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Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy

The Sanford City Council met January 4, 2022 via Zoom. With the exception of Councilor John Tuttle, who is recuperating from a hospital stay, all members were present. Councilor Jonathan Martell led the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for a moment of silence.

Newly elected Councilor Becky Brink and re-elected Councilor Ayn Hanselmann were sworn in by City Clerk Sue Cote.

The minutes of the December 21 meeting were approved.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio read a letter from former Fire Chief Ray Parent, who is now a board member for the Southern Maine Memorial Veterans’ Cemetery. Mr. Parent expressed the board’s appreciation for the assistance and support the City has given to the Cemetery with various issues and projects.

She said another letter had been received, but it would not be read into the record because it was not signed.

City Manager’s Report

Communications: City Manager Steve Buck updated the Council on the several projects being undertaken by the City’s Communications Coordinator, Jordan Wilson. Ms. Wilson is developing a survey to find out what kind of information residents want and how they want to receive it. The survey will be available online as well as in paper form later this month. January is Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month and she is working on informational social media posts related to that issue, and how it impacts Sanford firefighters. He said her targeted postings of the City’s job openings has resulted in a big increase in responses.

Councilor Education: Mr. Buck informed the Council about a Zoom webinar by the Maine Municipal Association coming up on January 26 for newly elected officials as well as experienced Councilors.

Mineral Task Force: The Mineral Task Force is reviewing the first draft of the proposed new Mineral Extraction ordinance. Its next meeting is January 10 and he expects the ordinance will be ready for recommendation in March as scheduled.

Sanford Mill: City officials met recently with representatives from the Northland Group, which owns the Sanford Mill, to address the company’s concerns around blight, homelessness and security. Mr. Buck said the Northland people were very pleased with the response from the Police Department, Fire Department, Economic Development, Planning and Administration. The company wanted to make sure its concerns could be met as it is getting ready to make “a significant multi-million dollar investment” in the lower level of the mill building.

Public Participation

  • Zendelle Bouchard, publisher of the Sanford Springvale News, asked the Council to consider recording its Subcommittee meetings and making them available to the public for greater transparency and accountability.
  • Chris Haywood said the sidewalks near the Lifeworks building need more shoveling.

Old Business

Covid-19 Vaccination and Testing Policy: Mr. Buck presented the proposed policy on vaccination/testing of City employees, required by the federal government under OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard. It is not yet known whether the policy will need to be implemented, as the mandate is being challenged at the US Supreme Court and other courts. But he asked the Council to approve the policy so that, if the challenges in the courts are not successful, the City will be in compliance by the deadline. In a nutshell, the policy will require all City employees to be fully vaccinated, or submit to weekly testing. Unvaccinated employees will also have to be masked while at work. Mr. Buck expressed concern that there won’t be enough testing capacity to make the mandate work, as tests are already in short supply.

Councilor Maura Herlihy asked if the City could implement a mask mandate at City Hall for all employees as well as the public during the current Omicron surge. Mayor Mastraccio responded that that is a separate discussion which could be addressed under a later agenda item. (See “Epidemic and Pandemic Policy” below, under New Business.)

Councilor Jonathan Martell pointed out that, according to the Maine Department of Labor’s website, if an employer requires a Covid test, then the employer must pay for the test as well as for the employee’s time to take it, but that is not addressed in the OSHA rules or the City’s policy. He recommended having the City’s attorneys look into it. Mayor Mastraccio responded that she didn’t want to pay for testing if the employee has made the choice not to get vaccinated.

The Council approved the policy by a vote of 5-1, with Councilor Martell in opposition.

New Business

Election of Deputy Mayor: Councilor Ayn Hanselmann nominated Councilor Herlihy as Deputy Mayor, Councilor Brink seconded the nomination, and the vote was unanimous.

Thriving in Place: Robin Bibber and Thea Murphy of the Trafton Center gave a brief presentation on the Thriving in Place program, which provides assistance to seniors to help them stay in their homes. They asked the Council to renew its support for their action plan, which they will submit with their application to join AARP/WHO’s network of Age-Friendly Communities. (Look for a future article on this.) The Council voted unanimously to send a letter of support.

Banking: The Council approved a one-year extension to the agreement between the City and Camden National Bank for banking services. Mr. Buck said the extension was recommended by City Treasurer Erin McMann as the City derives many benefits from the arrangement with Camden that it would lose if it went with a different bank.

Epidemic and Pandemic Policy Update: Mr. Buck told the Council an update to the City’s policy was needed due to changes in the guidance from the US CDC regarding isolation and quarantining of Covid-positive employees and those who are close contacts. He said the City is already managing cases well thanks to quick reporting by employees and the long hours put in by Human Resources Director Stacy Howes. The update to the policy reduces isolation and quarantine times and will enable employees to get back to work more quickly.

After lengthy discussion about the pros and cons of imposing a universal mask mandate for City Hall, and who should make that decision, the Council voted to approve the policy update as written and address that issue separately. Council members then agreed to have Mr. Buck craft a proposed amendment on a mask mandate with input from City employees. If needed, an emergency meeting can be called for the Council to vote on it, although some felt it may already be too late with regard to the Omicron surge.

Council Meeting Dates: The Council voted to continue meeting on the first and third Tuesdays of each month starting at 6:00 p.m., adjusting as necessary for holidays and other issues.

Subcommittee Assignments: The Council voted to approve the following Subcommittee assignments. Meetings are held via Zoom on Tuesdays, unless otherwise noted.

  • Municipal Operations & City Property Subcommittee (meets 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM) Reviews issues pertaining to municipal operations, disposition of City-owned property, procurement requests from City departments above a certain threshold, and contracts. Mayor Mastraccio (Chair), Deputy Mayor Herlihy, Councilor Brink
  • Public Safety Subcommittee (meets 11:00 AM) Addresses issues pertaining to public safety including policing, rules and regulations, road safety, fire safety and public health. Councilor Hanselmann (Chair), Councilor Brink, Councilor Martell
  • Zoning Subcommittee (meets 1:00 PM) Focuses on issues pertaining to zoning and applicable ordinances. Councilor Stackpole (Chair), Deputy Mayor Herlihy, Councilor Martell
  • Solid Waste Subcommittee (meets 2:00 PM, as needed) Councilor Stackpole (Chair), Mayor Mastraccio, Deputy Mayor Herlihy
  • Land Bank Authority (meets 8:45 AM – 10:00 AM on the 2nd Wednesday of the month) Focuses on addressing issues pertaining to blight and unsafe housing, and on the creation of safer, fairer, quality housing in the community. Mayor Mastraccio, Deputy Mayor Herlihy, Councilor Brink
  • Fire Station Feasibility Working Group (meets 11:00 AM on the 2nd Wednesday of the month) Mayor Mastraccio, Deputy Mayor Herlihy, Councilor Brink
  • Economic Development Subcommittee (meets as needed) Mayor Mastraccio, Deputy Mayor Herlihy, Councilor Hanselmann
  • Contract Negotiation Subcommittee (meets as needed) Mayor Mastraccio, Deputy Mayor Herlihy, Councilor Stackpole
  • Budget Committee (meets each Thursday in March at 6:00 PM and as needed) Councilor Stackpole, Deputy Mayor Herlihy, Councilor Brink
  • Dam Coalition (meets as needed) Mayor Mastraccio, Councilor Martell, City Manager Buck

Boards & Committees: The Council approved the following appointments to Boards and Committees, with term expirations as noted:

Airport Advisory Committee

  • David Caswell – Incumbent 12/31/2024
  • Linwood Dall – Incumbent 12/31/2024
  • Geoffrey Howe 12/31/2024

Board of Appeals

  • Mark Patterson – Incumbent 12/31/2024
  • James McCoy 12/31/2024

Fire Station Feasibility Working Group

  • Mark Patterson (temporary committee, no term set)

Land Bank Commission

  • Timothy Dumont – Incumbent 12/31/2026

Planning Board

  • Tom Morgan – Incumbent 12/31/2024

Recreation Advisory Board

  • Michael Perry – Incumbent 12/31/2022
  • Mo Killay 12/31/2022
  • Brenden Curley 12/31/2022

Sanford Housing Authority Board of Commissioners

  • Kimberly Jagger LaChance – Incumbent 12/31/2024
  • George Little, Jr. – Incumbent Tenant Representative 12/31/2024

Trails Development & Urban Forestry Committee

  • Katie Manende Hall – Incumbent 12/31/2022
  • Dollie Hutchins – Incumbent 12/31/2022
  • Hazen Carpenter – Incumbent 12/31/2022
  • David Parent – Incumbent 12/31/2022
  • Lawrence Furbish – Incumbent 12/31/2023
  • Thom Gagne – Incumbent 12/31/2023
  • Kevin McKeon – Incumbent 12/31/2023
  • Albert Alexandre – Incumbent 12/31/2023
  • Robert Mongue 12/31/2024
  • Jeff Wells 12/31/2024
  • Sam Parady 12/31/2024
  • Albert Pollard – Incumbent 12/31/2024

Compensation: The Council voted to approve compensation of $4,000 per year for each City Councilor, and $5,000 per year for the Mayor. Mayor Mastraccio noted that these amounts have not changed since Sanford transitioned from a town to a city.

Code of Conduct: The Council unanimously approved its Code of Conduct with no discussion.

Rules and Order of Business: The Council unanimously approved its Rules and Order of Business (commonly called the Rules of Procedure). The only addition to the existing document was to Section 41, adding this line: If a Council Member is unable to fulfill a committee assignment for a specific meeting, notification must be given to the Mayor in advance of the meeting.

Councilor Comments: Deputy Mayor Herlihy said she will be speaking to the Rotary Club on Thursday. Councilor Hanselmann expressed her appreciation to the Public Works Department for their handling of the first couple of winter storms. She also thanked Lorisa Ricketts, the City Manager’s Executive Assistant, for all the work she does handling communications for the Council. Mayor Mastraccio reminded Councilors of a facilitated workshop coming up on January 25 on self evaluation and assessment.

Future Agenda Items: Mayor Mastraccio requested Mr. Buck add a discussion on recording Subcommittee meetings to a future agenda.

You can view the full meeting video here.

For more details and backup material on any of the agenda items, you can view the agenda packet here.

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