Cohasset selectmen respond to open meeting law complaint

Cohasset Select chair Fred Koed told his board the best course of action for the board to take with regard to an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by the Cohasset Mariner would to revote its leadership roles and entertain some discussion on how it came to be that selectman Diane Kennedy, who served as vice chair under the former board, did not ascend to the chairmanship. The board voted the leadership again on a 5-0 vote: chair: Fred Koed, vice chair: Diane Kennedy, clerk: Martha Gjesteby.

Koed said he had been asked to accept the chairmanship by two members of his board and numerous citizens. He said he did not seek the chairmanship, but when speaking to selectman Steve Gaumer noted that two members of the board had asked him to run. That conversation could conceivably be looked at it as “running.” Accordingly, Koed said the best course of action is to assume the violation occurred and revote leadership.

Gjesteby said she was one of the selectmen who asked Koed to agree to be nominated. “When I made motion I didn’t know who would vote for chair.”

Kennedy said she had spent a lot of time last year preparing herself for the chairmanship. She said she was told by several people directly after annual elections that the decision had been made. “I came to that first meeting simply to acknowledge that the time was probably right for Fred to do so (be chairman.) Kennedy said she was at peace with the decision and felt Koed had the skillset to do this and keep moving the board forward.

Quigley told Kennedy that she had handled the whole situation with tact and with professionalism.  While Quigley said she didn’t believe the open meeting law was broken, she felt the board should revote it and move on.

Gaumer said “The fact of the matter where there’s smoke there’s fire. The point of this is that somewhere along the line it doesn’t pass the smell test. I was elected to do better than that. What is it they (the Mariner) are seeking?”

“They are seeking an admission,” Koed said.

Koed said people viewed the board as being split. “I had shifted into the middle…there seemed to be a drive to convince me to take chair.”

Gjesteby: “Fred has 14-15 years of experience and the board needed that kind of background to go forward. Last year there were a lot of ups and downs.”

Town counsel will hold an Open Meeting Law forum at a time to be determined.


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