MIDDLEBURY — The Board of Selectmen, meeting Monday, June 15, unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement with Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 034, Middlebury Police Union, covering the period from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2021.
During the meeting, First Selectman Ed St. John thanked Jack Parlon, attorney for the fraternal order, for what he described as a bumpy start that ended with everyone as a winner.
Mr. St. John continued by expressing his pride in the Middlebury Police Department, noting that he has never heard of a report of police brutality in his 30-year tenure with the town and described the current relationship between the town and police as great.
Pointing to the national focus on law enforcement, he also commented that this was a good time to ensure that police policies were examined and in good shape.
“I would prefer to be ahead of the curve,” he said, noting he had no problem with additional training and he would like issues to be proactively addressed. “We need to come together.”
Also during the meeting, Selectman Elaine Strobel asked the board to consider creating two summer internships for high school students from minority backgrounds.
She read a statement that recognized the recent activity focused on the Black Lives Matter movement and said that most Middlebury residents agree with the support for the black community expressed in the protests.
She had anticipated questions that might be asked about her suggestion of an internship and shared answers to them, including the question of why the town should make this move.
Noting that the best chance for change starts with youth, she explained that the program would include all minority groups, no just black students, because the practice of exclusion impacts all minorities.
The town would consider the interests of the students in matching them to available opportunities in town government, such as giving students interested in engineering access to public works projects or those interested in real estate exposure to the tax assessor’s work.
Ms. Strobel described the internship as a first step and hoped that interested students would apply with a cover letter and two letters of recommendation from a teacher and religious leader before June 26.
The board unanimously approved Ms. Strobel’s suggestion and agreed the internship will last for six weeks starting July 6.
The board honored Sgt. George Slaiby by presenting him with an award given by the Waterbury Exchange Club, which annually recognizes a public safety officer who has provided the community with outstanding service.
In other business, the board accepted the resignation of John Cookson as a member of the Land Preservation and Open Space Acquisition Committee.
First Selectman Ed St. John expressly thanked Mr. Cookson for his service.
The selectmen also reappointed Susan D. Drelichowski as a member of the Beautification Committee and Kelly A. Bollard as an alternate member of the Board of Finance and as a member of the Conservation Commission.
They reappointed Natrajan Kuppuraj and Terrence S. McAuliffe as members of the Greater Waterbury Cable Council and Erika Carrington and Raymond Pietrorazio as members of the Land Preservation and Open Space Acquisition Committee.
Sselectmen approved the town employee pay plan, which Mr. St. John said had been approved as part of the budget process.
He pointed out that there was no referendum process for the budget this year due to the pandemic.
Before the meeting adjourned, selectmen unanimously approved the job description for a new position that combines clerking duties for both the assessor and tax collector.
The assessor, collector and chief financial officer had signed off on both the description and the idea to consolidate two part-time positions and create one full-time position.
Mr. St. John pointed out that 92 Turnpike Dr. would remain on the tax rolls and there would be no public hearing regarding it as the owner had sold the property.