The week in government: BOS on FY20 Audit, issuing RFP for Legal Services, and more

by beth on February 1, 2021

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Above: These days, most meetings that used to welcome the public to attend in the Town House Hearing Room or other public facilities are accessible to the public by video/audio conference calls only.

Here are the posted committee and board meetings for this week along with my selected highlights from the agendas. All currently scheduled meetings are only available to the public virtually.*

As always, be aware that changes to the meeting schedule are known to happen throughout the week. For an updated list of meetings, visit the town website.

Monday, February 1, 2021

  • Americans with Disabilities Act Committee Meeting, 2:00 pm @ Virtual Meeting (agenda) Agenda Highlights: Project Meeting with Central Mass Regional Planning Commission – ADA Self Evaluation and Transition Plan

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

  • Board of Selectmen Meeting, 6:00 pm @ Virtual Meeting (agenda and packet) Agenda Highlights: Interview volunteers for Capital Planning Committee; FY20 Audit; FY22 Budget update; Complete Streets MassDOT Submission Update; Update on availability of COVID-19 vaccine; Update on Town of Southborough v. Cram, et. al; Recommendation for shared Admin position between Selectmen & Treasurer offices; Review of RFP documents for Legal Services; Review of MTC survey document; Scheduling of Forum for Downtown District Zoning article and related Main Street issues

Thursday, February 4, 2021

  • Capital Planning Committee – School Research Subcommittee Meeting, 9:00 am @ Virtual Meeting (agenda) Agenda Highlights: Review of Meeting Minutes
  • Advisory Committee Meeting, 6:30 pm @ Virtual Meeting (agenda) Agenda Highlights: Discuss non-budget proposed Articles for Town Meeting, employment benefit programs including retirement programs, FY22 Budget process and status, and Capital Planning work including evaluation of number of school buildings

Friday, February 5, 2021

  • Council on Aging Meeting, 8:30 am @ Virtual Meeting (agenda) Agenda Highlights: Winter drive throughs, Mortgage assistance program, Budget, Programming, Outreach Current mission, Senior Center Renovations Report, Additional Toilet status

*The Town intends to make each of its meetings available for viewing/listening via streaming live (and saved) video and audio on YouTube with some available for public comment by zoom. Live streaming of school committee meetings is only available for viewing via webinars. There is the caveat that there could be technical glitches that force the Town to take backup actions:

No in-person attendance of members of the public will be permitted, but every effort will be made to ensure that the public can adequately access the proceedings in real time, via technological means. In the event that we are unable to do so, despite best efforts, we will post on Southborough’s website an audio or video recording, transcript, or other comprehensive record of proceedings as soon as possible after the meeting.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 n February 1, 2021 at 2:10 PM

BOS 2/2/2021 Agenda item IV. b. Town FY 20 Audit – Bill Fraher

Does anyone know in what context this will be discussed?

Is he a CPA? Was he engaged to complete the audit? Has he completed it? Will he be returning if he has, to address questions after the report has been released (noting it was not included in the packet)?

Will the management letter issued by the CPA be discussed?

Link here for a sample management letter (appears to be standard practice with other towns to share with the public):
https://www.carverma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif4221/f/uploads/carver_fy2019_management_letter.pdf

Mass OML requires that “The list of topics must be sufficiently specific to reasonably inform the public of the issues to be discussed at the meeting…”

https://www.mass.gov/doc/open-meeting-law-guide-and-educational-materials-0/download

Please don’t interpret this as asserting any wrong doing. I just do not understand why prior audit reports and related management letters from the CPA do not appear to be readily available to the public. This is basic stuff that summarizes the town’s financial position and activity, and communicates in the management comment letter any internal control issues that the CPA stumbled upon while completing their work.

Also worth noting that when we went to a larger BOS that would be more hands off re day to day operations, it was proposed that it would operate more as a board of directors. Appreciating there may not be a need for an audit committee appointed by the BOS, how can it be so difficult to find the minutes for the BOS and Advisory Committee meetings in which the annual audits were reviewed and discussed?

Reply

2 beth February 1, 2021 at 2:19 PM

Bill Fraher is the Town Auditor. I presume it will be his annual audit report presentation. While it is often shared in the packet in advance, that isn’t a requirement. The Town has been following a practice of including all discussed/presented materials along with minutes on the Town website.

As for your question about follow up – that is a question you could ask selectmen during public comment.

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3 Resident February 1, 2021 at 2:28 PM

New position in the Town Hall? Thought we had a hiring freeze.

Reply

4 beth February 1, 2021 at 2:45 PM

It actually appears to me that they are proposing revamping a current position to support more services. A memo in the packet (page 26) specifies the background and details culminating in Town Administrator Mark Purple’s recommendation:

  • The position will be maintained at the current 34 hours per week;
  • The hours will be split with the Treasurer/Collector’s office at 17 per week for each department. For the remainder of FY21, the position will reside in the Selectmen’s office as budgeted. For FY22, the hours will be reflected in both budgets;
  • Under the Selectmen’s hours, administrative support will be provided to Conservation, IT, and EDC, as well as committees that have no staff liaison. Conservation will receive the share of additional support, as the needs of others tends more toward the weekly processing of payroll and payables;
  • Shared position addresses multiple needs in same building and provides cross-training;

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5 Resident February 2, 2021 at 10:34 AM

Thank you for clarifying Beth.

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