Monthly Archives: April 2017

Town loses stellar VSO, Ron Griffin

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Ron Griffin to Retire as Veterans Service Officer

Ron Griffin emailed town officials yesterday to confirm his long planned, and much deferred, retirement as the town’s Veterans Service Officer, leaving huge shoes to be filled.

First and foremost, I want to thank Ron for his exemplary and expansive service to the Town of Medfield, its veterans, and really, by his extension of the scope of the VSO work, to all of our residents.  It has been one of my great pleasures to see how he used that VSO position to make so many things happen to honor the veterans, but also to involve so many facets of the town in the process.  Thanks to Ron the Blake Middle School students now meet annually with veterans, Medfield Foundation volunteer of the year honorees receive flags flown over the Capital, the town this year is honoring Vietnam War vets, and the town now celebrates all veterans on Veterans Day with a breakfast in their honor served by the Medfield High School students from their Warriors for Warriors club.  Also, through his Legion connections, housing for veterans is now being explored at the Legion.  Ron is clearly a leader of both vision and action.

The defeat of Ron’s motion to amend the Veterans Service Officer budget at the annual town meeting (ATM) was the low point of that meeting.  That was when I first learned that the Warrant Committee was not supporting that funding request, and the issue had not been discussed by selectmen.  In hindsight, I wish I had added a plea for support on its behalf, since the expanded position could have coordinated with Medfield Youth Outreach and the Council on Aging to serve those most in need in Medfield (see Ron’s proposal below).

Below are Ron’s email, and then Ron’s previously presented plan for the expanded VSO position.  Maybe a future town meeting, as a tribute to Ron Griffin and his extraordinary service to all Medfield residents, will enact his recommendations:

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April 27, 2017

Dear Selectman Pete Petersen, Mike Marcucci, Gus Murby and Town Manager Mike Sullivan

In October of 2015 I submitted my intention to retire at the end of that fiscal year.  I gave advance notice so as to give the town time to prepare a solution to the states full time service officer requirement and to find a suitable replacement.  When neither was accomplished by the end of that fiscal year, I agreed to continue in my position until December 2016 with the understanding that the town would be able to find a replacement and achieve state compliance by that time frame.  Now the 2018 fiscal year is approaching and to the best of my knowledge there has been no advancement by the town to fill the position nor actions planned to secure compliance to the State’s General Law.

This places me in the intolerable position to abandon my post, which I will do at the end of this fiscal year.

As the position of Veteran Service Officer carry’s with it appointments to the Memorial Day Committee and Committee to Study Memorials, I am resigning from those committees as of July 1, 2017.

As the town moves forward to find solutions to serve it’s veteran population I fear it will encounter difficulties.  If the town tries to fill the position and not also meet compliance with State law, the appointment will be rejected by the State.  In addition the state might freeze certain Veteran reimbursements through the Cherry Sheet until the town is in compliance.  The State is under some pressures to take actions on the few communities that are not in compliance with State Law in providing Veteran Services.   I fear Medfield will become the example used to prod other communities into compliance.  I also fear that the veteran community statewide along with the media, will strongly vocalize and condemn the town for its non-actions to bring the town into compliance with the state law.  I also fear the Town of Medfield will be depicted as hostile community to veterans.  This will greatly sadden me, as I know the Town of Medfield is one of the most supportive veteran communities in the state.

It is also possible that none of my fears will materialize.  However it is these undesirable real fears along with a strong concern to insure that the valuable services provided by this office continue without interruption that has motivated me to continue my duties throughout this past fiscal year.

Please understand, I regret the actions I am taking now.  I trust you can agree that I have done all that I could to insure that an orderly transition of my position was achieved.

Until then, I remain at your service.

