Team Cohasset with its bright new director of finance, Mary Gallagher, gave a stunning sunny-day presentation to selectmen at their Jan. 17th. meeting. Hip Hip Hooray! The good news will warm all of us through June and beyond. Avalon and the Cook Estate are responsible for new growth, and will continue to be so in upcoming years. Team Cohasset said. Cedermere has new owners – still unknown what’s going to happen there but it looks like something will happen. Team Cohasset is very optimistic about growth and is banking some of it. Nevertheless, they are watching the money and preparing to tuck some away for rainy years.
For awhile there, it appeared Team Cohasset (comprised of four financial people – 2 of whom are certified public accountants – and Town Manager Mike Coughlin, who is both a town manager and an attorney) might not be permitted to respond to a truly depressing summary of the Town’s financial plight made by the self-informed Budget Planning Group – comprised of Peter Pescatore, chair (also chairman of the advisory committee), Advisory Committee member Nan Roth (a former selectman), Steve Gaumer and Jack Keniley (Capital Budget guys, Gaumer is chair of that committee), Selectmen Diane Kennedy and Leland Jenkins, and two school committee members. Maybe the school supt. A pretty scary group, that wants to level-fund the budget and not utilize the allowable 2 1/2 percent of new growth. Town Manager Mike Coughlin said it was not necessary to do the same.
Finance Director Mary Gallagher said Selectmen would have to decide what level funding would mean. “It’s not a decision I will make.” Gallagher pointed out that debt, pensions, county assessments, contracts and other obligations would make the Selectmen’s decision to level fund extremely difficult. Can you even imagine them entertaining the same? I can’t. Selectmen said they would hold off deciding anything until February.
On December 15th, two days after Mary Gallagher arrived in Town and was busily involved with getting final numbers to the state, the Budget Planning Group felt a need to hold a meeting. No one from Team Cohasset could attend as it was still busy crunching numbers for the Dept. of Revenue. The Town Manager left on a well-deserved Christmas holiday to Hawaii, feeling good about the Town because he knew things were turning around and he and he alone, in spite of many human roadblocks, was responsible for the turning.
Unfortunately, Budget Planning met and dissected October 2011 numbers – which have been changing hourly since Team Cohasset has been crunching away. In-between October 2011 and Tuesday night (January 17, 2012) an audit had been performed on the sewer projects. Brand new information had been obtained. Alas, Budget Planning did not have that information. It did not know that the sewer commission had been made whole – that money was not missing, that all that had happened was that money had not yet been reimbursed by the state. It took Team Cohasset to figure that out.
It is impossible for me to report here what Budget Planning told Selectmen because it’s basically garbage. Many members of Budget Planning would like to fire the Town Manager. I, on the other hand, would like to keep the strong town manager and reduce the Selectmen to three for purely political reasons. If you are willing to sign my citizens’ petition to do the same, please call me at 781-985-0016. I need 10 signatures. I think we need to have it on the ATM warrant as an option should the behavior of the selectmen get any worse. The article would effect the 2013 elections. Basically, the terms of Selectman Paul Carlson and Leland Jenkins would end in 2013 – there would be no Selectmen election. Jenkins said he won’t run anyway and Carlson has already had two terms – more than enough for anybody. In 2014 there would be a Selectmen’s election for one three-year term and one two-year term – Kennedy and Koed could fight over that. In 2015 Carr would be up again and things would proceed as normal. I will explain why the board of selectmen was expanded from three to five in at ATM 2012 in May. It was done for purely political reasons.
Selectmen Diane Kennedy said she was confused as to why the Selectmen’s meeting appeared to be a point/counterpoint between Team Cohasset and Budget Planning. Easy to explain, Diane.
You are an elected member of an ill-informed rogue board. You are breaking the wetlands laws, federal, state and local, turning your town counsel into a prostitute – he won’t win municipal counsel of the year this year after being compromised by your board and signing documents created by the E20’s counsel.
However, you have, quite by accident, hired a strong town manager. He’s smart. He knows how to pull together a team, he’s doing it in spite of all your roadblocks.
I.e., Sewer Commission Chair John Beck and his committee are innocent and after an© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed