meanwhile, the Board said it is arranging a forensic audit.
- Last night Tessa signed the documentation allowing her to begin working immediately. This morning she will close the town’s accounts, including the Town's money market fund, and open new ones. That way there will be a clear delineation between this Treasurer’s books and those kept by the former administration.
- Town Tax Collector Sharon Proulx said she is unable to deposit money until she has a new account number, and needs that as soon as possible.
- Tessa said she will very quickly know how much money Orange has.
- The previous Board left behind about two months of unopened mail. Skip and Sandi are meeting this morning to begin to sort through it.
- Sharon Proulx asked that they look specifically for missing mail from Mascoma Bank.
- More than 100 unopened emails need to be read. Sandi will begin to work on those immediately.
- The locks on the offices will be changed.
- The Town needs to recruit a new welfare agent and cemetery trustee; Pat Mercer resigned from those posts when she stepped down from the Select Board.
- The Board needs to make new appointments to the Planning Board and Budget Committee.
- A large trash pickup will be planned and publicized.
- A townwide mailing with updates on town officials, important dates will be sent out soon.
- Attendees discussed the lack of young people involved in town affairs. Several people noted that with competent support from Town staff, the duties aren't as onerous as they may seem. I (Jay) agreed to look into posting descriptions of various Town posts.
- Judith Lindahl noted that this site would be more useful if citizens could download forms and register online. I (Jay) said that Sophie and I will work on that as soon as the Town's more immediate problems are settled.
The two new Orange Selectmen asked that we post this notice. Thanks for your service, Bob and Skip!
THE ORANGE SELECT BOARD WILL MEET ON TUESDAY JULY 14 2015 AT 7PM
Two of the agenda items for this meeting are the consideration of the appointments of a third Select Board member and a Treasurer, both of these positions currently being vacant. We invite any residents interested in serving in these positions to attend the July 14, 2015 meeting.
The Select Board will resume meetings at their regular scheduled meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of the each month.
Lyell "Skip" Smith
Selectmen, Town of Orange, NH
Judge McLeod today issued an order stating that Bob Ells and Lyell (Skip) Smith will take on the duties of Selectmen Orange as soon as Town Clerk Sophie Seace receives a copy of the Judge’s order and swears them in.
Skip and Bob plan on holding the regularly scheduled Selectboard meeting next Tuesday, July 14, at 7 p.m.
At the courthouse were Sophie, Bob and Bev Ells, Skip Smith, former Selectboard secretary Sandi Pierson, and Town attorney Adele Fulton. Maggie Cassidy, a Valley News reporter, covered the hearing and is filing a story for tomorrow morning's paper.
Once Bob and Skip are official, they'll begin appointing a third Selectmen. Get in touch with them or with Sophie if you're interested.