Ron Griffin
Medfield Veteran Service Officer

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March 22, 2017 Subject - VSO Job description expansion - Office of Veteran and Community Services I am very aware that the following is not within the context of my responsibilities and has not been solicited. However, it is being offered with the intent of advancing the town toward compliance with State Law requiring the Town of Medfield provide full time access to Veteran Service Officer services. I fully agree that the current Medfield veteran population is in rapid decline and not large enough to warrant full time services, however the law uses town population to determine the requirement. Last year I submitted a budget for a full time position and I have done so this year as well. So I would like to offer rational to expand the duties of the VSO, while preserving its primary function. I met with Warrant Committee member Tom Marie to discuss my 2018 budget proposal and essentially had this same conversation. The VSO Position administrative overview The veteran Service Officer must be the primary function of the VSO position, however others duties may be assigned. The VSO position must be occupied by a veteran. The VSO position requires subject knowledge and certification on general areas specific to veterans and their families. Providing knowledge and information the VSO identifies benefits and guides clients through various matrices toward acquiring them. The pathway mostly consists of benefit explanation, developing the correct documentation and delivering it to the correct resource. The VSO does not determine, deny or ratify benefits and is non judgmental in offering assistance to any individual. However, the VSO does administer Massachusetts Chapter 115 benefits. Expanding VSO duties Where much of a VSO’s expertise is in subject explanation, documentation development and resource identification it is probable that these skills can be used on other non veteran related programs needed by the town’s citizens. Generally NEEDS based programs do not require unique expertise and many community programs may only require the dissemination of information. Needs based programs already exist that are managed by various town departments, sometimes under-utilizing the expertise of the person managing them. All to often, citizens are denied assistance because they simply do not know it exists. Often our citizens most in need of services are the least able to acquire them on their own. Because discussions about these services are provided in a confidential private setting, there is little visibility that these assisting services ever took place. Generally the community population who are not exposed to these services are seldom aware of the their need nor of their importance. Each of you probably have had an experience with one of our citizens who had an issue and had no idea where to turn for help. My experience is that generally what is missing is an understanding of the problem. Yes, occasionally our bureaucratic systems do error and when they do, it is usually very difficult for an individual to correct. In today's society, little can be accomplished without computer knowledge and internet access. Paper forms are now restricted and agency's often defer to web based solutions. More often computers are the decision makers and generating correspondence while the human analysis works to understand the computers choice rather than applying a solution. Often agency's do authorize electronic access to their systems that help identify individual issues. There is a BOLD line that separates assisting in a situation and owning that situation. I do not propose that this position administer any benefit (other than Chapter 115). That bold line is too easily crossed due to a natural compassion that develops with the client. While it is appropriate to provide guidance toward appealing undesirable results, it is not appropriate to participate in the appeal as that would require specific professional expertise. Development of VSO knowledge and skills can easily take more than a year. Knowledge development of non Veteran needs assistance will be substantially less. Identification of non veteran based services can be developed independently, but the following programs are offered as potential candidates. Non- Veteran Needs based services already provided by Medfield (The following is a collaboration list identified by Dawn Alcott, Chelsea Goldstein-Walsh, Cheryl Lavallee and Ron Griffin) Assistance with filling out applications: SNAP (formerly the food stamp program) Mass Health Other health insurance through health care connector SSI/SSDI when appropriate Department of Mental Health Department of Developmental Services SHINE (Medicare) Fuel Assistance Assistance with locating food resources: SNAP Medfield Food Cupboard A Place to Turn Natick (individual or family can go every 2 months for 2 weeks of food with a new social service referral each time…we have many families involved in this United Way program and we do their referrals every two months) Abundant Table Home Delivered Meals (if over age 60) (this is common when a senior is in the home of a family we serve) Assistance with financial help SMOC Housing Home Committee Angel Run Fund (we screen many referrals for ARF…usually 2-5 per week) Fuel Assistance (as SMOC representative for Medfield Community both MYO and COA do applications for residents) Assistance with obtaining basic necessities (clothing, furniture, etc.) New Life Home Refurnishing: (Furniture Resource)Must be referred by social service agency. That agency coordinates client visit on their behalf. This is a once in a life time referral…so it is a thorough and complete as possible process. Dress for Success Boston: (Clothing) Social service agency referral needed. A woman returning to the work force or changing careers can get one interview suit/outfit and an additional outfit following hire. Other agencies: ARC of Southern Norfolk County (for respite funds to hire caregivers and other programs) I hope you will consider the information provided as an opportunity to better utilize the VSO position to better serve all of our citizens. Ron Griffin Medfield VSO20170322-rg-veteran and community services position march 2017_Page_2

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Dover on BCRT

Driving to work down Farm Street in Dover is now akin to navigating a tunnel of Bay Colony Rail Trail opinion signs, aimed at Dover town meeting votes on the Bay Colony Rail Trail issue.

These were circulated by Mike Sullivan yesterday –

/ RECORD OF VOTE OF THE DOVER BOARD OF SELECTMEN BAY COLONY RAIL TRAIL MOU February 16, 2017 At a duly called public meeting of the Dover Board of Selectmen on February 16, 2017, the Board moved, seconded, and voted as follows with respect to the proposed Bay Colony Rail Trail (a/k/a the Dover Greenway) in the Town of Dover (the "Rail Trail"): 1. To authorize Town Counsel's office, before the Town's 2017 Annual Town Meeting, to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with the Friends of the Dover Greenway Inc. (the "Friends"), covering the timing and donation by the Friends to the Town pursuant to M.G.L. c. 44, § 53A, of funds sufficient to cover all costs of the Rail Trail and the Town's obligations under the proposed "Alternative Transportation Corridor Lease Agreement by and between Massachusetts Bay Transpotiation Authority and Town of Dover" (the "Lease"), including without limitation the costs of (a) architects, engineers, surveyors, attorneys, and related professionals; (b) due diligence, surveys, plan preparation, designs, permitting, environmental insurance, and environmental investigation and compliance measures; ( c) public bidding and other public processes; ( d) construction, construction administration, construction management, and permitting oversight; ( e) operation, repairs and maintenance; (f) clearing title to, laying out and/or providing access to the MBTA right-of-way if and as necessary; (g) contingencies and cost overruns; and (h) otherwise meeting the Town's obligation under the Lease; and 2. To authorize the Town Administrator to engage a qualified consultant to advise the Town, from time to time, when sufficient funds have been donated, or any shortfall of funds donated, to accomplish the various purposes of the MOU. TOWN OF DOVER __..Byit:!:s oard of Selectmen  -  L - ~---;~~~~~~~~~ R:obyn Hunter, Chair o~ D.,J ___ , Candace Mccann, Clerk ( A0409632.2 } RECORD OF VOTE OF THE DOVER BOARD OF SELECTMEN BAY COLONY RAIL TRAIL LEASE February 16, 2017 At a duly called public meeting of the Dover Board of Selectmen (the "Board") on February 16, 2017, the Board moved, seconded, and voted as follows with respect to the proposed Bay Colony Rail Trail (a/k/a the Dover Greenway) in the Town of Dover: l. To request that the MBTA approve, before the Town's 2017 Annual Town Meeting, the attached form of "Alternative Transportation Conidor Lease Agreement by and between Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Town of Dover" (the "Lease") with the applicable exhibits referenced therein; 2. To instruct Town Counsel's office to advise the Board of any proposed changes to the attached form of Lease requested by the MBTA or the Town either before or after Town Meeting; and, if any such changes are proposed after Town Meeting, to advise the Board whether those changes are consistent with Town Meeting's action with respect to the Lease; and 3. To request that the MBTA work with the Town to arrive at a mutually acceptable License Agreement and/or contingencies in the Lease to enable the Town to perform surveys, prepare plans and specifications, apply for governmental permits and approvals, solicit bids, and otherwise undertake mutually acceptable due diligence activities, and to ensure that sufficient private funds have been and will be donated to the Town to cover its obligations under the Lease. TOWN OF DOVER ;13'Yit~oard of Selectmen ( I \, !lJ-- -~)IIlHU1ltef: Chair LLkJ- (A0409630.2 }20170216-Dover votes_Page_2

ATM votes last Monday on ALS & AHT

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ALS Study Committee & Affordable Housing Trust at ATM

The town posted a summary of the votes on each warrant article at last Monday’s annual town meeting (ATM) (20170424-Warrant_votes_2017) .

On the only two substantially disputed warrant articles, my own estimate of the votes was that the warrant article:

  • #15 about ALS had the ATM voting about 80% against giving $500,000 to the selectmen to implement ALS as it saw fit in the next year if the selectmen felt it was needed – a clear mandate that the residents wants to make that decision themselves, rather than delegate it.  ALS will now go to the study committee that both the Warrant Committee and selectmen recommended; and
  • #17 about funding the Affordable Housing Trust with a $1m. bond had the ATM voting about 80% in favor.  Those monies will provide the town a financial tool to use to create affordable housing, in its efforts to get to 10% affordable housing and to therefore eliminate unfriendly 40B’s.  The town needs about 139 more affordable housing units to reach that 10% threshold, or about 160 if one considers the likely increase in housing units in town to be needed after the 2020 census.

Residents interested in serving on either the newly created ALS Study Committee or the just created Affordable Housing Trust should contact Evelyn Clarke (eclarke@medfield.net) to make his or her interest known.

Donate to ANGP

From Tracey Rogers, ANGP Co-chair –

ANGP-2

Please support the CLASS of 2017 by making a donation to this year’s All Night Graduation Party (ANGP). Medfield’s ANGP is a time-honored tradition that has provided a safe and fun way for Seniors to celebrate on graduation night for 25 years. The party held at the Medfield High School could not take place without the support of our community. Graduation Day is Sunday, June 4th, for 218 Medfield Seniors. Use the blue form in the ANGP flyer that was recently sent to all Medfield residents or simply mail your contribution to MHS All Night Graduation Party, PO Box 38, Medfield, MA 02052. On-line donations can be made at medfieldhspto.org.  THANK YOU!

SWAP volunteers 4/30

From Megan Sullivan –

Swap area

SWAP SET-UP

On Sunday April 30th the final tent/canopy will be set up AND the washed tables, shelves, bookcases, signs etc. will be set up into the  tents. We need 4-6 men to help with the canopy set-up.  If you can commit to helping with the tent set up please contact n.nancyirwin@verizon.net.   Other help is welcome anytime from 10-3 and while a sign-up is appreciated, you are also more than welcome (and encouraged to) just to stop by to help for 15 minutes or more!

Thanks

Vote daily to 5/12

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VOTE DAILY ONLINE FOR CULTURAL ALLIANCE GRANT

The Cultural Alliance has submitted a video grant application. If the video gets enough votes (i.e. lands in the top 10 of the category “arts and culture”), it advances to the next round of evaluation which will award one application in each category $100k and two applications $50k each. A lot of money!
PLEASE VOTE FOR OUR VIDEO GRANT today and everyday thru May 12
http://act.usatoday.com/submit-an-idea/#/gallery/60445715

Leave a browser tab open, refresh the page each day, and click “VOTE.”

Warrant Committee handout about ALS

ALS OPTIONS OVERVIEW

 

The Warrant Committee has prepared this Options Overview for Article 15.

 

Option 1.  As Is – For a Limited Time Period

 

Rely on neighboring communities to provide ALS intercept service (as we have in recent past) while evaluating an optimal long term solution

 

Expected Investment:             Potential $25K to study committee (no over-ride required)

Service:                                   Effective – ALS intercept will continue to work well for us if neighbors continue to support us while we evaluate other solutions

Uncertainty:                           Not a long term solution

 

Option 2.  Contract out ALS Services

 

Contract with a private service to dedicate an ambulance and 2 Paramedics to Medfield 24/7

 

Expected Investment:             $570K per year (based on one quote only)

Service:                                   Response time fast (have 2 ambulances available – ALS & BLS)

Ambulance utilization low

Staffed from a pool of paramedics with high utilization/experience

Uncertainty:                           Control of resources, Potential to share costs & services

 

Option 3. Hire FF/Paramedics

 

Hire paramedics and equip current ambulance to accommodate ALS service

 

Expected Investment:             6 hires < $700K ($544K-$606K per year +  $90K startup costs)

(Lower if we hire entry level Paramedics but will grow to this level within 7 years as a result of step increases)

4 hires would decrease investment 30%

8 hires would increase investment 30%

Service:                                   Response time fast (assuming no concurrent calls),

Equipment and Paramedic utilization low

Uncertainty:                           Number of hires/level of coverage
New Fire Chief not yet available – who will hire/train?
Cost (contract negotiations ongoing, retirement benefits not included,
budget to support required wage growth without future over-rides)

 

Option 4. Regionalize ALS Services

 

Share resources (either hired or contracted ALS) with other towns locally

 

Expected Investment:             Unknown – but lower than other long term options.

Potentially half (or less) than other options; could it be a profit center?

Service:                                   Response time fast (assuming no concurrent calls) especially if ambulance housed in Medfield, Utilization higher

Uncertainty:                           Partners, cost sharing, location of ambulance