In January we start thinking about annual town meeting and town elections.
Did selectmen set the date of the annual town meeting? I don’t think so. They were legally supposed to do that on or before Dec. 1 of this year. But they have been very busy, as you know, and are about to get even busier. Mostly, bylaws and Town Manager Acts are broken these days. There is no process.
Selectmen’s insurance company attorneys will meet with them this week regarding a lawsuit by former town manager, Mike Coughlin, for wrongful termination. Coughlin says he wants his job back. In his whistleblower suit he names Select Chair Paul Carlson, Vice Chair Diane Kennedy, Fred Koed, Leland Jenkins, former selectman Ted Carr and water commissioner Peter DeCaprio.
Acting Town Manager Mike Milanoski is working under an illegal town manager’s contract and during a brief 5 months on the job has begun generating his own lawsuits. Mark Brennan, former special assistant to the illegal Town Manager filed an age discrimination suit against the Town and Milanoski.
Special Town Meeting voted against changing the Town Manager’s Act on Dec. 10th. The world is waiting to see what Selectmen will do regarding going forward with a Request for Proposal for a Town Manager. Selectmen do get a second shot. Governance will present Annual Town Meeting with myriad of changes to the act. But it is unclear whether Milanoski can wait that long. His contract is over in June 2013. Annual Town Meeting and Annual Town Elections will be held before Milanoski’s contract expires. That means there could be a new board majority that might not write Milanoski a contract. So how to Selectmen stick a new board with their illegal hire?
Tinytown Unleashed is betting that the Selectpeople will attempt to write yet a new contract in March 2013 when Milanoski will be separated from his old appointed boards for a period of one year. Unfortunately, the gorilla in the room is the BIG CAHOONA. Milanoski is serving as an appointed acting town manager with benefits. Under the Town Manager Act he cannot move to the Town Manager’s position until he is separated from the town for one year as acting town manager.
I was one of the 10 signers of the Town Manager’s Act petition in 1996. I continue to love it. It protected us from everything I hoped it would protect us from and more. It is under siege right now, heavy artillery, but I think it can survive. Townspeople are just beginning to understand the issue and I think they will do the right thing, again, at Annual Town Meeting.
I have been thinking about this since Dec. 10th and I wanted to share this thought with all of you during the Christmas season. Article 14 on the Dec. 10th Annual Town Meeting Warrant was never about Mike Milanoski. It was always about the Cohasset Board of Selectmen. They tried to force Mike Coughlin, former town manager, into endorsing a water concession contract. He wouldn’t budge. He lost his job over it.
Milanoski is younger and more manageable than Coughlin; he doesn’t yet have a perspective on how fleeting any board of selectmen is. In as few as 5 months there will be a new majority on the board of selectmen and they may not look kindly on Milanoski’s treatment of town employees. Those selectmen who directed those tortious actions will long be gone. Young Milanoski will be left holding the bag.
The old farts on the board of Selectmen are ruining any career Milanoski may have thought of having as a town manager. What town would hire a town manager who worked under an illegal employment contract and seemingly caused turmoil at every turn? The bodies are piling up and it looks like they’re (the bodies) winning.
It is unknown what the future will bring us – it is difficult to see even as far as annual town meeting and elections.
But if Milanoski is smart, and I think he is, he would take that job in Abington. He would beg for it.
In related town hall news, Chris Ford and his brother Ted Ford have received good news from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). On Dec. 4th DEP approved the Ford’s project for 559 Jerusalem Road under certain conditions. Elizabeth A. Kouloheras, Bureau of Resource Protection, said in the department’s opinion the project adequately protects the interests of the Wetlands Protection Act. This opinion was related to the Cohasset Conservation commission’s first denial. There is little doubt that DEP will issue another Superseding Order of conditions for the Conservation Commission’s second denial, as the Fords are moving the project even further back from the wetlands. It is thought Norfolk Superior Court will consider Ford’s suit as early as March 2013.
© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed