It has been said that politics is a blood sport in Cohasset. I thought it might be linked to the water because of fights with Water Commissioner Peter DiCaprio but recent events show that is just good old time hypocrisy.
Take the brewing controversy of appointments. Close to two years ago, I was fighting to get Mary Gallagher appointed as Finance Director. At that time, I reminded the Board of Selectmen that it was in the sole purview of the town manager to appoint department heads. At that time, then Capital Budget Chair Steve Gaumer argued that others should be involved in the appointment. Paul Carlson rebuked me in public that the Board should not only be involved but should interview the finalists in executive session. When I reminded Lee Jenkins that it was against the law, he responded that he “didn’t care about the law”. The Mariner even filed an open meeting law complaint.
To gather public support, I wrote an Op Ed in the newspaper arguing that the town manager should be able to pick his team and be free to manager the town– that others such as the then Capital Budget Vice chair Jack Keniley should stay out of town hall. In response, Selectmen Dianne Kennedy disagreed- making a public statement at the next meeting that the selectmen and other committees should be involved in important appointments. Chairman Ted Carr echoed her comments.
Despite this, we got Mary appointed and then I took some time off for Christmas. While I was away, the selectmen held a meeting where the likes of Ralph Dormitzer, Peter Pescatore and George Chamillard suggested that the powers of the town manager be weakened to that of a town administrator.
Now two years later, the very same people who argued against my right as Town Manager to appoint a finance director are supporting Mike Milanoski’s right to appoint Bill Quigley. Gone is Gaumer and Keniley saying that other committees should be involved, gone is Ted Carr and Paul Carlson reasoning that past practice dictated selectmen involvement, gone is Dianne Kennedy stating she was offended by a Town Manager who only wanted to be free to manage.
Now the same voices– Dormitzer, Chamilard and Pescatore who wanted to weaken the powers of the town manager are citing chapter and verse of the provisions of the strong town manager act. So much for their thinking best expressed by Lee Jenkins “we don’t care about the law”.
Yes there is a steady dose of hypocrisy in the Cohasset water supply to add to the arrogance already added by the likes of Peter DiCaprio.
The only selectman who has been consistent in arguably the two most appointments a board can make– Police Chief and Finance Director has been Fred Koed.
Let me say, I am no fan of Fred’s— he voted to fire me– but as an honorable man I must salute that he doesn’t change his principles to fit the politics of the situation.
Two years ago, like Steve Gaumer and Dianne Kennedy, Fred argued that principle and policy dictate a substantial role in important appointments. Two years ago, like Ralph Dormitzer, Peter Pescatore and George Chamillard, Fred reasoned that a town manager should compromise the legal provisions of the town manager act with the political realities represented by the majority of the board he serves.
Two years later, Fred hold trues to those principle while the likes of Gaumer, Kennedy, Keniley, and Dormitzer have conveniently changed their views to gain the political outcome they seek in the appointment of the next chief.
Their hypocrisy knows no bounds because they have the nerve to say that politics is at play in the appointment of the next chief of police. By launching a petition drive, by failing to abide by the principle of majority rules, by focusing all of their efforts to unseat the only man who has not changed his position of the process to which people are appointed, they are truly one playing politics with law enforcement in this town.© Copyright 2013 Mike Coughlin, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed