Monthly Archives: June 2015

Visual budget

To understand Medfield’s town budget, would it help to have the budget presented in a graphic format such as Mansfield does ( or Arlington (

The software to do this is open source software, so we can do this with no cost if our employee IT staff implement it.  When I spoke with the creators, the people at the Massachusetts Municipal association’s annual meeting in January, they told me that we could also pay them to install it.

Christian Donner has created a demo site for Medfield (, but the actual numbers appear to  not be our actual budget figures – still it gives one a sense and taste of what is possible.

I find it useful, but I would want to be able to drill down even further into the budget number details.

BoS discretionary funds violates TM control

Town Accountant Joy Ricciuto today queried the DOR legal department about the Warrant Committee’s suggestion that the selectmen have discretionary authority over $25,000 to $50,000 of spending a year, and learned that it is an impermissible delegation of the  authority vested with the town meeting.  Below is Joy’s email and the DOR response.

I sent an email to the Mass DOR Legal Department and received a telephone response.
Don Gorton is the lawyer who responded, and below is a summary of his answer,
The creation of a Discretionary Spending Fund looks problematic, the appropriation has to have parameters, or is an improper appropriation.  This is too broad, and rules against abdicating the role of town meeting.  Appropriating is the role of town meeting, cannot circumscribe the authority of town meeting to appropriate.  This exceeds the bounds of permissible delegation.
Don Gorton said he was happy to talk to anyone if they have further questions.  He can be reached at 617-626-2400, the Bureau of Municipal Finance Law.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Joy Ricciuto
Date: Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 1:24 PM
Subject: Discretionary fund for Selectmen-please advise

The Town of Medfield Warrant Committee (Finance Committee) and the Board of Selectmen are discussing the creation of a ‘Discretionary Spending Fund’ set up for the Selectmen in the range of $25,000 to $50,000 appropriated for the Selectmen to decide how it would be spent. The intent is to place such value judgments within the purview of an elected body
Please advise as to the permissibility and  legal appropriateness of establishing this type of fund.
Respectfully yours,.
Joy A. Ricciuto, CGA
Town Accountant

Better budgeting next year

At the last Selectmen meeting, the Warrant Committee came to discuss improving on the town’s budget process.  I suggested we record “action items” related to the budget discussions we held, so things discussed would get accomplished, and Richard DeSorgher turned my idea around on me by asking me to write up the action items. Hence, below are my suggested action items from our discussion. Responsible parties to complete tasks were not always assigned in the discussion, and in my draft I have merely suggested a responsible party.

This is a good start to bringing greater discipline and transparency to the town’s budget process, which is needed.  Ultimately, I would like to see the budgets and as much of the budgeting process as possible be on-line, so residents can have easy access the data, information, and financial decisions by which their town is run.  I suggest that we put the details of the budgets and town checkbook on-line, just as the state now does, so residents can have that easy access to the information.

Future new initiatives, such as the Straw Hat Park, should not be required to overcome a “steep learning curve” about the town budgets to accomplish its task.  To flatten that learning curve, I propose that the town administrator publish a guide for them to use on how the town’s budget process operates.

6/16/15 Financial Planning Meeting

Board of Selectmen
Warrant Committee

  1. New town initiatives
    1. budgets need to be discussed at time new initiatives are recommended
    2. discretionary budget of $25,000 – $50,000 for the Board of Selectmen
      1. RESPONSIBILITY = town administrator
        1. to create discretionary budget;
        2. to make sure the Board of Selectmen and Warrant Committee confer and agree on budgets for new initiatives; and
        3. create a guide to the budgeting process for future new initiatives to follow
  2. Capital budget
    1. require five year projections
    2. creation of a 20 year capital improvement budget
      1. RESPONSIBILITY = town administrator
  3. Operating budget
    1. Uniform format for proposed budgets – (not discussed or resolved)
      1. RESPONSIBILITY = town administrator
    2. Budget calendar – create and share a template to reuse year by year going forward
      1. RESPONSIBILITY = town administrator
    3. early meetings of Warrant Committee and the Board of Selectmen with department to establish budget parameters
      1. RESPONSIBILITY = Warrant Committee and town administrator
  4. September meeting to discuss budgeting issues and planning for the future
    1. RESPONSIBILITY = town administrator

BoS minutes 6/16

Meeting Minutes
June 16, 2015
Chenery Meeting Room draft

PRESENT: Selectmen DeSorgher, Fisher, Peterson; Town administrator Sullivan; Assistant
Town Administrator Trierweiler; Administrative Assistant Clarke
Chairman DeSorgher called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM and read announcements: this
meeting is being recorded. We want to take a moment of appreciation for our brave
servicemen and women serving around the world and especially those in trouble spots in the
Middle East. He reminded the listening audience that Medfield’s water ban remains in effect.
Chairman DeSorgher wished the high school boys lacrosse team and the high school girls’
lacrosse team good luck as they head into the finals. Unfortunately the high school boys’
baseball team lost the championship to Middleboro.

Chief Meaney remarked that he is present this evening to request the Selectmen vote to
appoint three candidates as full time officers; Joseph Brienze, Ryan Maxfield and Colby Roy.
They each scored high on the civil service exam. Background checks were done by John Geary
and Lars Anderson; coming up are their physicals, physical agility test and six months at the
academy. Adding these three officers will bring the department half way to where we want to
be. Chief Meaney provided some background information on the candidates; Joe graduated
from Medfield High School in 2007, a graduate of UMass Dartmouth, he is the freshman
football coach, Medfield Fire Department volunteer and has his own landscaping business.
Ryan is a Norfolk County AGI graduate, associate business degree from MASS Bay, is a mechanic
at Hanscom airfield and works security at Patriot Place. Colby has knowledge of Spanish,
played rugby in college (Roger Williams), works at the Bass Pro shop and Bar Louie’s, good
experience handling the public. He also has a good recommendation from Police Officer Steve
Grover who by the way is retiring very soon.

VOTE: On a motion made by Selectman Fisher to follow Police Chief Meaney’s
recommendation to appoint Joseph Brienze, Ryan Maxfield and Colby Roy as fulltime
police officers, seconded by Selectman Peterson and the vote was unanimous.
Selectman DeSorgher remarked that being a police officer is an important role and you will
have our full support. Our chief and Officers set a good example. Congratulations.

Mr. Sullivan said that Michael Clancy has retired after 15 years of service to the Town. A committee
comprised of Millis Town Administrator Charles Aspinwall, Medway’s Michael Boynton and myself
interviewed five candidates and we unanimously agreed to recommend the Selectman appoint James
Allshouse, Sealer effective July 1, 2015. We know he will do the job professionally and efficiently.

June 16, 2015
Page two

VOTE: On a motion made by Selectman Fisher to appoint W. James Allshouse as Sealer
of Weights and Measures effective July 1, 2015, seconded by Selectman Peterson it was
voted unanimously.

Discussion continued about an antique cabinet that Medfield has and is now in the basement at
the Pfaff Center. It contained some scales and measuring information that perhaps Mr.
Allshouse may want to see. He responded that Medway also has an antique cabinet that he
looked at. The cabinet has the original weights.
Selectman DeSorgher was pleased to learn that the Sealer will serve the three towns and
perhaps other neighboring towns may need at some point to share the service. He said that
through the regional committee that includes the towns of Norfolk, Westwood, Sherborn and
Walpole. Sharing the position of Sealer is a way for us to save money and share equipment.
Jim Allshouse is willing to work with any of the towns where he is needed. The sealer’s
responsibilities include inspecting/testing all weights and measures, ie gas pumps, cash
registers, scales at food stores, oil delivery trucks, pharmacy scales. It is an important position
to help protect the consumer.

Member Gil Rodgers remarked that the Hunt Club requests permission to use the hospital
grounds for their equestrian activities beginning in September through November. They have
been conducting hunts in Medfield for over 100 years and the proposed routes on the hospital
grounds are the same that were used in past years.
A member of the audience Pat O’Rourke, Bridge Street queried if the dates of the hunts will be
specifically listed as he and many others walk their dogs around the site. Mr. Rodgers
responded that postings will be on the Norfolk Hunt website.

