Waste board appointments in ‘near future’

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PARIS — Town Manager Phil Tarr said on Monday that the Norway-Paris Solid Waste Board of Directors will soon have its full complement of directors again.

“We will be making some Norway-Paris Solid Waste appointments in the near future,” Tarr said.

Tarr and Town Manager David Holt of Norway have been serving as NPSW directors since February, when the selectmen of the two towns voted to remove all seven directors due to a dispute over the board’s bylaws. Earlier this month, an Oxford County Superior Court judge denied a request by five former directors for a temporary restraining order to reinstate them to the board. The appeal, which said NPSW business would be hindered if the towns’ decision stood, was dropped soon after the judge’s decision.

Tarr suggested to the Paris selectmen that Norway should appoint four members, while Paris should appoint three. The inter-local agreement between the towns and NPSW, a quasi-municipal corporation overseeing the disposal of their solid refuse, has each town appoint three members, with the appointment of the 7th member alternating between the towns. Paris can currently have four members on the board, but its contingent will be reduced to three after June 30.

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The NPSW board recently received recommendations from Runyon Kersteen Ouellette on ways to improve financial transactions on the board. Tarr said the board formerly paid bills under the direction of the treasurer, and that they were more difficult to access because they were not submitted to the board on a regular basis. He said the financial firm recommended that the bookkeeper prepare a warrant to go before the full board, and that the treasurer sign checks once the board approves the warrant.

Other recommendations include having a written policy regarding the handling of cash and eliminating the authority of the bookkeeper to sign checks up to $500. Both Tarr and Holt said the latter recommendation is an additional part of the board’s checks and balances rather than a reflection on the bookkeeper.

“Linda Record has always done and continues to do a good job,” Holt said. “And what she has done is what she has been expected to do, and we are just changing the expectations.”

One change considered for the NPSW board would be to submit any proposed changes of the bylaws to the selectmen for approval. Earlier this year, the board approved amendments to their bylaws, the most significant of which allowed the board to remove directors and decline appointments from the directors. Janet Jamison, a Paris director, was removed in a 4-1 vote soon after the amendments were approved.

Selectmen are also considering keeping the town managers on the NPSW board permanently as two of the seven directors.

“It brings things right back into the town office, where that group is a function of each town,” Tarr said.

“We think it’s important to listen to people and tell people what we’re trying to do and why,” Holt said. “We haven’t found that anyone made tremendous errors. We just felt that mistrust built up.”

Holt said amendments to the inter-local agreement to incorporate changes in procedure might be put off until the towns reach a conclusion on trash-removal policies. He said the towns have considered single-stream recycling or privatizing some functions to save money. There was discussion of having a committee look into the options, but they may be delegated to the NPSW board once a new one is formed.

Tarr said he thinks it will be about a month before a new board is seated. He said he and Holt are putting into place some of the more urgent recommendations of Runyon Kersteen Ouellette, but that lesser matters will be addressed once a full board is in place.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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