How will Litchen's Lynn win affect the tiny minds of the majority of the Cohasset Board of Selectmen? Selectchair Diane Kennedy had one of the largest votes in the history of the town at annual elections 2014; it's ironic that she may preside over a board that ends up writing some of the biggest checks ever for past illegalities - a board on which she served. Kennedy is presently the only person on the BOS being sued by Coughlin. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
The Lynn Daily Item reported early this morning that Harold Lichten, attorney for former Lynn finance official John Pace, will ask Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley to triple the damage award of $1M (to $3M) under the Whistleblower Protection Act. http://www.itemlive.com/news/
Cohasset Town officials must be watching this case closely, as it mirrors much of what happened in Cohasset when in 2011 a five-member board of selectmen and their appointed committees totally turned on its newly appointed town manager, the police chief, and many other town employees. For many months, Mariner cartoonist Jim Hamilton would run a cartoon tallying the newest football jersey number to be retired, a turn on the myriad town employees being sacked.
Chinatown? Tinytown? –Not much difference as far as we can tell
Although maybe the schools are a little better in Tinytown
Until the aquifer runs dry, anyway
In 2011-2012 former water commissioner Peter DeCaprio was planning to give Cohasset Water to give Aquarian via a 20-year concession contract; concurrently, Hingham town officials were trying to chew off their arms and legs to get out of its Aquarian trap with spiraling water fees and little and no attention being paid to the infrastructure. Was DeCaprio in conflict of interest, with his company Crow Point Partners being involved with water utilities and Aquarian up the ying yang?
From leaked e-mails we learned that town counsel’s firm had allegedly advised selectmen that DeCaprio had actionable conflict interests given the investment portfolio of his hedge fund.
Further, DeCaprio hired his personal lawyer as the new counsel to the water company. Selectmen obliged him every step of the way. And then DeCaprio’s attorney doublng as water counsel writes a legal opinion opining there is no joint management of the water department (town meeting had given the town manager the power to co-manage the department after the previous $5M water f-up for which we are all still paying).
In the background…simmering away in a money pot…an interesting study of Aquarian water in the Hingham, Cohasset, Hull region on the Tata Howard website. Tata Howard is a consulting engineer for Aquarian. This study demonstrated that in order for Aquarian water to survive (and make money) it needed Cohasset water and it needed to drill all over Cohasset for more water to supply growing Weymouth and Hingham communities, in particular the South Shore Naval Air Base.
Keep that water coming. Bleed us dry so we can enter into the next expensive stage of water consumption: DeSal plants.
What did the illustrious 2012 board of selectmen do about this? It fired Coughlin, the town’s only watchdog.
On February 15, 2012 before voting 5-0 to suspend Coughlin with pay it said the board and the town manager do not share in the common the same views as to how important matters should be communicated. We would say so.
And then the BOS stupidly added that it was proceeding to exercise its contract right for removal of Coughlin without cause. But it never had the right to remove anybody without cause. The BOS had erred…big time. The BOS didn’t have the final 1997 Town Manager’s Act in front of them. It was utilizing a Xeroxed sheet that I had compiled in 1996-97 for discussion when we were preparing a citizen’s petition to create a Town Manager form of government. We had discussed the possibility of removal for no cause, and then realized that would be illegal. Nobody can fire anyone for no cause.
Not only did the 2012 selectmen mess it up, for the first six months of its existence, the now sunset Governance committee chaired by former acting town manager Mike Milanoski, utilized this same old discussion paper. Dumb and dumber.
But we digress.
If the town doesn’t settle with Coughlin, and as far as we know, nothing is on the Town’s horizon about that, Coughlin’s Whistleblower suit will go to trial sometime next year.
There may also be a Mark DeLuca lawsuit at the time, and/or a Mark Brennan age-discrimination lawsuit.
If juries are still awarding $1M and $3M settlements that include a quarter of a million plus for emotional distress, 2015 could be a very expensive year.
One thing’s clear, Coughlin had a ton of emotional distress. He was fighting an uphill battle with a bunch of very wealthy men who treated the water department like it was part of their investment portfolio. And for some, it was.
Coughlin had a stroke soon after he was fired but fully recovered. This (the stroke) could be good for a cool million all by itself.
Oh, not to worry.
Just put everything on our water bill.© Copyright 2014 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed