Granite Chips



Rotary Club of Barre, Vermont

February 29, 2012

Most of the excitement happened prior to this week’s meeting.

Michael Knight checked in with acting Sergeant-at-Arms, Roy Somaini .  He said that President would not be attending today and that, he, Michael Knight, would be acting president.  As Acting President he went to the head table and stood on the presidential X, marking his place as our leader for the day, while pleasantly visiting with Secretary Susan.

Enters, program director, Joseph Preddy.  Joe also told Roy that President Karen was absent and that he, Joe Preddy would be acting president.  Michael, already occupying the Presidential space in the room, entered into a energetic , but friendly, debate with Joe.  Possession being nine tenths of the law, Michael prevailed and opened the meeting.

Fines?  Happy Dollars? 

The meeting began and ended with no fines and no happy dollars.

Secretary’s Report

Amber introduced incoming member Todd Murphy

Todd introduced Marsha Hoffman, our AG, a Northfield Rotarian

Michael introduced Louisa Tripp, a Northfield Rotarian

Susan announced birthdays for George Milne and Michael Knight and anniversaries Anita Bourgeois (3), Jim Catone (2), and Elizabeth Laperle (15)



Louisa is the Group Study Exchange coordinator and she announced that Central Vermont is hosting a team from South Africa from May29 to June 2 and she is looking for host homes.

She asked if the team could be Barre’s program on Ma 31st.  Joe?

We have a GSE team going to France in April 2013 and Rotarians are invited to apply for the team leader position, and there are openings for team members.

Marsha invited Barre Rotarians to attend the Leadership Institute at Dartmouth at the end of March.  Barre has money in the budget to send 4 members. 

She encouraged members to attend the District Assembly in April and she rolled out an invitation and information about Marilyn Bedell’s Conference in Lincoln, New Hampshire in May.   Members can find more information and registration apps on the website for District 7850.


Steve Mackenzie, Barre city Manager, presented the municipal city budget that will be on the ballot at Town Meeting next week.

The budget is a 6.68% increase but is mitigated by the school budget, resulting in a 3.83% increase for the taxpayer’s consideration.

Steve feels it is a good budget, necessary to meet the needs of the city, which he believes runs on the lien side in all departments, with some areas definitely understaffed.  He pointed out the line item for an assistant City Manager, outlining the need for same.  The city is in a position to improve in many areas, with a lot of initiatives on the horizon, including the Big Dig, City Place, Granite Museum, Cemetery project, Merchants Row reconstruction, and the bike path.

He said that there has been a need for an assistant city manager for 6-8 years and an attempt was made with the part-time position held by Pat McDonald.  Having worked as City Manager for nearly two years, he sees the need to assure the city’s business is addressed properly. He says that he is working 60-80 hours a week, and even with that, it is difficult to give each item on his plate the time and attention each deserves.  H e said he is jumping from one lily pad to another on the pond, and so far he doesn’t think he has missed a lily pad, but is concerned that it will happen.

He mentioned that Curly’s wife is overloaded.  Who’s wife?  A strange wonderment hung over the
Rotarians, as most of them tried to figure out who Curly is.  I’m not saying.

The cemetery will no longer be operated as an enterprise fund and is now part of the general fund.

In October 2010, the city was surprised by a 15% increase in the health insurance plan’s premiums, representing a $150,000 increase.  Vowing that it would not happen again, he and Elizabeth worked throughout the next year, meeting with the parties involved and this year there was actually a 10% decrease with Cigna.

The meeting ran late and Michael asked Roy to pull the winning ticket.  Roy proceeded by pulling his own ticket.  Joe reached in the bag on Roy’s behalf and pulled out a blue marble.

Meeting Adjourned