Colchester Commission on Aging
Regular Meeting Minutes
Monday, May 11, 2009 – Colchester Senior Center
Members Present: Chairman Jean Stawicki, Vice-Chair Clara Erickson, Bernie Erickson, Sue Maikshilo, Theresa Hendricksen
Members Absent: Betty Ann Oppelt, Barbara Warden, Bill Wagner
Others Present: Patti White, Rosemary Coyle, Norm Dupuis, Tom Maikshilo
1. Call Meeting to Order: The meeting was called to order at 1:03 p.m.
2. Minutes: Sue Maikshilo motioned to approve the regular meeting minutes of 4/13/09. Clara Erickson seconded. All other members present voted in favor. MOTION CARRIED.
3. Friends of the Senior Center: Norm Dupuis stated that he received the document from Jean Stawicki dated 5/1/09 entitled ‘Evaluation of Current and Possible Senior Center Buildings in Colchester’ (see attached). This is a letter Jean put together to get all the ideas for moving forward on a new senior center on the table for discussion. First he agreed that it can be an important building block especially if it becomes a public document. He proposed changing the title to ‘Accreditation and Proposed New or Renovated Senior Center in Colchester’. Norm stated that he would like to address accreditation and the senior center as two separate issues. Jean said that she sees them as one and the same because accreditation is not possible in the building that
currently houses the center.
Norm suggested that the 1st paragraph of the document should say who grants accreditation. Jean said it’s the National Institution of Senior Centers who is a constituent unit of the National Council of Aging, Inc. Norm would like to add ‘Accreditation’ to the 2nd paragraph title and would like to strike the July 2010 line item stating that there will be a new chairman of the Commission on Aging as this has nothing to do with the purpose of the document. He also added that the item on the 2nd page regarding tearing down the present building and rebuilding a replica is not a viable option as the town does not even own the building. Jean said she included that because it had been proposed to her by someone else. She said that she tried to put all options together so they could be studied in
minute detail with the goal of bringing their recommendations to the Board of Selectmen after studying all options put forth on the issue.
Jean said she hoped to bring all the people together who wanted to work on reviewing the building and her list of proposals and have them set up a time to meet. She would like all of these issues to be taken up at that meeting including how to break it down into manageable pieces.
Clara Erickson asked what advantages come with accreditation. Jean replied that funding is the biggest benefit. People and organizations tend to donate funds to accredited organizations before those that are not. She explained that accreditation is a self-study process that ensures the center is offering the most current senior programming. More funding would mean running more trips, providing more programming and additional services. She also said it brings in more community support as a requirement. Patti added that the Department of Social Services, which does not fund senior centers, is looking at creating quality of care services and best practices for senior centers and communities to follow.
Jean stated that when she was looking at accreditation, she didn’t realize that the building would be such a problem, which is why she sees accreditation and a new home for the senior center as one issue. Rosemary Coyle suggested reviewing what’s already been done within the town. She said that she believed, per the town charter, that any ad hoc committees formed by a commission need to be appointed through the Board of Selectmen. Jean felt that the commission could put together this report without going through that process. Rosemary explained that it is the process of the charter. She said she would check on it to be sure.
Patti asked all to step back and remember that everyone is working toward the same goal. There was discussion regarding how to move forward with the process. Sue Maikshilo said a lot has to do with the environment they’re in. They can’t make any changes to the building because it’s owned by the Bacon Academy Board of Trustees and is also an historical building.
Bernie Erickson stated that Parks and Rec and the Facilities Task Force have both made formal reports to the Board of Selectmen recommending what to do with existing buildings and areas owned by the town. However, the work that the Friends of the Senior Center compiled has never been brought before the Board of Selectmen. Rosemary said that the Commission should look at these other reports because support needs to be taken from the beginning and brought along as the research is done rather than just coming in at the end so everyone sees the process and can come to the same conclusions. This helps to build support along the way.
Norm said there are three reports out there that they could research. The one done by Parks and Rec studied building a senior center into a community center. The danger of that would be that the building itself would be under control of Parks and Rec. Another report was presented by a consultant studying the use of existing buildings. It wasn’t until the consultant hit the $50 million level that a senior center shows up in the report. It places the center in one of the wings of an existing school. Then there is the report completed by the Friends of the Senior Center.
Jean would like various people from the community to sit on a committee that could break down the list into smaller parts. Rosemary said they should think about what types of individuals they would like on the committee, such as building inspector, contractors, etc. that can bring in the skills and expertise that they need. Clara motioned that they wait for Rosemary to know if it needs to be run through the Board of Selectmen. Jean said there is not enough time to wait for an answer and the Board of Selectmen doesn’t have the authority to appoint members on this. Rosemary explained that any committees need to be approved by the Board of Selectmen for their work to be taken into consideration.
Jean explained that she sees three things happening. First to form a committee that can be split into subcommittees to study all reports, then to write up the goals and process of what each committee would do and finally, to look at community members to serve on the committees.
Norm stated that they’re all there. First, the $50 million option from the Board of Education proposal (the Facilities Task Force), second the proposal from Parks and Rec, third, the proposal from the Friends of the Senior Center and the fourth being to use the senior center as a community center and find a new home for the seniors. Jean proposed looking at all of these proposals as well as the others that she included so the committee can do a full cost analysis to present to the Board of Selectmen so they can decide the very best plan for a proper senior center. This way any questions that come up can be answered from one place.
Norm said that the Friends have already come up with 24 items that are wrong with the current center which they valued at $200,000. Patti reiterated that everyone is on the same page but that they need to wait for Rosemary to check on rules for appointing committees. Jean said she’d like a committee to begin meeting and they should decide if it should be daytime or evening meetings.
At this point, Rosemary left the meeting.
Sue felt that evening meetings would be best so that younger people and professionals could attend. Jean said anyone from the Commission on Aging or the Friends of the Senior Center could sit on it and they should try to get someone to chair it. Patti suggested someone from the outside should chair. She held that the commission should build on the work that others have done and focus on adding other people into the fold. Jean said she’s looking at breaking it down into subcommittees which would gain community support by including many people. Patti stressed that the goal should be to bring it up to the Board of Selectmen.
Jean asked for a motion to form a subcommittee. None was made. Norm asked that they add the list of 24 problems with the current facility as well as the reports from the Friends, Parks and Rec and the Facilities Task Force.
At this point, Rosemary returned to the meeting. She read from the Code of the Town of Colchester, Connecticut, v11 Updated 03-01-2009/The Charter/Article IV, The Board of Selectmen, subsection C-402, Powers and duties of the board of Selectmen, paragraph E, which states: The Board of Selectmen, acting in its sole discretion, may appoint such temporary boards, commissions, committees or study groups as it may from time to time determine are necessary. For purposes of this section, only boards, commissions, committees and study groups which are reasonably expected to remain active for one year or less shall be considered temporary.
Rosemary suggested that the Commission notify the Board of Selectmen that they want to set up a committee that will look at all the research that’s been done to make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen. Jean said she wants people to be put on the committee by the Commission on Aging, not by the Board of Selectmen because people don’t want to be appointed. She is thinking it will take about 150 people to be able to break down into very small groups to analyze all the pieces. She stated that the Board of Selectmen will require quorums, agendas, minutes, etc. Rosemary said this is all required by the Freedom of Information Act.
At this point, Norm Dupuis and Tom Maikshilo left the meeting.
There was discussion regarding how to move forward with appointing a committee. Theresa Hendricksen motioned to table the discussion until the next meeting. Sue Maikshilo seconded. All other members present voted in favor. MOTION CARRIED.
4. Financial Report: Bernie Erickson reported that the senior center collected $327.20 in April from bus transportation. Of that, $133.00 was from out of town trips.
5. Budget: Patti White reported that the budget will go to referendum on May 12th. She had originally put $1,500 into the programming line, but it got cut to $750.
6. Chairman’s Report: No items were reported.
7. Senior Center Director’s Report: Patti reported that some Bacon Academy students will come on June 11th to paint one of the rooms at the center.
Patti will be away from the center to attend training on the next four Wednesdays.
TRIAD is organizing and event on May 28th called “Don’t be Scammed”. There will be an attorney from the Department of Social Services, representatives from the Fire Department and People’s Bank, among others.
Bingo will begin on the first Wednesday night in June.
8. Old Business: No new items were reported.
9. New Business: Clara Erickson stated that she spoke with Cathy Russi who volunteered to create a power point history of the senior center. Cathy also relayed that Cathy would like to thank the center for the items that they sent to the Grange Tag Sale. Also, if they want to review the policies of the senior center, they are in the office.
10. Adjournment: Bernie Erickson motioned to adjourn the meeting at 2:34 p.m. Clara Erickson seconded. All other members present voted in favor. MOTION CARRIED.