It is good that Cohasset Selectmen voted 3-1 (Leland Jenkins) with one abstention (Martha Gjesteby) to not file a second ethics complaint against Selectman Martha Gjesteby, who is trying to recover from hip surgery, no thanks to her board.
Selectman Diane Kennedy set the mood and tense of the 9:15 agenda item that was discussed around 10:30.
Kennedy said she was troubled about the selectmen’s proposed agenda item requesting the board to issue a second complaint against Gjesteby because the Cohasset Town Clerk inadvertently released to the Boston Globe selectmen’s unapproved executive session minutes, that were part and parcel of an opening meeting law complaint Gjesteby filed against the selectmen.
Select Chair Paul Carlson and Selectman Fred Koed admonished Gjesteby’s attorney, Brandon Moss, of Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane for not having marked the material released in the complaint as confidential. “It should have been put in a special envelope,” Koed said.
Moss gave each member of the board of selectmen open meeting law instructions. He advised them that there is nothing in the law regarding putting anything in a special envelope and that anything released from the town clerk’s office is done so at her discretion. If the town clerk has questions about any document, she can hold that document until town counsel reviews it for up to 10 days, Moss said, adding that the town clerk should not have released the unapproved executive session minutes that were part and parcel of Gjesteby’s complaint against her board of selectmen. Further, Moss said, the minutes in question were well flagged, and were in fact a segregated document. But of course one had to read the complaint to determine the same. And it would have been nice if the illegal acting town manager warned the town clerk that something sensitive was coming her way.
The illegal acting town manager, with accrued vacation and a long-term contract at $150,000 a year, defended the town clerk, saying Moss was attempting to surmise that the town clerk did something wrong. “She is above reproach,” he said. And he’s exactly correct. Carol St. Pierre is a wonderful town clerk who if she ran for selectmen would top the ballot.
But would she run, is the question. There is no question she would top the ticket.
Kennedy said she was upset the town clerk was even being discussed. “We need to get off her. The onus is on us. We have a high responsibility to the people; we can’t make mistakes.” Oh, Diane, of course you can make mistakes. You make them all the time. We all make mistakes, lighten up.
Citizen Adrienne McCarthy told selectmen she was mortified about the way they were handling all of this. “I think Diane (Kennedy) is on the correct road. This has to stop.” She told selectmen they blindsided Gjesteby when they called her into an executive session last December to discuss her ethics and had not given her notice.
Leonora Jenkins, water commissioner, questioned how the Boston Globe knew Gjesteby’s open meeting law complaint had arrived at the town clerk’s office and ended up scooping the entire document. Yes, I would like to know this also. I (Tinytown Unleashed) was asked to drive Gjesteby to the town clerk’s office where she attempted to remove the non-public unapproved executive session minutes from her complaint and was told by the town clerk she could not do so. When I returned to the town clerk’s office later in the day, attempting to get the same great stuff the Globe got, I received the initial complaint minus the unapproved executive session minutes.
The Boston Globe promised Gjesteby it would not publish anything about the unapproved executive session minutes.
So, you’re wondering how Cohasset selectpeople could even think of filing against Gjesteby on this mater when it was actually in the hands of the town clerk, right?
If you are thinking this, you are very rational and you could be a selectman. Please consider running for this office.© Copyright 2013 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed