Cohasset Selectmen say Milanoski contract “perfectly legal”. I disagree.

This Wednesday’s BoS agenda item for 7:45 is ‘Acting Town Manager Contract – Action Requested’. I have a problem with that if, as Chair Paul Carlson stated at the last BoS Meeting, “The Town Meeting vote on Article 14 has nothing to do with the existing contract.” Their intent is clearly to ignore Town Meeting and to extend Mr. Milanoski’s “perfectly legal”contract.

The facts suggest the opposite.

The existing contract is not for an Acting Town Manager but for a Town Manager. The issue is that Milanoski does not meet the separation requirement in the Town Manager Act having been on two Town bodies at the time of his appointment.

I offer as substantiation the fact that while the Recitals state “The TOWN desires to employ MILANOSKI as its Acting Town Manager…” the Articles of the contract state differently.

Article 1.1: “The TOWN hereby employs MILANOSKI, and MILANOSKI hereby accepts employment by the TOWN, as it’s Town Manager…”

Article 2.1: “MILANOSKI will perform the duties and responsibilities of the Town Manager…”

Article 5.1: “MILANOSKI may be removed as Town Manager…”

Article 6.1: “Indemnification of MILANOSKI…shall not apply in any proceeding to terminate his employment as the Town Manager…”

Article 7.6: “…while serving as Town Manager.”

In all, the articles of the contract reference ‘Town Manager’ in fourteen (14) instances and ‘Acting Town Manager’ zero (0) times.

The BoS’s appointment of Milanoski is anything but temporary.

The BoS are perpetrating a ruse on the public and end-running the Town Manager Act by purporting to hire an Acting Town Manager for an extended term. Synonyms for acting/interim include: temporary, provisional, stopgap, stand-in.

Selectman Gjesteby has repeatedly called on her colleagues to issue a RFP for a permanent Town Manager. They ignore her.

The BoS’s citing of Town Counsel is selective and biased.

Town Counsel’s involvement in the writing of this contract is unlikely given his statements below in a letter addressing the ‘Employment Agreement between Town of Cohasset and Michael Milanoski’. This letter is an excellent example of legal parsing in order to meet the client’s specific request.

What Town Counsel says is not that it’s “perfectly legal” but “…is not, as a whole, void and creates a legal relationship of employer and employee…” and  “…includes certain provisions that may not be enforceable…but would not necessarily render the entire Agreement completely unenforceable.”

These beg the question: what are the void and unenforceable provisions?

Whatever they are, this is yet another example of (a) the ineptitude of the BoS and Milanoski and (b) the rashness of not consulting Town Counsel.

And, “…a contract that has been freely entered into and partially performed should be honored unless defects are pervasive and disqualifying. That is not the case here…”

Perhaps not for an Acting Town Manager contract but Mr. Milanoski’s contract is a Town Manager contract. I first pointed this out to Chairman Carlson in August. No action has been taken to rectify what he referred to then as “ambiguities”.

They justify their actions by stating the need for stability which Milanoski and only Milanoski has brought to Cohasset.

Horse puckies!The stability in our Town finances and government are a direct result of remedies resulting from the 2010/11 Audit & Recommendations. Specifically, improved finance processes and procedures, the hiring of a professional, qualified Finance Director and Treasurer, increased participation and oversight by other Town officials i.e., Advisory and Capital Budget.

Interim Town Manager Lombard began initiating the remedies; Town Manager Coughlin attempted to continue them. Unlike Coughlin, Milanoski enjoys the support of his Board and is just in the right place at the right time to benefit from efforts begun by others.

Perhaps the stability they claim is the lack of commotion and overbearing bluster by certain Town officials now that they have ‘their’ man in place.

The BoS is the root cause not the target of public discontent.

The divisiveness, rancor and incivility in our Town today is directly attributable to the actions of the Selectmen, their Illegal Town Manager and their cronies. The degree of polarization should cause the BoS concern but they remain content in their arrogance.

It’s time for you to act.

If this has convinced you that all is not right please take the time to call or email at least one selectmen before the Wednesday meeting and let them know you expect them to initiate a search for a professional, qualified Town Manager immediately.

© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed