Milanoski’s Consulting contract on hold

News/Opinion 

It’s difficult to understand why the discussion of a simple consulting contract with former acting town manager Mike Milanoski would cause two selectmen to talk to myriad lawyers and the Ethics Commission; the chair of the board said he could not go into an executive session over the matter unless the board voted the Rule of Necessity.

The chair is not supposed to propose any motions. Selectman Steve Gaumer, who is rapidly learning nothing, managed to slight Select Chair Fred Koed by saying their was a lack of leadership on the board, failing to recognize that Koed was only looking for a motion from his board.

 The Rule of Necessity can be invoked only when the board is legally required to act. It is not thought that a consulting contract with the former acting town manager is a required vote. It appears to be optional. (Link to Explanation of Rule of Necessity http://wp.me/p3o8kv-3v8.)

 It is well known that former acting town manager Mike Milanoski has been allegedly threatening to sue the majority of the board of selectmen for having created a hostile working environment. It is thought that the consulting contract, a first in the history of Cohasset Town Government for any acting town manager, was being allegedly entertained to appease Milanoski. But according to sources, Milanoski was not looking for a contract in return for agreeing not to sue.

Selectman Steve Gaumer has been thoroughly enraged over town manager candidates and others who might have been litigants against their employers.  At a recent selectmen’s meeting Gaumer stated that a woman who has served as an interim town manager for years could not do so this time because her father was suing the town (Milanoski) for age discrimination. But when it comes to Milanoski, then the rules change.  If Milanoski is threating to sue Fred Koed, Karen Quigley and Martha Gjesteby, that’s ok in his book. Not only is it ok, we’ll give him a consulting contract. 

 If new town manger Christopher Senior, who has been a town manager for 10 years and a town counsel for 10 years, is not interested in a consulting contract with the former town manager, than maybe he’s not the guy Gaumer thought he was, Gaumer said.

In related news, it is doubtful that the stated reason for going into executive session to discuss Milanoski’s special consulting contract was correctly identified. Actually, it’s pretty obvious that it wasn’t. But selectmen never went into executive session to discuss it so that’s water under the bridge.  

Last night’s meeting, a Milanoski drama in all respects, was incredible. It is amazing that Selectmen Diane Kennedy (vice chair) and Steve Gamer were able to utter any fine words about Milanoski who made them look like imbeciles during this entire meeting, on both the issues of the Milanoski consulting contract and the Red Lion Inn hearing.

In a last ditch effort, Gaumer suggested the board create a transition tool for the new Town Manager, where he may draw upon the former to get up to speed.

Select Chair Fred Koed asked for a sense of the board to allow the new town manager to negotiate this help on his own.

Gaumer said no. He said he was up to the employer to offer it. “If he doesn’t use Milanoski he may not be as sharp as we thought.”

 Selectman Martha Gjesteby said she was not able to enter into executive session over the Milanoski consulting contract. “I have advice from my own counsel. And state counsel.”

 Gaumer said he would like to know the basis on why Gjesteby was refusing to go into executive session.

Selectman Karen Quigley told the board she had stated where her advice came from and she intended to follow that advice to not go into executive session.

At this point Gaumer said perhaps an executive session was not necessary. But he thought it was necessary to discuss the transition option and how the cost might be structured. (Cost was never discussed in public session nor were the dynamics of any consulting contract discussed.)

“The way you’re portraying it does not allow for public understanding,” Quigley said.

Koed noted that the board had negotiated a proposed contract, waiting to be signed by Town Manager Elect Chris Senior. 

“Is not a transient plan a contract?” Quigley said. “If we agreed to financial terms it is a contract.” At that point Quigley said she was uncomfortable with the discussion, having had received advice that she should not participate in the discussion, from both state counsel and personal counsel.

Koed then suggested putting the issue of the Milansoki consulting fee on the next agenda, after Senior is here.

“This is getting ridiculous…why kick it down the road?” Gaumer asked.

“With all due respects to town counsel,” Quigley said she was sticking with her Ethics Commission advice to not enter into an executive session.

Koed suggested the committee was heading down a slippery slope. “I was advised unless rule of necessity was voted, to not to participate in executive session.  I think we should just adjourn for now, and regroup.”

 Quigley made a motion to adjourn. Gjesteby seconded.

Gaumer said he had never seen a group of people willing to turn tail and run and said he was disgusted that the board would not offer the acting town manager a consulting contract. Further, he said the motion to do so should come from the chair adding that there was no leadership on the board and said he was disgusted.

Koed asked for a motion to adjourn and got it.  

© Copyright 2014 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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