Cohasset Selectmen move to make Town Manager contract legal

Last night’s BoS meeting lent great clarity to the major preoccupation of this Fall: just how were the Selectman, having executed an illegal contract with Acting Town Manager Milanoski, going to allow Milanoski to continue as Town Manager?

Since last December the Governance Committee has been struggling with this issue under the guise of looking at all aspects of the Town Manager Act which, for all extents and purposes, is our Town’s constitution. No mind that this committee was formed by popular demand to look into the dastardly deed of the Selectmen packing ConCom with cronies of the E20; that never made it onto their agenda.

The Governance Committee acknowledged last night that the only relevant issue before them was the Town Manager Act and how to change it so the Selectmen could continue to employ Milanoski. They chose to sidestep whether it is critical for this issue to be resolved at Special Town Meeting this December 10 leaving that decision to the BoS.

Stepping into the breach was BoS puppet master Ralph Dormitzer, who first tried to argue that any further delay would cause lengthy delays in the State Legislature approval process. When that failed to gain any traction, the Town Manager Act being flawed morphed into the Town Manager Act being fatally flawed and in dire need of being corrected immediately. What is in dire need of being corrected immediately is the illegal contract. This and only this is the driving force in changing the Town Manager Act.

One specious argument floated was that the Town is in danger of losing an irreplaceable asset, to whit Milanoski. Putting aside issues of qualifications and legality, the BoS asserts that Milanoski’s job performance has been exemplar and it would be unthinkable to lose him. A mountain of evidence contradicts this including the mess he’s made of personnel matters resulting in two lawsuits with one pending, and his denial of Town Counsel advice to ConCom also resulting in a lawsuit.

The simple truth of the matter is that it is not the Town Manager Act that is fatally flawed; it is the contract entered into by the selectmen without a vetting process, benefit of Town Counsel, or common sense. They are desperately trying to make this contract legitimate to avoid further embarrassment over their inept performance.

What should not be lost in this debate is their insistence on making changes to the Town Manager Act piece by piece thus obfuscating the overall effect these changes will have on how our Town is governed.

Attend Special Town Meeting on December 10 and vote to stop the BoS from continuing this convoluted effort to pound a square peg into a round hole.

© Copyright 2012 , All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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  2 comments for “Cohasset Selectmen move to make Town Manager contract legal

  1. Callahan
    November 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    As someone who applied for Cohasset Town Manager and is not from the inbred world of recycled town managers and administrators, I am torn. On the one hand, I think that anyone qualified should be allowed to apply. I am unaware of many if any TM or TAs on the South Shore being insiders. Holbrook, where I used to work, made a surprise insider appointment, but he did a fine job and was there for a few years until he became the victim of a new BOS dominated by a town power broker. I believe he has been hired by another town. I am told that there are less Master of Public Admin being generated, so looking at other competent officials and attorneys will soon become a demographic necessity.

    Where I am torn is that this decision is not being driven by that abstract meritorious change, but by the need to correct a series of purposeful machinations and/or incompetent blunders that is making Cohasset a laughing stock locally and is going to lead to lawsuits. It is being done to keep in place someone who should not be in the job, for both qualification and political reasons. Will Town Meeting understand these fine distinctions, though?

  2. November 14, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Tom – I have to disagree with your comments about the Governance committee, which has evolved over the past year. While the committee certainly was a political appointment, it has attempted to stay clear of politics and is diligently working to bring the town manager act into the modern age.
    I don’t agree with the committee’s recommendation to allow selectmen to choose their Town Manager from its appointed and elected boards. The results of that are all over the south shore. The Town Manager’s job is constantly being eye-balled by department heads and others who think they could do the job better. With every new majority on the board of selectmen comes the real possibility of a new Town Manager who will want his or her own police chief, town accountant, town counsel, whatever. I can’t vote for the change for that reason.

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