Cohasset ATM could be a blood bath

No. 1.  There will be two town managers at annual town meeting. Interim Town Manager Mike Milanoski will preside over the meeting but former town manager Mike Coughlin will be sitting at Milanoski’s elbow – giving a live critique of articles and motions.

No. 2. Karen Quigley’s citizens’ petition – an article (Article 21) asking the town to take charge of its water and sewer commissions is more than timely. “Who knows what will happen with the hammer of the mighty Commonwealth coming down,” Sewer Chair John Beck told advisors last week.

Yeah, stupid us. Again.

As of early last week, 124  homes in the Little Harbor sewer area, the area legally described as the second amended judgement area, were not connected to sewer. Homeowners have until July 1st to do so or everybody gets fined -the town, the homeowners. Everybody.

Who was supposed to be on top of this? The Selectmen – nope. Not the selectmen.  The Sewer Commission? Guess not. The Board of Health that doesn’t haven’t money for stamps? Is this something for which we can blame now former town manager Mike Coughlin? Selectman Diane Kennedy tried to do that exact thing at Coughlin’s kangaroo trial. Afterwards, we learned that the Kennedy family, who live in the second amended judgement area had not even made an application to get on sewer.
So. Quigley brings to the attention of the board a tried and true management operations plan for our water/sewer plants. Hire an town engineer, give him/her back-up clerical. Turn water/sewer into an appointed advisory board. Other towns use this model – three different groups who were brought in to rescue us from ourselves have recommended the same. Scituate uses this model. Hull uses this model. It works. You don’t read about those towns screwing up in the newspapers.

How do the selectmen feel about the citizens’ petition?  Fred Koed tried to knock it down a peg or two. He believes in elected water and sewer officials. And yet in 1994 Koed ran for water commission after the former elected water commission had failed in every respect to run Cohasset Water and ultimately resigned as commissioners as opposed to falling on their swords.  Koed was the clean-up guy. He brought in an outside water management team for the first time in the history of the Town because water had failed miserably. Koed remembers the meetings that went until midnight and after midnight and so do I. But maybe if the town had its own engineer and a board comprised of professional  citizen advisors, Koed wouldn’t have been learning how to run a water department during the wee hours of many mornings in 1994, 1995 and 1996. He wouldn’t have even been there.

A few years ago the elected water commission got in trouble again – big trouble, big debt. We will be paying that debt for the next 20 years.

Selectmen say they are worried about combining water and sewer and yet that is the very direction they are pointing. Milanoski says he would find it much easier to control water and sewer if we had one operator. In fact, Milanoski was about to put his own article on the Annual Town Meeting warrant until the selectmen nixed the same. Milanoski’s article sounded a little too much like Quigley’s article. Some members of the Governance committee pointed out the sameness at their meeting last week.


No. 3. Along comes Article 32 that asks TM to vote to authorize the Water commissioners to enter into a five-year contract with a Water System operator. We thought the RFP which went out was a 10-year contract. Peter DeCaprio, chair of the water commission, assured me that the article is legal, but I think not. How can citizens be warned of a 5-year contract and have it end up being a 10-year contract or more?

Milanoski assures us that Town Meeting will get to vote on the water operations contract award at town meeting – probably the adjourned session.

But I am not feeling very safe when I read the wording which follows:

Article: 32

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Water Commissioners to negotiate and, with the approval of the Town Manager, enter into a five-year contract for the operation, maintenance and management of the Town’s waterworks on terms and conditions the Commissioners and Town Manager determine to be in the best interests of the Town*; and further to vote to authorize the Water Commissioners and Town Manager to lease any Town property under the care and custody of the Water Commissioners in connection with such contract for a term not to exceed (5) years;or take any action related thereto.

Article 32 asks Town Meeting to give up its rights to the water commissioners and the Town Manager. F. Roy Fitzsimmons and others are not going to like this.

After what has been revealed about predatory lending and sloppy documentation, would you sign the papers for a mortgage without reading them? Same thing goes for Cohasset Water. The forensic audit report Cohasset received last year that found records missing and sky-high unaccounted (not paid for) water should put Town Meeting on notice big time.

This article would remove Town Meeting (that’s YOU) from the process.

DeCaprio has some explaining to do. I am sure we will be hearing from him soon. Like maybe in the next five minutes.


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

  28 comments for “Cohasset ATM could be a blood bath

  1. Mike Coughlin
    May 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Why don’t you ask Tom Gruber and Mark Brennan? In any event, lets see what Town Meeting decides and then what the DOR Financial Management Review states– you probably won’t like what the DOR recommends either- its tough when you are the only one that is always right

  2. peter decaprio
    May 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    You still haven’t answered the question. How did the job’s exceed their appropriation without anyone being notified, which is a violation of Mass General Law (just ask Melanson Heath), why were the engineering fees such a high percentage of total job costs, and how did a job that was managed by the town become so expensive and also inlcuded two catastrophic failures of the gates? After all, we keep hearing from Karen about the failure of the sludge lagoons. Is this different?

    If you have them, I’m sure everyone would also like to hear your answers regarding the true costs of the citizens petition. I’m sorry, was that bullying or egotistical? When Karen accuses previous commissioners of bad judgement, as she has in public repeatedly, is that also bullying and egotistical? Is that not hurting them? Or is that you just want to act irresponsibly with impunity?

  3. Mike Coughlin
    May 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    You can distort the facts, try to say that the MMA report and the Melanson and Heath audit is flawed and banter that Gerry Perry and the DOR don’t know as much about you. They all support a concept similar to the citizens petition. Yet you know better

    Instead you ask us to trust you and your fellow hedge fund managers and wealth managers– 2007/2008 was only a few years ago- so many of us have little trust for those who swear by a pie chart and a prospectus. You can whip some facts but most in town trust Mark Brennan and Tom Gruber. They trust other public works professionals in this region like Al from Scituate.

    The fact is Peter- politics is personal–you made it so– politics– is about one person and one vote– but if you hurt a person who is respected and has friends– then that one vote multiples– if you bully employees, display arrogance and egotistical behavior like you– they vote against you and anyone linked to you. So Peter you may not be running but you are causing Ted votes— if you need evidence just look at how many Gjestby signs are springing up around town- keep talking– its great fertilizer for the Gjestby campaign–so keep talking and we will see what happens on Saturday and at the ballot box

  4. peter decaprio
    May 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Something tells me you would react to the attached by saying that Mansfield’s Advisory Committee has no respect for public safety officials or their teachers.

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