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Greenwood Removed from Raymond Conservation Commission,
2016 Operating Budget Debated

By Penny Williams 11-11-15

The Raymond Conservation Commission voted to ask the Board of Selectmen to remove member Scott Greenwood for lack of attendance, and debated its budget at its meeting of Oct. 28.

Commission Chairman Lorrie O'Connor said she had sent Greenwood an email prior to the meeting, warning him his seat on the board was in jeopardy, but had received no response. She added that she has sent him emails and notifications and has never received any response, either verbal or in writing.

Alternate member Jan Kent made a motion to send a letter to the Board of Selectmen requesting Greenwood be removed for lack of attendance. The board verified he has not attended since June 10 and has not responded to any communications.

Member Marty Devine wanted to get a response from Greenwood relative to this but member Bernie Peer pointed out that Greenwood has been notified and approached numerous times and has not responded.  Peer said he thought Greenwood had made it clear by his actions that he does not want to be a member of the Conservation Commission.

The board voted 5 to 1 to prepare a letter requesting the Board of Selectmen to remove Greenwood; Devine voted no.

O'Connor said her letter would also ask the selectmen to name a replacement for Greenwood.

Kent then made a motion to request that the selectmen appoint her as a full member of the Conservation Commission, replacing Greenwood. There was brief discussion and Peer amended the motion to read that Kent be appointed to replace Greenwood and finish out his term. The amendment passed unanimously and the original motion passed 5 to 1,  with member Paul Hammond abstaining because he thought it a moot point.

At its meeting Nov. 2, the Board of Selectmen voted to remove Greenwood by a 3-1-1 vote, with Wayne Welch opposed and Jack Barnes abstaining, and to appoint Kent as a full member on a vote of 4-1, with Welch opposed.

At the selectmen meeting it was noted that the Conservation Commission bylaws state that if a member misses meetings, he or she can be removed. The selectmen said Greenwood's lack of response written or verbal and his lack of attendance warranted his removal.

 

In other business at the Conservation meeting:

• Members decided that the $1,250 budget amount that comprises the 2015 budget would be the appropriate amount to seek for 2016 because it would allow for membership, training, dues, and materials.
As part of the discussion, the board then discussed whether to hire a secretary to prepare the minutes.

Peer said that based on the two meetings per month schedule at a cost of $12 per hour and allowing four hours per meeting minutes, it would cost approximately $1,150. The members voted to put the amount for a secretary into the budget and forward it to the Board of Selectmen.

A motion to submit a budget amount of $2,400 for 2016 was approved with everyone in favor except O’Connor, who said she did not want to see the cost of the secretary come out of the taxpayers’ pockets when the commission has a Conservation Fund account with $228,855.27.

Following the vote on the budget, O'Connor said she would play devil's advocate on behalf of the citizens of Raymond and make a motion to take the entire 2016 budget out of the Conservation Fund instead of having the taxpayers shoulder it.

Alternate member Kathy Lee noted that the Conservation Fund has no revenue going into it. She said she did not consider O’Connor’s suggestion an appropriate use of the Conservation Fund and furthermore considered O'Connor's action as a conflict of interest for her to act on behalf of the citizens when she was sitting as chair of the Conservation Commission.

O’Connor’s motion resulted in a vote of 1-3-2 and thus failed, with Hammond and Devine abstaining, O'Connor in favor, and Peer, Lee and Kent opposed.

Kent asked O'Connor if given her views, would she be able to present the budget to the Board of Selectmen in an unbiased manner. O'Connor responded that she could and would.

On Nov. 2, O'Connor addressed the selectmen and told them the Conservation Commission was submitting a budget of $2,400, which included an increase of $1,150 for a recording secretary. She told the selectmen there had been a motion to take the budget out of the Conservation Fund but that it had failed.

When the selectmen started to discuss taking the money from the fund, it was pointed out the motion had been defeated. The Conservation Commission budget was then forwarded in the amount of $2,400.

• The board had a lengthy discussion about a wetlands application to replace two poles on Town land as part of the Northern Pass effort. O'Connor had sent a letter asking for a 40-day extension and Kent questioned why she would have done that without bringing the issue to the commission, especially in view of the fact there was time for O'Connor to have brought it to that night’s meeting.

O'Connor said she didn't have to bring it to the board and she did it because of time constraints.

Some members said there should be a public hearing on the wetlands application but that was turned down, as the board doesn't usually hold public hearings for a wetlands application, but rather hears from the applicant and reviews the application and asks for more information if the application isn't complete, and then makes comments.

The board decided the Site Evaluation Committee would be holding sufficient public hearings and all Conservation  needed to do was hold a site walk and have the applicant come in for a review of the application. The site walk took place Nov. 8.

 

To watch and listen to the Conservation Commission meeting, click on Conservation Commission meeting of 10-28-15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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895-4735

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