Cat Dam(n), a jewel in the crown, slipped into the public domain

Wolf, Tomby Tom Wolf

For decades the special interests of a select Cohasset group have been covertly served by a succession of elected and appointed officials. These interests include Sandy Cove, Treats Pond and Cat Dam to name a few. It seemed like a good deal for everyone; most citizens either didn’t know what was going on or accepted the trade off.

One-day, control of a jewel in the crown, Cat Dam, slipped inadvertently into the public domain and the cat was out of the bag. The E20 formed, squelched its neighborhood opposition and launched an assault on our highest elected officials, the Board of Selectmen. Just how easily they corrupted and took total control of the selectmen is appalling.

The important thing to understand is that this was a shift from tacit support and to overt, aggressive, take no prisoners warfare. In the process it has become clear this select group never regarded their special care as a consideration, a benefit, or a service. It was always and remains today an entitlement.

Ponying up a substantial war chest, the E20 took the fight to the town and state officials charged with upholding the laws of Cohasset, the Commonwealth and the USA. They hired their own environmental experts and lawyered up. All opposition was crushed; the fight was very public and very ugly.

Others with special interests appeared, sensing both weakness and opportunity. The Water Commission, members of Capital Budget, Advisory, and the Senior Center Committee were now free to act with impunity- and they did. Process, procedure, laws were all trampled upon. The Town Manager Act crumbled under the assault.

Those with personal agenda, vendettas, and pet projects found their path to success wide open. Town Hall became a hostile work environment. Citizens and town employees have real cause to fear retribution for speaking out.

A rising awareness became focused on just how irresponsibly the BoS was conducting the business of all of the citizens in favor of only the interests of a select few.  This was a total abdication of its responsibility. The Board is now fully vested in this direction; there is no turning back from their individual and collective failure to represent all of the citizens of Cohasset.

Make no mistake. The sin is not simply the actions of the E20 or others; it is the collapse of any sense of public duty by the selectmen who were elected to represent the interests of all residents and, instead, sold their souls to a few.

It will take time, but the truth will out and justice will prevail. In the meantime the carnage goes on as more and more jackals continue to prowl at the periphery and the appeasement of the voracious appetite for power continues to be not the town’s top priority, but the town’s only priority.

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

  11 comments for “Cat Dam(n), a jewel in the crown, slipped into the public domain

  1. March 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm


    Your advice to Adele Janssens seems to invite those who don’t agree with you to get off your blog and air their views elsewhere. What happened to the concept that the modulation of interaction benefits society? Discouragement of dissent is the nasty little brother of suppression of dissent, as the Germans found out between 1928 and 1945.
    Of course, its your paper and you can flavor it as you wish. But better it be an undisciplined mosh pit than controlled.
    To suggest that one correspondent should not comment on another’s views (apparently unless both adhere to your views) is like favoring inbreeding.

    • March 28, 2012 at 9:12 am

      It appeared to be a private conversation.
      That’s why.
      I have private conversations all the time – I don’t blog them.

  2. March 13, 2012 at 9:12 am

    My dear Adele,
    If you want to have a personal conversation with Murray, give him a call or walk down Cat Damn Lane and have coffee with him. You do not need to use my blog to say hello.
    Tom Wolf is hardly an alias. We ran his photo with his blog. You and Tom were both elected to the Republican Town Committee slate on March 6.

  3. Mike Coughlin
    March 13, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Linda Snowdale makes a good suggestion. As Cohasset studies governance– the precinct system should be studied. In my first town- we had both at large and precinct representation. It ensured all areas of the town were properly represented. In a few weeked, the DOR will hopefully start their Financial Management Review– hopefullly the team will take this idea up.

    As to Andrew Willard’s comments, let me correct the record. As to the K-9 unit, I did take into consideration the comments of the Advisory Committee but from my previous communities and as former prosecutor I saw the value. Chairman Ted Carr was notified. I instructed the Chief to prepare a fire year plan and fundraising campaign haas worked better than expected.

    During the tour which was part of the interview process, I also went into my intent to acquire at no cost to the town surplus military equipment. This to was done in my other communities. The need for these vehicles in Cohasset was demonstrated during the Christmas storm of 2010. There was also shortage of vehicles during Hurricne Irene. Chief Silvia also told me that some areas of town need such vehicles. This too was briefed to the Chairman.

    As to overtime, the issue is not the K-( unit– but the longstanding practice in passing budgets which do not reflect adequate staffing in the police and fire departments. At my direction, both Chiefs prepared detailed overtime plans but only by adding additional personnel will the need to rely on overtime shrink.

    As to headcount, all must remember that the current FY 12 budget is not mine but was put together by interim manager Steve Lombard and was vetted by the Advisory Committee then headed by Sam Wakeman. Upon my appointment, Steve admitted that he punted many issues until a permanent manager was selected and the budget did not contain sufficient resources to solve the problems.

    Perhaps most important, officials did not truly see the gravity of the financial implosion. This was caused in part by inadequate staffing in our administrative departments. This caused the need to retain expensive consultants to right the financial ship.

    And just one comment about Building and Planning– its was one of the most short staffed besides the fact it more than pays for itself in fees. The lack of proper staff impedes appropriate development– key to producing new revenue for the town in the form of new growth. The lack of staffing was penny wise-ound foolish and I am happy town meeting agreed

    As to financial softwear– the implementation plan which I inherited — headed up by a member of Capital Budget was doomed to failure. It was trying to force the acceptance of SoftRight without getting buy in from the people using it. I formed an employee committee headed by the Assistant to the Town Manager and the results have been impressive.

    We need focus most attention on submitting the balance sheet and setting the tax rate. Most thought this would be impossible but the team at town hall did the impossible improving our standing with DOR. Last year– we did not set the tax rate in time forcing the town to short term borrow. Doing the impossible also cemented the finance team into a cohessive group with the pride and confidence that they did the impossible. In December– I was able to “steal” Mary Gallagher from Scituate to be our finance director– so I am proud of my record.

    With respect to the Advisory Committee, I respect their work and have advocated to the Governance Committee that they should grow into a true finance committee where they propose the budget to Town Meeting. Much needs to be done, I hope that I will be allowed to continue my work.

    Mike Coughlin
    Town Manager

  4. Adele Janssens
    March 13, 2012 at 8:06 am

    I agree with you, Murray. Reading this is like reading the National Enquirer. Its manipulates the facts at best (and that’s being polite!). Tom Wolf is an alias for someone whose chief obsession is Cat Dam, with the Water Dept a close second. The blog and the letter to the Mariner are gastly, devisive, incorrect and attention seeking, as most of the these blogs are. If you notice, these bloggers are a small group. Mostly they comment on their own blogs and they are happy in their factually incorrect altered reality.

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