HANSON — The Recreation Commission heard updates on more than two dozen issues and upcoming projects from Director Marybeth MacKay two weeks after she narrowly avoided being dismissed from her job over alleged performance concerns. The commission also heard a presentation from an ADT Security Services representative on improving alarm and camera coverage at Camp Kiwanee.
A 3-3 vote on June 26 — one member was unable to attend — taken during an open session, provided MacKay with the opportunity to meet in the days since with Town Administrator Michael McCue and commission members from both sides of the vote to discuss concerns aired at that meeting.
“I plan to continue to assist the Recreation Commission and staff in every appropriate way to ensure the continued and future success of Camp Kiwanee,” McCue said in a statement Tuesday morning.
MacKay had reportedly requested the open session in order to defend herself publicly against any statements that might be made about her. A second vote to re-evaluate MacKay’s performance in September also failed by the same tie vote, according to a Facebook post about the meeting.
Minutes of the meeting have not yet been posted on the town website. There was no mention of that meeting’s business at the July 10 session in which MacKay was asked for progress reports on — among other items — caretaker job descriptions, computer software updates, employee packet and key dispersal updates as well as reports on the status of the Gatehouse and alarm procedures. She also presented information on upcoming wildlife programs for children that were approved by the commission.
ADT Territory Manager Suzy McPherson, whose job includes sales of systems to small businesses, gave a presentation on the alarm system upgrades the commission is seeking.
“I met with Marybeth and we had an extensive conversation,” McPherson said. “I understand you have an alarm and camera system here and that you want to have the ability to change the code.”
The commission is concerned with controlling access to Needles Lodge as well as exterior building security, an issue with both the key dispersal and alarm system protocols.
“I kind of think it’s a user issue and something easy, that you don’t need to spend money on,” McPherson said, noting that statement might seem counter to her job as a sales representative.
She said the problem is that anytime the alarm access code needs to be changed —as most businesses do anytime an employee leaves, voluntarily or by dismissal — the alarm company or Police Chief Michael Miksch must be contacted because they are the only ones with the master code.
The master code allows home or business owners to delete and add user codes, McPherson said, adding that even ADT doesn’t want to know the master code because of the liability. Instead, they walk clients through the process of accessing it or send a technician out if a home or business owner forgets it.
“I don’t understand how, because I deal with some municipalities, why don’t you want to know who’s coming and going,” she said of what is known as a pulse system. “If [an employee] wants to hang out with his buddies, if he comes in at 9 p.m. and puts in his code, there can be a record established.”
She said the universal use of one code presents a big liability for the town, but did not “want to throw a price at you if you don’t need it.”
Former Selectman Bill Scott, who attended the meeting, said he is also concerned about the police chief being the one in possession of the master code.
“Personally, I don’t want anyone’s code and I don’t know why our police chief has it,” said Scott, who is also a retired police chief. “He should not have it. Their job is to be objective and respond to any criminal violations.”
While stressing he was not criticizing Miksch in particular, Scott maintained that, “He should have no right to change any alarm in this building. Why that was done in the past, I don’t know.”
Miksch said Tuesday night he does not have, nor would he want, the master code to the alarm system. He said he has the codes for surveillance cameras, but doesn’t want that information, either.
If the commission decided to switch to ADT, McPherson said they would switch out the keypad, the cell communicator in case phone lines go down and the panel.
The process for issuing keys at Camp Kiwanee is also being changed, but there are more bugs to be worked out.
Keys have been issued with engraved IDs in sets numbered 1 to 10 for each of the staff members and letters on the reverse to identify what they are used for at the Camp, MacKay said.
“I’ve got a list of what key everybody has,” she said. “So, if people find a set of keys sitting out in the campground, I can say, ‘Number 7 are Bill’s keys and are there any missing? He signed out for seven keys and here they all are.’”
Chairman Annmarie Bouzan asked how copies are controlled. The new job description covers that issue under the heading “unauthorized use,” which are grounds for dismissal.