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Minutes of Commission on Aging, 05/01/2013

AGENDA: Commission on Aging

RECEIVED 05/07/2013 10:20am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk


Commission members:  Rosalind Kopfstein, Chairman; Alice Pardee, Hilda Rhodes, Henry Polio, Louann Lang, Sam Crocker, Janet Metzger, Beth Wagner, Jean Whitham, Lea Mintz

Others present:  Gail Schiron, Marie Sibilio, Ruth Moran, Director of Finance Steve Gniadek, Eloise Barron (Ridgefield VNA), Bonnie Levy-Mello (Laurel Ridge), Sal Cianci, Nancy Atlass

Mrs. Kopstein called the May 1, 2013 meeting to order at 9:00 am in the Community Center.


Motion: move to approve the minutes of the April 3, 2013 meeting as submitted. Polio, Rhodes. Approved.  Unanimous.


Eloise Barron announced the planned program for Tuesday, May 21, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm. The topic, Keeping Your Money Safe, will be discussed by Don McGran, Jr. Security Advisor with the Fairfield County Bank, Judge Joe Egan Probate Judge for the District, and Sgt. Chris McManus of the Redding Police Department.   Included in the discussion will be bank fraud, check washing, deeding your home, check writing schemes, local mail, phone & computer scams, financial abuse, etc.


Mrs. Schiron reported on the following:

  • Several individuals have asked for assistance with insurance and Medicare issues.
  • A student has volunteered to do “community service hours” working with seniors.  Mrs. Schiron is exploring expanding this type of program with the Redding Easton Boys & Girls Club.
  • Monthly staff meeting:  the main topic discussed at the monthly meeting was a review of the class/program payment system.  The staff discussed the system and options with First Selectman Ketcham and Director of Finance Gniadek.
  • Mental Health Month:  May is Mental Health Month, and Mrs. Schiron encouraged all to support funding for mental health.
  • Van Driver:  a backup driver is needed for the van.  The driver is on vacation this week, and the substitute driver was unable to fulfill the schedule due to a scheduling conflict. The Heritage Center staff is assisting with the driving. Mrs. Schiron noted that a backup driver(s) would be very helpful.

Mrs. Metzger questioned the lack of communication regarding the recently held “Breakfast at Barlow for seniors”.  She noted that there were announcements in the Redding Pilot, but the hours were not included. Some members of the Commission attended and reported there were about 20 people in attendance.

Director of Finance Steve Gniadek commented that a message painted on the van noting that the van was a donation rather than a town purchase would be nice.  At last month’s meeting, Mrs. Schiron noted receipt of funding for a new van as part of a resident’s estate.  She will check with the family involved to determine if the name of the individual could be included or if the message would just say it was a donation.  Mr. Gniadek added that it would be good to make the taxpayers aware that they are not funding the van.  A grant funds most of the salary of the van driver.


Bonnie Levy-Mello announced upcoming programs at or sponsored by Laurel Ridge and she invited all to attend.


Marie Sibilio reported the following:

  • Three new programs have been added:  a walking program, a grandparent discussion group and an exercise program.
  • Mrs. Moran explained the new walking program that provides the opportunity to meet with other walkers and walk whenever and wherever convenient.  She is asking all to participate to report their mileage monthly, with a goal of walking to Cape Cod.
  • The grandparent group meets monthly, with the next session on Monday, May 20 at 10:30.  The group discusses common issues, books, new ideas, places to visit, experiences, etc.
  • Interfaith scripture study has also been added to the schedule.
  • Tuesday, May 7 lunch will be an “out to lunch” due to the referendum voting at the Community Center. The group will travel to the Olive Garden for lunch.
  • Wednesday, May 8, Marvelous Mons will be celebrated following the lunch, with a tea and sharing of “pearls of wisdom”.
  • Wednesday, May 15, the Western CT Area on Aging will provide a program on assistive technology.

Discussion of revision of class fees/class card system followed. Mrs. Moran provided a listing of all the classes/programs offered at Heritage Center that are free, those that have advanced registration for a set number of classes, and those classes that use the “card” system.

The classes using the “card” system are Full Body Fitness, Aerobics I & II (two times/week), Yogalates, Stretch Breathe Be, and Jewelry.  The card system currently consists of 10 class sessions for a $50 fee. Mrs. Sibilio noted that currently the class fees, either using the card system or advanced registration, do not cover the instructor cost of the program.

The staff proposed adjusting the “card” system as discussed with First Selectman Ketcham and Director of Finance Gniadek.  The current 10-session card for $50 would have an expiration at the end of each fiscal year (June 30). Another option would be offering a 10-session card with advanced registration (to cover the following 10 sessions of the class) for $40.  Discussion followed.

Mrs. Metzger asked Director of Finance Gniadek why class instructors were paid for their services as employees of the town rather than independent contractors.  Mr. Gniadek stated that it is the policy of the town to do this to limit the town’s liability.  These individuals are considered employees for Workman’s Compensation coverage.

There was a long discussion on method of payment, conversion of unused credits at the end of the year, options discussed, the need to clearly inform all participants of the change, and refinement of the details, a motion was made.

Motion: move that the Commission on Aging support the recommendation proposed by the Heritage Center staff for changes in fee structure and request that the fee structure be further refined and documented.  Kopfstein, Metzger.

There was further discussion on the matter and the motion.  It was agreed that the next year would be a transition period, changing from the current system to the new one, and before the end of next year, the system would revisited and changed as necessary.

Call the question:  Metzger.  Approved. Unanimous.

Vote on the motion on the floor:  Approved. 8-0-2.  Mrs. Whitham and Mrs. Mintz abstained.


Mr. Polio reported that the subcommittee of himself, Myrna Robinson and Louann Lang met to discuss the establishment of a non-profit “Friends of Heritage Center” group and establish a 501c3  account.  The group created goals and a mission statement.

Mission statement”  The mission of the Friends of Heritage Center is to promote and expand cultural, educational and social programs and activities offered by the Heritage Center of the Town of Redding which will be relevant to adults of all ages.

The group is exploring the creation of a 501c3 status, for the purpose of collecting tax free contributions to subsidize the programming offered at the Heritage Center.  Another goal is to establish a board of directors for the 501c3 organization, set up advertising, do fundraising, and create liaisons with other entities in town to prevent duplication of programs and to work cooperatively with these entities to create new programs. More information will be provided at the next meeting.


Mrs. Kopfstein reported that Alice Pardee has submitted a letter of resignation effective at the end of the fiscal year, June 30. Mrs. Pardee has served as a member of the Commission on Aging since 1985.


The next meeting is scheduled for June 5, 2013, at 9:00 am at the Heritage Center.


The Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:58 am.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Maday, Recording Secretary