FARMINGTON — Selectmen had no statement Tuesday to clarify a contentious debate over communications and chain of command that occurred during the board's April 24 meeting.
The debate began when Selectmen Andrew Hufnagel objected because an executive session that he requested was not added to the agenda of that meeting. He wanted the session to discuss personnel matters.
Last week, Hufnagel said a Public Works employee approached him and said he was told he could not talk to selectmen and could face termination of his employment if he did.
The meeting agenda for Tuesday called for a vote by the board “to issue a statement clarifying the subject of discussion” from the April 24 meeting.
The exchange was filmed on local access TV and created questions for viewers.
A special executive session was held by the board and town manager two nights later on April 26.
Calling that session a “healthy and forthright discussion,” Chairman Stephan Bunker said Tuesday that he offered to draft a policy statement for employees, department heads, the town manager and board regarding those issues along with the process for executive session and the role of the board chair.
“It's a work in progress,” he said.
Selectman Dennis Pike moved to table the discussion of the policy draft until the next meeting. Bunker and Selectman Ryan Morgan agreed. Hufnagel and Selectman Jessica Berry were absent.
In other business, the board agreed to move ahead with a bid process for the new police garage. Chief Jack Peck gave the board an estimate of $61,000 not counting funds for a drain trap, contingency funds and minus the cost of labor.
At the last meeting, the board accepted an offer from Richard Bjorn to pay the difference between the cost of the proposed three-bay garage and the $25,000 taxpayers raised during March's town meeting.
Morgan questioned the potential for the town to purchase materials tax exempt in an effort to “appreciate the gift and not go overboard,” he said.
The board unanimously agreed to authorize the town manager and police chief to put together a bid package and get the project going.
The board also agreed to name May 23 as Arbor Day in Farmington. Peter Tracy from the town's Conservation Commission told the board that a planting day was planned at Mallett School in observance of it. About 400 students will participate in planting trees and Central Maine Power is providing a seedling for each student to take home.
The school is planning to add an arboretum for local tree species and some others along with vegetable and flower gardens as they landscape the new school, he said.