VOTE: On a motion made and seconded it was voted unanimously to grant permission
to the Norfolk Hunt Club to use the state hospital grounds for equestrian activities during
the fall season

Thomas Marie, Martha Festa, Gregory Sullivan, Barbara Gips, Sharon Tatro)
Mr. Marcucci opened the conversation saying that he proposes in the future that the selectmen
and the Warrant Committee need to look at projects to mutually agree what the budgets could
take on which he feels would help to improve the budget process. A case in point is the Straw
Hat Park. He said that the Selectmen agreed with the project then when the volunteers came
before the committee we opposed; volunteers very upset as a good amount of their time and
efforts were devoted to the project.

June 16, 2015
Page three

Mr. Marcucci pointed out that not all warrant committee members are in favor of a proposal
that the Selectmen establish a discretionary fund with an amount of 25-50,000; discretionary
meaning the Selectmen would decide how to spend the funds. Mr. Sullivan remarked that
there is a line item in the Selectmen’s budget for committee expense; however, that amount is
under $5,000. Any funds to be spent even designated as discretionary still must have Town
Meeting vote.

Emphasis shifted to Town departments. For ideas they may want to pursue it would be more
advantageous if the department arranged to meet with the Selectmen before the annual
budget hearing perhaps in September; in this way departments would have more guidance as
to budget amounts for their projects.

It was suggested that the Capital Budget Committee plan to meet earlier than they have in the
past several years and develop a five year capital improvement plan. Also develop a list of
priority projects. Another idea discussed is a town-wide 20 year capital improvement plan
including the school department.

The Warrant Committee is concerned with the amount of funds being spent at the state
hospital. If this continues it could have serious impact on other Town departments’ budgets.
Warrant Committee hopes that sooner rather than later a preferred case of what to do with the
property will be established.

The Selectmen and the Warrant Committee agree that they key to establishing a good budget
process is communication.


VOTED unanimously to approve the June 2, 2015 minutes and accept the minutes of
October 21, 28; November 4, 18, 25; December 2 and 16, 2014 as amended

VOTE: On a motion made by Selectmen Fisher, seconded by Selectman Peterson it was
Voted unanimously to award the bid for Bituminous Type 1-1 to Riley Brothers; Crack
Seal to Crack-Sealing Inc.; Stone Seal to All States Asphalt Inc. and as recommended
by superintendent Feeney
Planning Board member Elissa Franco submitted her letter of resignation effective July 30,
2015. She has been an elected member since 2000. Mr. DeSorgher remarked that Elissa has

June 16, 2015
Page four

been an important voice for the Town; she has always stepped forward and her help has been
tremendous. We wish her and her family the very best in the future.

VOTE: On a motion made and seconded it was voted unanimously to accept the
resignation of Planning Board member Elissa Gordet Franco with deepest regret


Ms. Trierweiler explained that bids were opened on June 15, 2015 for landscaping services and
snowplowing work at the hospital site. Shady Tree Landscaping, Inc., Medfield submitted the
lowest bid, amount being $55,150.00. A proposed agreement has been drawn and will be
reviewed by Town Counsel. At this time she requests the Selectmen vote to authorize
chairman DeSorgher sign the final copy of the agreement after Town Counsel review and it was
so voted.


Voted unanimously to grant Zullo Gallery Center For The Arts one-day wine and malt
beverage permit for Thursday July 9, 16, 23, 30; August 6, 13, 20, 27; additionally the
dates of First Thursday September 3; October 1; November 5; December 3, 2015 5-11:30 PM

Mr. Fisher reported that First Thursday at the Zullo Gallery was really good; so nice to relax and
enjoy their roof top deck. 2015 graduation was a great event fantastic weather and all went
well. Last Thursday the state hospital visioning session had a great turnout. It was very
encouraging to see new people attend the excellent program. Last but not least the annual
Medfield History Day was a good success and as usual Richard did a great job.

Mr. Peterson was very enthused by the turnout at the state hospital visioning session, good
ideas, and good energy.

Mr. DeSorgher was pleased to report that through the efforts of Representative Dooley the
MBTA has agreed to waive the fee of $3,000.00 to remove the Farm Street and Harding Street
railroad tracks. MBTA will also issue a license to the Town. A completed application is to be
submitted on line to MBTA, Patricia Barrett. Other good news coming from the offices of
Senator Timilty and Representative Dooley is that the sale of the CSX Worcester to Providence
line did go through and the state Department of Transportation is now the owner. The amount
is $23M. The sale included dissolving the Kraft agreement; a two year moratorium was placed
on the commuter rail line. Mr. DeSorgher was informed that now that the state owns the line,
a top priority is the repair of the Route 109 tracks. Our representatives will aggressively oppose
the rain line from Framingham through Medfield to Foxboro.
June 16, 2015
Page five
Mr. DeSorgher received a resident’s call asking what can be done to stop landscapers from
blowing debris onto the roads. Mr. Sullivan remarked that this is a town bylaw prohibiting
grass and in the winter snow to be deposited on any street in Medfield.
Mr. DeSorgher advised to send letter of interest to neighboring towns regarding the
perambulation of town bounds. He met with the owner of Royal Pizza to converse about the
alcove near his business; Mr. Tragellis would like to expand to the outside construction a door
from the store to outside or put up a glass enclosure.
Selectmen DeSorgher learned that the parking area behind the shops, i.e. pizza, bank, real
estate office is slated to be repaved. The Selectmen would like to receive the list of streets
where the highway will be working. Assistant Park and Recreation Director Kayode Lewis has
resigned effective Friday June 26, 2015; he has been a great asset to the department and we
wish him well. Mr. DeSorgher announced that Elizabeth Mann is retiring after 50 years as a
crossing guard. Her last day is Tuesday June 23; stop by her post on North Street and wish her
well. Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti answered our request for his department’s
assistance to clean up the roadside litter throughout Medfield.
Selectman DeSorgher announced that Medfield has been designated a Tree City for the 2″d
year. Ms. Trierweiler attended the awards ceremony.

The Selectmen signed the June 16, 2015 vendor warrant.

As there was no further business to come before the Selectman, the meeting adjourned
at 9:10 PM

Tornado watch

MEMA issued a tornado watch this afternoon, until 11 PM this evening, per email below from Mike Sullivan:

Received notice from MEMA of a tornado warning for most of Massachusetts, including Norfolk County until 11:00 p.m. this evening. Please note that this is a tornado watch and not a tornado warning, which means that it is a low risk event, with a low probability of tornado formation. However, people should be prepare for the possibility of a tornado forming, and be prepared to seek appropriate shelter if necessary. Mike Sullivan

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: MEMA State Control (CDA)
Date: Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 4:04 PM
Subject: Situational Awareness Statement #3: Tornado Watch Issued for All of Massachusetts

 DATE:          June 23, 2015

TIME:           4:00 PM

SUBJECT:      Situational Awareness Statement: Tornado Watch Issued


National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for all of Massachusetts until 11:00 p.m. this evening.  A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of tornados.

Streets getting done this summer

From the Superintendent, at my request, the list of streets the DPW will work on this summer, beginning in mid-July:


Office of


To: Board of Selectmen
Attached is the listing of the 2015 stone seal roads .

Bridge Street
Cross Street
Elm Street
Elm Street School to line
Noonhill Road
Plain Street
School Street
Frairy Street
Vinald Road
Cottage Street
Mitchell Street
Mitchell Place
Adams Street
Copperwood Road
Clayton Street
Bishop Lane

Elisabeth Mann

Mrs. Mann retires tomorrow after serving the town for 54 years as a crossing guard.  Be sure to give her a toot of the horn and a thank you on her last day!

Town employee longevity of service seems to be one of Medfield’s fortunate hallmarks.

Rail line bought by MassDOT

June 19, 2015

MassDOT Completes Framingham Secondary Rail Line Acquisition

MassDOT announced acquisition is complete of the Framingham Secondary Rail Line, a 21-mile segment of rail that connects Framingham and Mansfield. The line was purchased from CSX Corporation for $23 million.

