Cohasset Selectmen Lose Town Manager Act debate

The Selectmen’s Article 14 to change the town manager’s act was defeated last night. But the battle continues.

“Winning at a special — two weeks before Christmas and on the third night of Hanukkah– is a great win!” a voter on the winning side said. The vote was 188 no, 158 yes on a secret ballot. Total check-in for the night was 423 voters plus 19 unregistered voters. It appears that citizens of Cohasset want their town managers to come from outside town government, at least until Annual Town Meeting when they get to vote on all of this and more, again.

If passed, Article 14 would have permitted Selectmen to hire people directly from their appointed and elected boards. But something else is afoot; a statement made by Merle Brown of the Governance Committee broadcast the Selectmen’s new plan – Time cures all.

March 5, 2013 is the Town Manager’s anniversary date for having been separated from his appointed committees for over a year. Does that make him an eligible candidate for Town Manager in April?  Town Counsel said in the spring of 2012 that Milanoski, as an acting town manager, would have to be separated from the Town for one year before he could be eligible for the permanent position. However, Acting Town Manager is also an appointed position.  Plus, he still doesn’t meet the qualifications that require him to be an experienced and professional town manager. But we suppose a case could be made for his being an experienced illegal town manager. Milanoski may be now using the title acting town manager, but he holds a Town Manager’s contract.

Selectmen and their illegal town manager Mike Milanoski ran a tough campaign, complete with pizza/dance parties at the Sullivan Gymnasium entitled TOWN MEETING SPECTACULAR.  Kids at the Sullivan Gym wore VOTE FOR ME stickers, as if a vote for Article 14 in some way was a school vote. Some Cohasset parents said they were going to stash their kids at Sullivan Gym and go Christmas shopping. Maybe they did. Next time Selectmen should make sure every pizza-eating kid has parents at town meeting.

In other special town meeting action….

Indefinitely postponed: Article 6: Selectmen wanted to place just under $1MM in various accounts: $498,505 to the Stabilization Fund, $100,000 the Post-Employment benefits Liability Trust Fund, $250,000 to be expended by the Town Manager for computers at the high school, computer safety issues and upgrades, inspection / permitting / health tracking software and more. Ronnie McMorris pointed out that this was a defective warrant article and could not be legally voted at the special. Guess all that money will just have to sit in the bank and draw interest until the next town meeting. This was Milanoski’s warrant which he put together before he went on vacation and it wasn’t seen by town counsel until after it came back from the printer.

Defeated on a Voice Vote, 2/3rds vote needed: Article 13: The Lease of Town Property for the use of a Solar Energy Array at the Water Plant. This article was recommended by Capital Budget, Water Commission, Advisory Committee and Board of Selectmen. Sewer commissioner Wayne Sawchuk spoke against it, telling voters that any solar company would clear-cut five acres of land around the water dept. Tanya Bodell, presenter, and former selectman Ted Carr’s wife, said the savings to be realized would not be as good as in earlier years, that the town had sort of missed the boat on solar. Tom Gruber said the town would be buying a pig in a poke and that he would like to see any final lease come back before town meeting, which proponents said would effectively kill the Article.  Hearing all the bad news, voters said no.

Defeated on a Hand Count, 2/3rds vote needed: Article 15 – Voters said no to a zoning bylaw amendment that would have created three separate districts: Veterinarian Hospital, Veterinarian Practice, Pet Grooming Facility. The vote was 79 yes and 76 opposed. Veterinarian Fawn Stevenson inspired the article, which would have allowed her to apply to the ZBA for spot zoning on a small home she purchased on King Street which she planned to use for her veterinarian practice.

Voted: A $260,000 supplemental appropriation for the FY13 Operating budget, $69,041 to be placed in the Capital Improvement Budget.  Special Town Meeting approved all Community Preservation Committee requests: 260,000 for the Sailing Club, $75,000 for Town Hall reconstruction plans, $25,000 for a fence at Milliken Field, and $37,113 for the Historic Society to replace molding, restore woodwork and flooring, and preservation of historic artifacts.

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