BETHEL — On Jan. 4, Bethel selectmen voted 3-1 in favor of approving procedure policies for the town’s Recreation Board, with one amendment made to the rules under “conflict of interest.” The amendment removed “developer,” as a conflict of interest, meaning a planning board member could be involved with project development and still vote on the matter if they wanted to.

Select Woman Michele Varuolo Cole was opposed and Selectman Neil Scanlon recused himself from the vote.

Cole suggested tabling action on the rules of procedure so the board could further review and discuss the ordinance. She also had questions on what the role of recreation director is and what the role of the recreation committee is, also.

Select Woman Lori Swain said the recreation director oversees the recreation department and uses the rules of procedure to do her job.

Cole said recreation director is not defined as a department head in the town’s ordinance.

“This should be one of the first things changed in the ordinance,” Cole said.

The definition was not the only change Cole proposed. She thought that recreation director should not be a stipend position since it’s defined as only being a part-time job.

“I see this part-time employee position,” Cole said.

Recreation director has been a stipend job for roughly six to eight years, according to Selectman Pete Southam.

Selectman Lloyd Sweetser said the monitor for Angevine Park was a stipend job this summer and was considered a part-time position, also. He asked Cole if she wanted to include Fire Chief and Ambulance Service Director as paid town employees instead of stipend employees, which they are currently classified as.

Cole said she was not sure, yet, but thought the board should review employee classifications to make sure they are following statutes, ordinances and classifying employees correctly.

Southam said that the intent of rules of procedure was not to cover anything regarding the status of the recreation director.

“All this is, is a set of rules to allow the board to function in an orderly fashion,” Southam said. “This is not an ordinance. These rules are just a supposed to help the board conduct meetings.”

“I think we are at a point where we can look at these rules comprehensively to recognize that the recreation director is a department head.

Southam said recognizing the director as department head is not the purpose of the rules of procedure.

“We still have a recreation director acting as a department head even though that is not what the position definition currently states,” Cole said. “If we have a direction for the department and recreation director, everything else will fall into place.”

The recreation board approved the rules of procedure in early July, 2019.  The rules of procedure have also been viewed by the town’s attorney and have gone through a public hearing.

In other news, selectmen approved Tom Shepherd to the Bingham Forest Authority and Catherine Ingraham and Tonya Lewis to the Budget Committee.

Selectmen also approved awarding bids to ECI Materials for a 2002 International Plow Truck for $9,123 and to Earl Tyler for a 2007 Ford F350 Pickup Truck for $4,100.

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