Planners vote NO CONFIDENCE in Cohasset Selectpeople


Left to right: William Hannon, Charles Samuelson,
Stuart Ivimey, Clark Brewer, Al Moore

They may be smiling in the photo above, but the Cohasset Planning Board is very upset with the board of selectmen. Planners are the second board in March to send a vote of NO CONFIDENCE to the selectmen, the first being the Cohasset Housing Authority.

The first order of business at planners’ 3/28 meeting was to take umbrage with the board of selectmen (BOS) for having not honored a pay raise for their planning coordinator.

Planner Al Moore read the motion that stated as follows:

In that the Cohasset Board of Selectmen acted and continue to act in a manner that is extremely disruptive to the proper functioning of the Cohasset Planning Board; specifically:

  1. Its unfair treatment of the planning coordinator

2.  Its failure and/or refusal to pay her salary in accordance with the terms of a written contract between her and the town;

3. Its attempt to demote her;

4. Its unilateral attempt to avoid/ignore/renege on the town’s obligations as set forth in said contract, and

5.  Its failure and/or refusal to follow through on assurances made by the chairman of the board of selectmen that the planning coordinator will be “held harmless” of any adverse consequence(s) arising out of its attempt to void/ignore/renege on said contract.

WE THEREFORE are compelled to record a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in the current Board of Selectmen and most strongly recommend it reverse its course of conduct and decisions relative to the planning coordinator.

Directly after Moore read the motion, voted 5-Zip in favor, planner Charles Samuelson said “I think this is a weak motion. I wish there was something we had the power to do.”

After a brief discussion, the board expanded the motion to approve their planning coordinator’s check under protest because it did not reflect the full amount the town is obligated to pay her under her contract. The board further directed the selectmen to approve the planning coordinator’s pay raise and to immediately pay her the balance due.

Also, planners want to direct town counsel to pour through the e-mails and minutes of numerous meetings, telephone conversations, tape recordings proving that many parties conspired to give a new title and pay raise to the planning coordinator. Additionally, her raise was voted at the fall 2011 town meeting.   Furthermore, she had appeared before the selectmen last fall regarding the same and selectmen were well aware of her new impending title and raise, planners said.

Acting Town Manager Michael Milanoski attended the meeting; Milanoski said select chair Ted Carr was unable to accept the planners’ invitation as he was out of town. Planners were not pleased with his absence. They said Carr was invited three days ago and neglected to respond to multiple E-mails from them.  “I’d call that a lack of communications,” Samuelson said. “I’ve heard rumors that this kind of offense could lead to termination.” (Samuelson was referring to the town’s former town manager who was fired for a lack of communication.)

Planners said they had been working on a pay raise for their planning coordinator for years, having spoken with three town managers about the raise they wanted for the woman who runs both their office and the building department.

Planning chair Stuart Ivimey, an attorney, said the planning coordinator had a valid contract . “The former town manager carried the authority … if he tripped over procedure or rule, that doesn’t void the contract. “ Ivimey said if the town didn’t honor this contract (and 10-12 others) it would be involved in a stream of litigation more costly than any of the raises offered.

Milanoski said all of this would be dealt with in the FY13 budget, in addition to personnel policies that would deal fairly with all employees.

Planners said they didn’t care about the FY13 budget. They cared about the FY12 budget and their planning coordinator’s very legal contract with the town. Several times Ivimey had to threaten to use his gavel to keep planners at bay. Ivimey told Milanoski  that the BOS viewed their planning coordinator as low-hanging fruit – a woman who had resigned from the union to take a non-union managerial position and that the BOS decided to side with the union because it was cheaper. “And I think that’s horrible,” Ivimey said.

Milanoski said under the union contract, when a union employee left or was promoted out of the union, collective bargaining became involved.

“Wrong! The employee left the union,” Samuelson said, implying that collective bargaining would not apply in this case.

Planner William Hanon told Milanoski that the town can not treat people ‘retroactively’. “You can’t apply new rules to an old situation,” said, noting that the planning coordinator had a legal contract.

It’s not only unfair, it’s illegal!” Samuelson shouted, after which Ivimey weakly threatened to gavel him.

Ivimey suggested to Milanoski that in order to make the planning coordinator and the other 10-12 contracts whole, the selectmen offer those employees a financial incentive/settlement, something in between what they would have gotten and what they will get in FY13.

Moore said “Never attempt to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time.”

© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed

  12 comments for “Planners vote NO CONFIDENCE in Cohasset Selectpeople

  1. Mike Coughlin
    March 30, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    The Planning Board stated they are looking for documents indicating that all were in agreement with my decision to promote JoAnn to planning coordinator– well here a just a few to lay before Chairman Carr, the Board of Selectmen and the Acting Town Manager

    1) On September 13, I submitted the first set of comprehenseive goals and objectives to the Board of Selectmen #5 Improving Building Planning and Development- outlined my intention to improve the professionalsim of the Planning Department

    2) On November 8, I briefed the Board of Selectmen about our progress– outlining my plan to create the new position of Planning Coordinator

    3) On December 12th, I briefed the Board of Selectmen after the Special Town Meeting that I would be preceding with the appointment of the Planning Coordinator and a part time position.

    4) On January 24, I briefed the Board of Selectmen on Goals and Objectives including those submitted by our new Planning Coordinator.

    It is time for the BOS to honor its commitments and not hurt the innocent. I described by role as Town Manager as that of a coach of the time. At times I invoked the Patriots and Bill Belecheck. When I was fired– Selectperson Kennedy described the BOS as the Kraft family. Well- poor comparision– the Kraft family enever treated the Patriotslike the BOS is. Hopefully they will see that they may a poor decision and reaffirm the contracts

  2. Mike Coughlin
    March 29, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Oh I forgot one point for Peter– the City of Gloucester sued United Water for not fulfilling the obligations of their contract with the city. Sounds like they have the same record of service aas Aquarian in Hingham, Hull and North Cohasset. The Water Commissioners should talk to Mayor Kirk before they sign with United Water if they in fact win. If its Veolia, they should talk to the folks in Lee Massachusetts- Peter talk to their moderator– or should I say ex moderator — after the water business he was voted out of office.

  3. Mike Coughlin
    March 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Just a brief comment about United Water. You don’t have to go to Atlanta to learn about the issues with United Water — just ask the citizens of Gloucester. A citizens group called “Who Decides” fought the attempt by United Water every step of the way. They passed special legislation sponsored by Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Rockport) requiring a 2/3 vote before that community could enter into a concession agreement. The law was recently signed by Governor Patrick. I urge citizens to look at the “Who Decides” website and contact Roz Frontiera who led the effort. As it relates to water– Who Decides — has made a compelling case on why United Water- a subsidiary of the French utility giant Suez International– leaves alot to be desired

  4. March 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Hey Tom – down here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    All I can remember about dispatch is that at one meeting I attended
    Coughlin told selectmen when the center was set up there were supposed to four supervisors, one from each town. When Coughlin discovered that Cohasset had no supervisor he fought to have Cohasset recognized as an equal partner.

    Maybe this is what DeCaprio is talking about. Maybe it is something else. Maybe this part of DeCaprio’s comment was written by Cohasset Townie. Sounds like one of her vague, poorly written complaints.

  5. March 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Do you know what you are, Peter?
    You are a poor winner.

  6. peter decaprio
    March 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm


    Merely raising the point that should have been the focus all along – why would anyone believe anything Coughlin says about anything? If he wants to offer his views on what happened at Planning, I am merely suggesting there might be background he is leaving out (hint, hint). You know, given the history. Caveat Emptor.

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