The weather may have been a convenient ruse for canceling the Selectmen’s meeting tonight (Tues., March 19). The meeting is rescheduled for Thurs., March 21.
Selectmen scurried to cancel Tuesday’s meeting when they learned that the National Firefighters Union was about to charge the town with unfair labor practices, and may still do so. At a recent meeting of the state fire association the issue of Cohasset was first on the agenda.
At issue is a portion of the 2013 police contract that deals with training police officers for fire duties. There are Level Two and Level Three Specialists in the police contract, in all four positions wages are To Be announced. Level Two Specialist includes an EMT/EMT-P and a Firefighter One. Level Three Specialist includes a First Responder/AED and a Training Officer.
The local, state and national firefighters unions have said anything that goes into the police contract regarding fire fighting must be negotiated with them.
Town officials say, unbeknownst to selectmen, illegal acting town manager Mike Milanoski negotiated the police contract without assistance from labor counsel. It is standard practice for any town manager to go into a negotiating session with a team, and the second part of the team is almost always labor counsel. The fact that an inexperienced acting town manager would dare to negotiate a contract alone raises all kinds of red flags.
Negotiations with local firefighters started out with labor counsel from Deutsche Williams, but at the last session (Monday, March 18) labor counsel was dismissed and selectman Lee Jenkins acted as Milanoski’s “second.”
At Monday’s meeting local firefighters promptly dismissed Milanoski and Jenkins, saying they would refuse to negotiate with a selectman. When Milanoski asked them what they were going to do without a contract – they had to inform him of Evergreen: the last contract is in force until the new contract is negotiated. Firefighters also complained that Milanoski is an amateur.
A secondary issue regarding all of the above is that any reorganization of departments must go to town meeting. Creating fire positions in a police contract is akin to reorganizing public safety. It has to go to town meeting so people can decide on whether they want a public safety department as opposed to a separate police and fire department. The current Town Manager’s Act calls for a Police Chief and Fire Chief – not a public safety commissioner. Legally, the public safety commissioner does not exist.
Milanoski’s plans have been discussed NO WHERE. All of his carts are running without a horse – the Engine that is Town Meeting.
It is well past the time that this board of selectmen recognize the error of their ways, retire Mr. Milanoski, give him his three months severance pay, thank him for his efforts, and send him along.
And while selectmen are at it – they should table Governance’s Town Manager Act Amendment for another year. This town needs an experienced Town Manager and two new selectmen.
This is no way to run a town.© Copyright 2013 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed