By Dustin Luca
---- — The Board of Selectmen and Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski have settled on the town manager’s future goals — but they aren’t the types of goals the town has pursued during the past few years.
Recent annual goals laid out for Stapczynski have come batches of four or five at a time. Over the last few years, completing the goals was tied to the size of Stapczynski’s performance raise.
This year’s iteration of goals includes 10 tasks for Stapczynski. The goals, which includes 24 “deliverables” between them all, aren’t “as structured as it has been in the past,” said Selectmen Chairman Paul Salafia.
“In the last two years that I’ve been on the board, it was a math problem,” Salafia said. “We assigned a number to each one of the goals, and we added up each of the totals.”
This year, “it becomes more subjective,” he said. “We weren’t taking into consideration his management style and ability to lead people. When it’s a math problem, you don’t take into consideration those variables, and this year, we’ll be able to do that.”
To a certain extent though, the goals aren’t really “Stapczynski’s goals” as much as they have been in the past, according to Salafia.
“We listed the goals we thought were for the town,” he said.
Stapczynski said his role in town “is to produce a well-reasoned and well thought out (capital improvement plan) for the community, budgets for the community, those kinds of things.”
The goals “are laid on top of that,” he said. “These are multi-year, huge projects for us, and many of them need to be started now.”
The 10 goals tackle a variety of town objectives over the coming years. They include addressing the town’s unfunded post-employment benefits liability — meaning money that will be due retirees that the town currently does not have in hand — that reaches into the hundreds of millions of dollars, finalizing labor contracts by specific dates and consolidating the town’s Public Works and Plant and Facilities departments.
Two additional smaller goals, require him to provide routine updates on his progress both in the goals and in two construction projects in town.
Here are the goals and specifics on what must be delivered:
GOAL 1: Development of an OPEB Funding Plan to reduce long-term liabilities
Deliverables: Establish set of policies with input from staff; educate Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Finance Committee; include an annual contribution to fund from operating budget; research appropriate investment vehicle for fund by June 30.
What it means: This goal addresses the as-yet unfunded liabilities brought to the town by other post employment benefits, including costs like health care for retired town employees. The liability has been said to be as high as $300 million based on the current number of employees and how much they’re expected to cost the town in the end. Town boards and committees have been discussing the topic for some time, and one popular plan is to contribute to a fund annually to reduce the town’s liability while addressing it with future retirees to reduce future costs.
GOAL 2: Create a plan to solve the renovation or relocation of Town Yard
Deliverables: Settle on possible zoning plan for existing site by April 2013; issue a request for land buying proposals by Dec. 2012; put a land acquisition article to relocate the site or develop a plan to rebuild at its current home by fall of 2013.
What it means: In the town’s ongoing quest to rebuild or replace its Town Yard facility on Lewis Street, Stapczynski must have a plan in place by this fall to either buy land for relocating the facility or rebuild it at its current home. Along the way, a request for proposal must be put to the street (which has taken place) and zoning must be brought to Town Meeting in April, which is currently in the works.
GOAL 3: implement a consolidation plan for the town’s DPW and P&F departments
Deliverables: Assemble budget to reflect consolidation for fiscal year 2014, which starts in July; have the departments consolidated by July 2013; recruit and select a municipal facilities director by May or June, 2013.
What it means: In recent years, the town has explored combining its Plant and Facilities department with the Department of Public Works. This goal puts that consolidation on a timetable, with the completion covered in next year’s budget and in effect starting in July.
GOAL 4: Develop an “In Lieu of Taxes” pilot program encouraging non-tax paying entities to provide services or donations to the town.
Deliverables: Sample similar pilot programs in other towns by April 2013.
What it means: With this, the town would reach out to non-profit entities in town that aren’t taxed, such as private schools and churches, and establish a relationship where they provide services to the town “in lieu of taxes.” “This may just serve to formalize the relationship and define the way they give back to the community,” Stapczynski said.
GOAL 5: Create a town and school agreement for efficient and effective use of buildings and facilities
Deliverables: Develop a memorandum of understanding to be used between town, school facility users and stakeholders by April 2013, and use one school building during February and April school vacation weeks.
What it means: Throughout the planning of the Cormier Youth Center, residents have asked how the building would be used by the community — not just the youth. Out of that discussion came the idea of using all town facilities, including schools, for other purposes. “Could a gym be open for the basketball camp, or a soccer camp or something like that?” Stapczynski said. The steps in this goal would begin that process.
GOAL 6: Create a Ballardvale Fire Station relocation plan that can be presented to a future Town Meeting
Deliverable: Determine Selectmen priorities for the project in relation to other town and school building projects by May 2013.
What it means: Stapczynski has to relocate the Ballardvale Fire Station, and the first step in that process is learning how important the project is compared to other large town construction projects, such as the Town Yard.
GOAL 7: Expand the current department head performance evaluation system to other town employees, and test it on one department before expanding it to all departments.
Deliverable: Choose one department to complete a pilot program for evaluation.
What it means: In recent years, Stapczynski has designed and set in motion a new review process for his department heads. The Board of Selectmen want him to bring that process to the employees below the department heads.
GOAL 8: Develop a plan that funds the operating and capital expenses of putting ambulance service in the new station
Deliverable: Determine selectmen priorities for relocating the station in relation to other town and school building projects by May, 2013 (as seen in goal 6).
What it means: Currently, the Ballardvale Fire Station doesn’t have ambulance service. If and when a new one is built, ambulance service could be added to it. This goal determines what costs would be associated with that, and how the town would cover those costs.
GOAL 9: Finalize labor contracts with specific selectman guidelines
Deliverables: Five deliverables exist, correlating to five town labor unions: Andover Fire Fighters Union, Andover Police Superior Officers Union, Andover Police Patrolmen Union, dispatchers, and department heads. In each case, the measurable is to finalize the contract by June, 2013.
What it means: A large portion of town employees, whether they work at the town’s schools, municipal buildings or elsewhere in Andover, are members of larger unions. The five unions in this goal are unions that Stapczynski negotiates contracts with, and the goal seeks to ensure the contracts are settled by the end of the current fiscal year.
GOAL 10: Finalize recommendations for outsourcing and other opportunities to create efficiencies in the town’s work
Deliverables: Finalize recommendations for each of three outsourcing opportunities by April 2013: payroll, imaging as a service, and janitorial. Recommend further departmental consolidations and efficiencies by Aug. 2013.
What it means: For the last two years, Stapczynski has identified town departments with operations that can be outsourced to the private sector, saving the town money. In previous years, he has identified the three services mentioned in this goal, and he must make the recommendations final by April. Then, by August, he must identify other places where town operations can be outsourced for savings.
GOAL 11: Provide monthly construction updates on the Bancroft Elementary School and Cormier Youth Center construction projects.
GOAL 12: Update the Board of Selectmen on Stapczynski’s progress on the goals every other month or as needed.