The Town Board discussed EMS pensions and a change in email providers among other issues at Tuesday afternoon’s work session.
Deputy Supervisor Christine Lewis opened the meeting by announcing that Supervisor Jim Dougherty was absent for the second week in a row due to illness, noting Mr. Dougherty was home recuperating from a cold. The supervisor, undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, had been hospitalized for at least a week at Eastern Long Island Hospital suffering from a respiratory infection. He was discharged and was home from the hospital on Monday.
Ms. Lewis said an independent town committee had provided a list of EMS workers who have qualified for the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP), and a resolution will be presented Friday at the Town Board meeting to begin the process of authorizing payments.
“Riding members” of the town ambulance squad — those who respond to calls in a timely manner — who are 65 or older, would receive $30 a month for each year they have served after 2011 and $20 a month for each year they served during the five years before 2011.
Ms. Lewis noted there was money budgeted for 2103 to meet the pension payouts. Before the meeting Ms. Lewis said there were about 16 EMS workers who have qualified.
If the resolution passes, the names of those qualifying will be posted at the EMS building for 30 days so people can review the list “and raise any concerns,” Town Attorney Laury Dowd said.
Councilman Peter Reich reported on a move to change the town’s email provider, calling for an authorizing resolution at Friday’s meeting. This prompted Councilman Ed Brown to question the decision, citing a lack of discussion preceding a resolution.
The town has shared email hosting with Shelter Island School, spending about $1,000 a year. But the school is changing providers to Google. “Google gives education a huge break. It will cost the school very little, but they don’t give a break to municipalities,” Mr. Reich said.
Along with Police Chief Jim Read and the town’s IT committee, Mr. Reich said the best bet would be for the town to employ Microsoft for email. The cost would be about $3,600 annually.
Town Attorney Laury Dowd asked if any other providers except Microsoft or Google were researched. Mr. Reich said the committee looked at other providers but Microsoft was price competitive, plus it had superior archiving capabilities. There were cheaper alternatives, but that would require hiring more IT staff and equipment and would be more costly in the long run, Mr. Reich said.
Mr. Brown said it might be best to wait another week rather than rush to vote on a resolution at Friday’s meeting. Mr. Reich said there was really no more research to be done, since the committee had looked into it and recommended Microsoft.
“Usually you don’t came to a meeting and say, ‘OK, make up your mind today,’” Mr. Brown said.
“We didn’t want to blindside you on Friday and you’d say, “Hey what’s this resolution for email change?’” Mr. Reich said.
“Or maybe you didn’t want it voted down,” Mr. Browns said, which produced laughter from the members.
In the end, Mr. Brown said he had no objections to voting on a resolution Friday.
In other business, Ms. Lewis said the board had received an email from a parent with a concern that the FIT Center should be removed from the high school because of a safety issue.
Ms. Lewis noted the school was looking into changing safety procedures in light of the Newtown, Connecticut mass shooting.
The center is attached to the school, she noted, but there’s no access into the school because a door is locked. There is always someone in attendance who can open the door in an emergency. Ms. Lewis said the issue was not something that could be taken up by the town.
There was good news to report, Ms. Lewis said, announcing that long time EMS worker Ben Jones had been awarded the James O. Page Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented to him at a national EMS exposition in Washington on March 9.
“The award is not given every year,” Ms. Lewis said, “and is only given to people who have performed EMS services over long periods of time and in an extraordinary way. The award is named for Jim Page, who is one of the founders of emergency services.”
Ms. Lewis said all Island residents should congratulate Mr. Jones.
“This is a cool thing,” Mr. Brown said.