A 5-0 Night – a Banner Night for Cohasset Selectmen

The Cohasset Board of Selectmen is on tenterhooks over the Collins Center selection committee coming forth with five qualified town managers. If the pool isn’t up to par, it could well be because of the actions of the board of selectmen over the past several years.

Franklin Town Manager Jeff Nutting gave the board a Dutch uncle talk’n to at its goals and objectives meeting last week and selectmen could not have behaved better this week. Nutting was hired to moderate the meeting and selectmen’s comments about his role in leading the discussion were thumbs up.

Selectmen will vote to get behind the permanent town manager if he/she comes from a qualified pool of candidates. And they will write a letter to the Collins Center who will give this letter to candidates for the position, saying in essence they will work with the candidate chosen and not do what a former board of selectmen did to former town manager Mike Coughlin.

Nor will they permit their appointed boards and committees to give the permanent town manager a hard time. Selectman Vice Chair Diane Kennedy is working on a code of conduct for appointed and elected committees.

Because the amended Town Manager Act is still moving through readings at the state house, town counsel has advised selectmen they can move forward with both town manager acts.  “If the new act doesn’t pass,” the decision is made for us,” Koed said.

Kennedy said the Collins’ Town Manager profile does reference both acts, “So somebody who wants to understand what they are coming into will know the material.” She said if a town person did apply and was one of the finalists, “We could keep them on board subject to final passage of the Amended Town Manager Act.”

However, Unleashed’s state house sources say it is not likely that the Amended Town Manager’s Act will pass. Had the Paul Carlson board of Selectmen (2012-2013) required a favorable town meeting vote followed by a favorable town-wide ballot, the Amended Act could be law. Now, it’s just messy..a constitution that never met a town-wide ballot.

Selectman Karen Quigley noted that it’s difficult to be a town manager. “Each year a town manager has different people sitting here. Whether you like those people or not it’s your job to work with them.”

Peter Pescatore, chairman of the advisory committee, made an illuminating comment.  He said he would release the board to hire its town manager saying, “Any qualified candidate eliminated under the current law should be identified.” Identified how and to whom? We didn’t understand why Pescatore had to release the board to do anything. Nevertheless, selectmen, who were 5-0-ing everything last night voted 5-0 in favor of granting his wish. We’re not sure Pescatore gets to request a scorecard on his favorite candidate(s). This entire search was supposed to be non-political. Selectmen were not to know who came in 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th or even the rankings of the five to be interviewed.

On top of the current town manager act, which does not permit anyone serving in an appointed position to apply for the town manager’s position, the qualifications the selectmen have voted require the candidate to have seven years experience serving an elected board.

The money’s good in Cohasset – $130,00–$150,000 for the right person. Maybe more.  Probably will have to be more. In spite of the fact the selectmen have been big turnoffs as employees for the past many years – the new board, comprised of some very bright people, are attempting to make a comeback. And we could not be happier.


Have no fear, Cohasset citizens. There will be plenty of candidates, and they will be very qualified. And they have all been reading about us for a long time.

© Copyright 2013 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed