By Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday, 3/26 the Fairhaven Board of Public Works approved of a driveway waiver, met with an employee about paying for training courses, and briefly discussed roadwork on Billy’s Way.
The BPW briefly reopened a discussion about possibly paving Billy’s Way in FY19. At a previous meeting three residents of Billy’s Way stated that they did not want the road paved, and the two residents who petitioned for it to be paved did not inform the other residents of the street. After much discussion at the earlier meeting the board agreed to contacts the finance committee to see if they could revoke their recommendation to pave Billy’s Way.
At the 3/26 meeting, BPW Superintendent Vincent Furtado said he wanted to reopen the discussion to ask the board if they would like to invite all residents of Billy’s Way to the next meeting to discuss the roadwork and to make a final decision on whether to continue to recommend the road or pick a new street.
Board member Robert “Hoppy” Hobson agreed that they should invite all the residents on the street, that way everyone gets a chance to say their piece.
“I just want to be prepared….” Mr. Hobson said. “I want the money to go to another street and not to be taken away from us.”
Board member Brian Wotton agreed that they should table the matter until the next meeting and invite the residents of Billy’s Way to attend a meeting.
In other business, the board met with Antone Medeiros about a driveway waiver for 48 Spring Street. Mr. Medeiros said the customer would like an additional driveway for additional parking for his property to help get cars off the street. They are asking to cut the curb 16 feet for the additional driveway .
The board approved the waiver.
In another matter, the board met with Karl Fleurent and his attorney George Belanger about payment/ compensation for a water treatment training course Mr. Fleurent is currently taking.
Mr. Belanger said that Mr. Fleurent is seeking compensation for the course because he believes his training will benefit the town.
Mr. Hobson stated that he thought the issue was a collective bargaining problem and something that should be negotiated in the contract.
Chairperson Michael Ristuccia said that the contract briefly states that the town will pay for training courses and it mentions the Treatment 2 licenses that Mr. Fleurent is currently going for.
He explained that the problem is a T2 licenses is not required for Mr. Fleurent’s job, and the contract does not state whether or not the town will pay for non-required licenses.
“It’s a grey area,” Mr. Ristuccia said.
Mr. Fleurent said he has been taking the class for the past six weeks on Tuesdays from 1-4:30 p.m. and has been learning a lot. He explained that he is using his comp time to go to the class because he has to take a half-day from work to attend. He said there are no night classes offered.
Mr. Fleurent said that nowhere in the contract does it say that the town only pays for required classes.
The 12-week program is $800, explained Mr. Fleurent,and said that the class also helps renew his T1 license, so it is “killing two birds with one stone.”
Mr. Wotton asked Mr. Fleurent what he is trying to get from this meeting.
Mr. Fleurent said that he wanted his class paid for, and the comp time that he has been using to take the class.
Mr. Belanger said the collective bargaining agreement does mention the T2 license.
Water Department Superintendent, Jeff Furtado said that he took a night class for his T2 license and that the Cape and Holliston offer the class at night in the Fall.
Mr. Furtado also said that when he took the class he asked for compensation as well and was told “no.”
Mr. Hobson said Mr. Fleurent does not need the license for the job and once he gets the license he will ask for more money. Mr. Hobson also said that if they compensate Mr. Fleurent other employees from all departments are going to demand compensation for their courses.
Board member Cameron Durant said that Mr. Fleurent should have to use comp time for the classes because they are during work hours.
Mr. Ristuccia said that Mr. Fleurent chose to take the class during the day and he could have waited until a night class came up.
“The course is available at night,” Mr. Ristuccia said. “And this course is not required.”
He said that Mr. Fleurent does not need that license to do his job and had no need to take the course right now…he chose to.
And, said Mr. Ristuccia, although the T2 license is mentioned in the collective bargaining agreement it is not a required course; but the contract leaves a grey area.
Mr. Ristuccia suggested possibly paying for half the training course.
Mr. Hobson said that he does not think they should pay for a course that is not needed.
Mr. Wotton explained that the T2 license is in the contract, therefore the town should pay for the training course.
Mr. Wotton explained that the department allowed Mr. Fleurent to take the class, allowed him to use comp time, and the town vehicle as well as gas. Mr. Wotton said that it was generous of the town, and that he thought they should pay for Mr. Fleurent’s training course because it is mentioned in the contract, but from here on out the board should change the contract to get rid of all non-required courses.
Although he recommended paying for the class, Mr. Wotton said Mr. Fleurent has to continue to use his comp time because he could have taken the class at night and the class is not required.
Mr. Ristuccia made a motion that the board stop discussion and vote.
Mr. Hobson seconded and said he wanted to make a motion not to pay for Mr. Fleurent’s T2 license.
The motion was not seconded and the meeting was interrupted due to a family emergency for Mr. Ristuccia who had to immediately dismiss himself from the meeting.
The board continued with a motion from Mr. Wotton for the BPW to pay for the class and to allow Mr. Fleurent to continue to use the town vehicle, but to continue using his comp time.
The vote passed 3-1 with Mr. Hobson opposing.
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