Old Lyme Board of Selectmen Announce Town Meeting Agenda, Make Appointments

OLD LYME — At the Annual Town Meeting on January 27, the Board of Selectmen will ask voters to approve amendments to the town’s Ethics Commission ordinance and to approve a grant to the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

First Selectman Timothy Griswold said his administration is not yet seeking a vote on easements for sewer connections to the three chartered beach communities.

During the meeting, residents will be asked to vote on four items:

  • To approve the annual town report for the fiscal year July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
  • To approve a request of $8,750 as a grant to the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.
  • To approve an amendment to the town ordinance for Old Lyme’s Ethics Commission. 
  • To announce the choice for the Board of Selectmen’s Citizen of the Year for 2019.

An ethics amendment

Griswold said in a Tuesday interview that an amendment is needed to the town ordinance governing the Ethics Commission — which holds the power to appoint and reappoint its own members — because members failed to abide by rules requiring the appointment of successors at the end of member terms.

“What happened when they failed to appoint and reappoint, the terms lapsed,” Griswold said. “And they were no longer members technically. I think they kept meeting, but they were not actually bona fide members. So by changing the ordinance to provide that if somebody’s term ends and they were not duly reappointed or had someone appointed in their place, the person whose term lapsed would continue until such time as they were properly reappointed or someone new came on. That way we have continuity.”

Later Tuesday evening, Griswold explained the amendment to the Board of Finance, and Board of Finance member Anna Reiter noted in response that this could lead to lifetime appointments for members of the Ethics Commission “like the Supreme Court.”

Finance board member David Kelsey (co-founder and primary funder of CT Examiner) suggested similarly, “if their term expires, and there’s nobody, it should be a vacancy.”

Griswold responded that town attorney Jack Collins is “trying to work it out.”

A missing vote on easements

The town meeting will not include a vote on granting easements related to sewer projects for the town’s three chartered beach communities. Griswold said that the selectmen had considered adding this vote to the meeting agenda earlier in the month, but ultimately had decided against it. According to Griswold, the town has not yet arrived at a clear enough agreement with the relevant property owners on the terms of the easements.

Griswold said that the first draft agreements on easements were “substandard,” and the town does not currently have a clear estimate of what its costs and liabilities would be as a result, so he concluded it would have been “imprudent” to call for a vote on the easements at this time.

“With all these uncertainties, I think there is to be a meeting with the private beaches and the town to discuss this, but I think in the protection of the town we should have these loose ends tied up before granting the easements,” Griswold said on Tuesday night in conversation with CT Examiner.

A clerical error in The Day

Griswold said that it appears that his staff had accidentally sent an earlier and now incorrect draft of the required notice for the town meeting to The Day.

This version of the warrant does not include the item about the grant to the Lyme Art Academy, and the sequence of the warrant items was incorrect.

“That created a tizzy,” Griswold said.

Griswold said that he would be talking to the town’s attorney and likely calling a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen to ensure that the correct version of the warrant was approved by the selectmen and printed well enough ahead of the actual meeting to comply with state law.

Appointments to boards and commissions

Also on Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen voted on appointments to town boards and commissions. Most of these appointments were to retain current members, but the selectmen also voted to create a new position of town poet laureate and appointed Roger Singer as the first person to fill that role.

Wendy Russell was appointed as Old Lyme’s representative to the Eastern Regional Tourism District, a position that has been vacant.

Griswold said that there are opportunities for townspeople interested in volunteering on a board.

Appointments made Tuesday are as follows:

  • For the Board of Assessment Appeals, Peter Hunt was reappointed for a two-year term.
  • As the town’s ADA Coordinator, Jennifer Datum was reappointed for a one-year term.
  • On the Commission on Aging, Francesca Biasucci was newly appointed for a three-year term, and Phyllis Shepard-Tambini was appointed to fill a vacancy for one year.
  • On the Conservation Commission, Gary Gregory, Anthony Daniels, and Tom Sherer were appointed for three-year terms. George Ryan was appointed to fill a vacancy for one year.
  • On the Economic Development Commission, Gregory Symon and John Stratton were reappointed to five-year terms.
  • As the town’s Emergency Management Director, David Roberge was appointed to a two-year term.
  • On the Flood Erosion Control Board, Gary Smith and Steve Ross were reappointed to two-year terms.
  • On the Harbor Management Commission, John MacDonald and William Harris were reappointed to four-year terms. Chris Staab was appointed to a two-year term as an alternate to fill a vacancy.
  • On the Historic District Commission, John Noyes was reappointed to a five-year term and C. Russell Todd was newly appointed as an alternate for a three-year term.
  • On the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, Robert DePianta, Rachel Gaudio, and Gary Gregory were each reappointed to three-year terms.
  • For the Lymes’ Senior Center, Jane Folland was appointed for a six-month period to fill a vacancy.
  • As municipal agent for the elderly, Cynthia Taylor was reappointed for a two-year term.
  • On the Open Space Commission, Gary Gregory, Evan Griswold, and Gregory Futoma were each appointed for three-year terms.
  • On the Parks and Recreation Commission, Robert Dunn, Brendan McKeever, and Glynn McAraw were reappointed to three-year terms. Donald Willis and Alexander Klose were each reappointed to one-year terms as alternates on that commission.
  • For the Rogers Lake Authority, Jennell Janes was reappointed for a three-year term.
  • On the Shellfish Commission, Todd Machnik was reappointed for a three-year term.
  • For the Sound View Commission, Frank Pappalardo and Michaelle Pearson were reappointed for three-year terms as members. Frank Maratta and Jackie Miano were reappointed for one-year terms as alternates.
  • As town counsel, Suisman Shapiro was reappointed for a two-year term.
  • For the Tree Commission, Joanne DiCamillo and Michael Gaffey were reappointed for three-year terms. For Tree Warden, Thomas Degnan was reappointed for a two-year term.
  • For the Volunteer Pension Committee, Skip Beebe and Jane Bysko were reappointed for two-year terms. As alternates on that commission, Katherine Klose was reappointed and Michael Barnes was newly appointed, each for one-year terms.
  • For the Halls Road Improvements Committee, Steven Ames and Debra Czarnecki were appointed to serve at the pleasure of the Board of Selectmen.

The town meeting will be held on Monday, January 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Auditorium at 53 Lyme Street.

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