Purchase of the Framingham Secondary is a strategic investment that links the Framingham/Worcester, Needham, Franklin, and the Attleboro/Northeast Corridor commuter rail lines together. The Framingham Secondary Line is also a major rail corridor for the shipment of freight between several key points in eastern Massachusetts, including Readville, Milford, Franklin, Fall River, and New Bedford, as well as Worcester. The line is also used for passenger service to and from Patriots home games at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. For the purposes of planning for long-term infrastructure needs, purchase of the line provides added rail capacity that allows for passenger service to travel on alternative routes in cases where capital projects may disrupt normal service.

“After careful consideration of the agreement to purchase the Framingham Secondary Rail Line from CSX, MassDOT concluded that acquiring this rail asset supports our goals of increasing use of freight rail, which takes trucks off our highways and reduces greenhouse gases by consolidating the movement of freight,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Additionally, purchase of the line establishes the interconnectivity of four of our major commuter rail lines, which allows us to plan for future rail upgrades in a way that will minimize disruptions by creating options for trains to continue providing passenger service by bypassing sections of rail on any of the four lines that would be under construction.”

Purchase of the line will also guarantee that game-day passenger service to Gillette Stadium for Patriots games will continue. The rail line’s current condition is only slightly above standards required for passenger service. MassDOT’s ownership of the line, coupled with infrastructure upgrades, will allow for the continuation of the successful game-day service. During the 2014-2015 season, 17,128 riders took the train to Foxborough; 6,015 more riders came from Providence, through Mansfield along the southerly end of the Framingham Secondary.

“Beyond the short-term value of supporting the shipment of freight, in the long term, the line has the potential to support future economic development,” said MassDOT Rail and Transit Administrator Astrid Glynn. “The communities to the southwest of Boston are experiencing strong regional growth. Should that trend continue, we would look engage the surrounding communities in a conversation about the potential for a pilot program of additional passenger rail service.”

Prior to enhanced service, the line would require significant upgrades to track, signals, and switches, to accommodate regular passenger trains. With preliminary upgrades set to begin next spring, any pilot of service would not begin before calendar year 2017.

T21 saves lives

This is from my Brown University emails, and is timely for us in Medfield as our Board of Health is meeting this summer to consider raising the age to buy tobacco in Medfield to age 21.  Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP) ( and the Board of Selectmen have both endorsed T21 in town, and asked the Board of Health to take action.

Case study: Needham, Mass.

Teen smoking dropped after minimum sales age rose

Raising the legal purchasing age for cigarettes from 18 to 21 allowed a Massachusetts town to cut its teen smoking rate in half, accelerating the decline in smoking compared to surrounding communities.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A new study co-authored by Stephen Buka, professor and chair of epidemiology at Brown University, reports that the Massachusetts town of Needham successfully reduced teen smoking when it raised the minimum sales age for cigarettes to 21.

In 2005, Needham became the first town in the country to raise the age from 18. In research led by the Education Development Center in Waltham, Mass., and published June 12 in the journal Tobacco Control, the authors compared teen smoking rates in the town and 16 others nearby between 2006 and 2010. They found that the prevalence of teen smoking in Needham dropped from 13 percent to 7 percent, a significantly greater drop than in the surrounding area where smoking fell from 15 percent to 12 percent.

Since 2012 some other communities have followed suit. If every town made the change and achieved the same result, Buka said, the health benefits would be huge.

“Teen smoking rates were cut in half after this law was introduced in Needham,” he said. “Nationwide, that would result in 3 million fewer youth who would die early from a smoking related disease. These findings suggest one of the best possible strategies to reduce smoking related diseases, the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.”

A better way to remove ticks

From the Lyme Disease Study Committee chair –

Chris Cole Kaldy
June 19 at 7:13am
Here’s a different way to remove a tick which leaves no remnants in your skin. Take a look!
You HAVE to learn this tick removal trick before you go camping
It’s easier and safer than using tweezers or your fingers.