Cohasset Selectmen vote 3-0 for town manager search

Select Chair Fred Koed had hoped to move this board into another 5-0 night with his expert guidance. But it fell apart during a discussion of the search for a permanent town manager.

After a tortured discussion, the board voted 4-1 to meet with the Collins No Bid Recruitment Center at a date to be determined in June.

Selectman Martha Gjesteby voted No, saying, “We haven’t stated that we need to hire a town manager, I’m shocked.” She added that it was a disservice to the town, it’s ridiculous, frankly,” she said.

Citizen Agnes McCann told selectmen “I agree with Martha, this town is tired of guessing at what the selectmen are doing, the clearer the better. Can we can we top saying things like we’re going to honor the spirit of the (amended) town manger’s act? We live under the current act. People shouldn’t believe that you’re compelled to do anything under the new act…it does not apply.”

Selectmen Karen Quigley made a second motion stating that the board of selectmen would vote to hire a new town manager. It passed 3-0, with Quigley, Koed and Gjesteby voting yes and Selectmen Vice Chair Dian Kennedy and Selectman Steve Gaumer abstaining. In Roberts Rules land an abstention is no vote at all unless it defeats a motion, and then it is a No vote.  It was odd for Kennedy and Gaumer to abstain, because during discussion they both stated that the amended town manager’s act called for a town manager search. At one point Gamer said he would for a search only after the meeting with the Collins Center.

Actually, the amended town manager’s act is very limp. “The board of selectmen shall create a search.” It gives no guidance.

Kennedy said the board needed to know what it wanted. She said the Collin’s Center individual she spoke with talked about creating a community profile, and setting qualifications for the ideal candidate.  “We need to step back and look at some of the challenges unique to Cohasset. He said the best for the job is usually someone not looking for a job.”

Gaumer noted that the new town manage act had not yet achieved legality. He said he felt it was not necessary to vote that the board was actively pursuing a permanent town manager. He said the town was being directed to conduct a search under the new act, adding, “That should be sufficient.  If we can’t live within the law, we don’t need to vote for it.”

Quigley disagreed with Gaumer. “This is a first step.  If you don’t make a plan, you never get anywhere. My concern is we do have deadlines that are upon us, with the existing contract. I feel the responsibility to have a plan in place. That’s my only goal in doing this.”


© Copyright 2013 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed