COHASSET RFP still before inspector general- we think

Cohasset Water’s RFP concession agreement continues to be on hold at the inspector general’s office – where Town Counsel Paul DeRensis is defending the Town’s position against Cohasset Water’s designer counsel. DeRensis says that the town has joint control of the water company. Designer counsel says naught.

In spite of the fact that Cohasset Water’s  RFP is on hold with the inspector general, Peter DeCaprio, chairman of the water commission is out hawking the Cohasset Water RFP at luncheon engagements (if the Old Goats count) saying the RFP will be issued on Feb. 28th.  Is this even legal? Isn’t the RFP supposed to be under wraps until such time as it is issued?

Has DeCaprio presented the Water RFP to selectmen? Have they reviewed it? Not at any public session we’re aware of. But then most things don’t happen in public sessions these days.

Town Manager Mike Coughlin has been suspended. The recently appointed acting town manager, Michael Milanoski, has in the past year been appointed as an associate member of the conservation commission and chair of the governance committee. Milanoski could not be appointed town manager because he would need to be out of town government for one year in order for the board to do so. But he can, apparently, be appointed interim/acting town manager for just about forever. Who knew?

If you Google Michael Milanoski you will find a lot of rotten stuff that raises some questions. We have no idea if any of it is true or not. In any case, we will not be publishing it here and you will not read about any of that old news on our blog – so don’t submit it.

There is something incredibly wrong with all of this, of course. In the end, it may not be the Inspector General or anyone else who saves us. We may have to save ourselves – at Annual Town Meeting.

When we created the strong town manager act we envisioned hiring someone strong, like our now suspended Town Manager, Mike Coughlin.

We didn’t get that in the first two town managers. The first one started off well and then he had problems with keeping his pants on. The second one became over-whelmed with the powers that be. He became un-strong.

Town Manager Mike Coughlin walked into a 1.3 Million water dept., incomplete records in the sewer department, and worked like a beaver to figure things out. He also questioned the selectmen’s ethics regarding various matters, not just the Cohasset Water RFP consignment contract.

Unfortunately, the questions surrounding the Water RFP is not the only issue undermining the ethical position of the Town of Cohasset.   Even before Coughlin began employment with the town on August 1st,  he became very concerned about the legal and ethical actions of certain officials on Cat Dam.

Coughlin expressed his concerns to the regional director of the DEP in Lakeville.  Executive session minutes- will show two things– the close but highly questionable interelationship between the town’s legal position and that of the E-20 group.  Secondly,  a concerted effort to contact state officials some at the highest levels to influence the outcome of the regulatory review process.  This is a quasi judicial proceeding– any contact by town officials to influence the outcome is one thin ice.

There is also the issue of the Governance Committee.

The Governance Committee was created in the aftermath of the controversy concerning the conservation appointments –  which may be illegal. It never once looked into the conservation issues. Instead of studying the conservation issues– it began questioning the Town Manager Act.  What ever happened to the inquiry on the Open Meeting Law violations?

The Chair of Governance (Mike Milanoski) –  was appointed to the conservation commission.  Executive session minutes of January 31st will reveal he is now part of a back channel effort to unduly influence the DEP.  He was almost handpicked by certain selectmen to meet with the DEP — despite the fact he was not part of the con com when Cat Dam was considered.  Now he has been appointed the Interim TM –   if he can partipate in an ethically questionable effort to influence the DEP –  how can he be entrusted to deal with the serious ethical issues surrounding the Water RFP?
In the very near future four town officials will meet with DEP -Town Attorney and the Conservation Agent–  now– the vice chair (Selectman Paul Carlson)- one of the three who voted illegally to not reappoint the original conservation commission is part of this effort.

Instead of contacting the Con Com to choose their representative– the BOS hand picked Jack Creighton.

Why did the Selectmen pull back on their decesion to vet Peter DeCarpio, Cohasset Water Department chair, by the ethics comission?  Hard to know.

Selectmen couold have requested enforcement from state ethics. We (this newspaper) is under the strong impression that Town  Counsel had serious reservations about DeCaprios’s relationship to Macquarrie and American Water.  Actualy, it’s not an impression. We have Town Consel’s E-mail stating the same.

Has anyone told the I.G. office that Aquarion is the holder of the expiring water contract and is also involved in the RFP?

Aquarion owns the American Water Co (running the Cohasset Plant). They purchased Accord Pond and American Water Co. How do they get to  help formulate the RFP for the water they are purchasing? Is Selectman Chairman Ted Carr involved, financially, with anything to do with this? May be.

How nice of Ted Carr to abstain on the vote to appoint Milanoski (4-0) as interim town manager. “We are neighbors, “he said. But Carr told Town Counsel to STOP the ethcs investigation of Peter DeCarprio who is financially related to AQUARION, AMERICAN WATERWORKS AND MACQUAIRE BANK…
Carr has no problem with that realtionship.

Just the little neighborhood ones.
How cute.

© Copyright 2012 Tanna Bk, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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  22 comments for “COHASSET RFP still before inspector general- we think

  1. Mary A. Parsons
    February 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Peter, Have any future ratepayer studies been built in to the 20 year deal? Has any future water consumption build- out studies been done for the town? What is your best estimate of any profit margin forthe bidder and the town in the 20 year contract?

    • peter decaprio
      February 28, 2012 at 9:54 am

      we’re not doing a 20 year contract. It’s 10 years. And rates will, pending any natural disasters, stay flat for the entire term of the contract. How’s that for a rate study?

      I would encourage everyone to read this:
      http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/washington-secrets/2012/02/more-bad-news-us-water-bills-triple/317086

      You should thank previous commissions and town meetings that appropriated money to rebuild our system. Cohasset might be the only municipality in the country that will start reducing rates and that won’t face a crippling capex burden in the years ahead.

  2. February 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    The Tinytown Unleashed expert says….

    If Hingham wants to municipalize its water system and we have surplus water to sell, we should see if Hingham would like to be a direct buyer from Cohasset. Same goes for Hull. If they are paying a high price for water then Cohasset may be able to offer water that is marginally less expensive to a wholesale buyer and still a good deal for out town as a seller.

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