Town of Farmington
Board of Selectmen/ Trustees of the Trust Funds Meeting
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Selectmen Present: Chairman Gerald McCarthy, Vice Chairman Martin Gilman, Joel Chagnon and Paula Proulx. Selectman Joan a. Funk was excused from the meeting.
Trustees Present: John Wingate, Patience Taylor
Also Present and seated at the Selectmen’s table: Terry Knowles, Assistant Director of the Charitable Trusts Unit of the Attorney Generals Office, Town Attorney Laura Spector and Selectmen’s Secretary Megan Taylor-Fetter taking minutes.
Public Present: John Nolan of the Rochester Times, Citizens Norman and Margaret Russell, Community Television Coordinator Edward Mullen
At 3:30 in the afternoon, Chairman McCarthy called the meeting to order and asked everyone to join him in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Terry Knowles began by stating that the purpose of this meeting was to look at the possible misspending of Trust Funds and to collect information on the same. She distributed copies of the Handbook of Cemetery and Library Trustees. Ms. Knowles gave a brief history of the Leon Hayes Fund.
Ms. Knowles asked when a cascade stock was sold by the trustees, in 1980, under what authority and was there a court order? John Wingate responded that he has not seen authorization. Ms. Knowles stated that the sale of stocks is prohibited in the will and that the town will have to go to probate court to petition for a deviation to change the trust or a ‘cy paes’ which means that it is now impractical. At the time of the sale, the Town Trustees of the Trust Fund were overseeing the funds. In 1973, the court granted the trustees to oversee the funds.
Trusteee Cathy Tsiros arrived to the meeting at 3:40 Pm.
Ms. Knowles reported that she reviewed the Trustees Reports from 1996 to the present. Ms. Knowles reported that the first withdrawal from the principle was in 2005; $9,600 for the 500 Boys and Girls Club. In 2006 there was a withdrawal of $20,000 for the Town Hall Restoration from the principal. This is a permantly-restricted fund and only the income is to be spent. Ms. Knowles quoted from the 1-16-06 Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes in which Cathy Tsiros states that the Trustees authorized the withdrawal of $20,000 from the Leon Hayes Trust Fund interest and that the principal will be untouched. Cathy Tsiros spoke up to say that it was not the intention of the Trustees to misuse the funds. It was a mistake. Cathy Tsiros stated that they consulted legal on the matter at the time and were not aware they were tapping
into the principal.. Ms. Knowles explained that the Attorney General Office should have been consulted and that there is regular training available for trustees.
Ms. Knowles explained that the money taken from the principal, $29,600 in total, has to be replaced.
Ms. Knowles stated that a citizen filed a complaint with her stating a conflict of interest. At the time of the withdrawal for the 500 Boys and Girls Club, Joel Chagnon was a Trustee as well as the president of the 500 Club. The minutes of the trustees meeting reflect that Joel Chagnon voted to withdrawl the funds but then it was penciled in that Joel abstained from the vote. Joel Chagnon spoke up to say that he was not at the meeting in question for the vote, he removed himself; the minutes are incorrect. Cathy Tsiros stated that Joel is correct. Ms. Knowles stated that these minutes have to be properly amended by a vote of the current trustees in a public meeting.
Ms. Knowles asked for an explanation of what the Library Association is. Gerry McCarthy explained that it is not a Town owned Library. Ms. Knowles explained that the Library Trustees need to contact her in regards to their association and Gerry McCarthy stated that he would contact the Chairman of the Library Trustees and direct her to do so.
Ms. Knowles stated that the money taken from the principal needs to be replaced and so the Town has to come to a solution. She stated that she does not think the town should touch the Bond. Gerry McCarthy asked if the money could replenish itself and Ms. Knowles answered that it would take too long. Paula Proulx stated that the $20,000 taken for the Town Hall Restoration was still in the account and not used. Ms. Knowles stated that that money should be transferred back which leaves $9,600 left which could be paid back within 2-3 years. Marty Gilman stated that he has a problem with taking the money out of the Town Hall Restoration Funds because the restoration can not proceed. Paula Proulx stated that there is a $20,000 contingency built in. Ms. Knowles stated that mistakes have been made and that the Town should
take 30-60 days to come up with a resolution. There is no evidence of malfeasance; it is merely a mistake. She asked if the Town has an investment policy and John Wingate answered yes.
At 4:15Pm, Marty Gilman motioned to adjourn the meeting seconded by Joel Chagnon. All in favor.
Chairman Gerry McCarthy Vice Chairman Marty Gilman
Paula Proulx Joan A. Funk
Joel R. Chagnon