Rebuttal to Cohasset Mariner’s Editorial on Civil Discourse

Oh Pleeze…..give us a break, Cohasset Mariner.

So many errors and omissions in your editorial and your follow up story my head spins. I recorded the meeting to watch later and find myself being “exposed” by DeCaprio. Did the Mariner ever call me for a statement?  I don’t think so. Wasn’t the reporter even a little curious about HOW DeCaprio got private E-mails?  Not in the least.

There was no back and forth debate between Karen Quigley and Peter DeCaprio. As a private citizen, and town counsel recognizes her as the same, she refused to be summoned to their meeting.

DeCaprio, the Selectmen’s bullet, preformed a soliloquy of hate aided and abetted by the Cohasset Selectmen and ATM Mike Milanoski.  

A citizen called me yesterday to say she thought the selectmen were amazingly restrained, and showed wisdom in not responding to DeCaprio after his performance.

Oh my god, I told her. Don’t get sucked in!! Selectmen produced the show!

1. The E-mails DeCaprio read came directly from former town manager Mike Coughlin’s confiscated computer.

2. The Selectmen’s agent, Acting Town Manager Mike Milanoski turned over the E-mails to his buddy, DeCaprio, to read at the Selectmen’s meeting.

Selectmen were part and parcel of the show, which was to finally expose the Gazette and Quigley for what they were doing….plotting against town government. Hardly. A plot against the Town was being exposed.

3. The E-mails DeCalprio read were from the night I went to a water commission meeting and found DeCaprio having a liquored up party and planning to turn over the water department to a concessionaire. He was telling people he owned the water department. DeCaprio told myriad newspapers that Cohasset Water was a private water company. He even said he might sell the place some day.

One of the very first conversations I had with former Town Manager Mike Coughlin was the week I asked him if the town should be concerned about what appeared to be DeCaprio’s major conflict of interest with MacQuarie Bank of Australia.

I reported this because I was concerned that the Chairman of the Cohasset Water Commission, Peter DeCaprio, who is a partner at Crow Point Partners, was in conflict of interest in discussing an RFP and proposed contract for the Cohasset Water Department with Aquarion Water – who is owned by Sass-Macquaire.  Mass GL c 268A bars public officials with a financial interest in a matter from voting on the matter.  Further, it requires those financially associated to remove themselves from all debate, as participating would make it appear that person would be using his position to influence the outcome.

Initially, selectmen were going to investigate the matter, and then chairman Ted Carr cancelled the ethics investigation.

We, in fact, stopped, or like to think we stopped, DeCaprio from ripping off the town’s water.

He will never forget it. And the Mariner is allowing him to replay his distress over and over again in its newspaper and blog.  Not the Mariner I used to work for.

If the Mariner is truly distressed about the incivility of Cohasset and its citizens, it will stop allowing citizens and town officials in its print publication to publish anything they wish about just about anybody without checking the facts. Years ago newspapers used to do that. The Mariner used to do this. I used to do that when I was the editor of the Cohasset Mariner.

All I can see the Mariner doing right now is promoting incivility in order to get hits on its blogs. Hey readers – better tune in today…see who is attacking you!  It will be fun for us, but not very much fun for you. You of course can respond – defend your honor daily if need be. We will allow you that.

The Mariner wants traffic. That’s all.

The Cohasset Selectmen aren’t leaders – they too want to keep incivility going. Nobody likes them and they’re p-oed that nobody likes them. Selectmen Jenkins is smart –he’s getting out, but not before he fires somebody at the dump. Maybe a couple of people. Selectman P. Carlson thinks Ted Carr’s loss at last year’s election might be a fluke. But he is not really sure and is just beginning to hedge his bets for Town Elections 2013. He’d really like to be a selectman again, he thinks it’s prestigious. He doesn’t know that adjacent towns laugh at Cohasset. I spoke to one of the candidates who applied for the Town Manager’s  job in 2011 earlier today. She is pleased that she was not selected.

Anybody who doesn’t like how I have portrayed them here is of course welcome to respond under their own name.  I will both publish and answer their lies.

© Copyright 2012 Tanna Bk, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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  5 comments for “Rebuttal to Cohasset Mariner’s Editorial on Civil Discourse

  1. October 1, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Ben Bache lives and works in Chicago.

  2. September 29, 2012 at 1:29 am

    The Board of Selectmen fire through their agent, Kid Milanoski.

  3. Mary Snow
    September 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    The Board of Selectmen cannot fire any employee other than the Town Manager.

  4. Mike Coughlin
    September 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Benbache makes a great point- the BOS should not be shy nor biased in their enforcement of their own policy. Part of civil discourse is not to inflame a situation or have their agents take sides. It appears that this may be the case in Cohasset.

    While I was Town Manager in Northbridge I was honored by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette for fighting for the Open Meeting Law as the District Attorney found that a quorum of the Northbridge BOS and the Finance Committee were violating the Open Meeting Law by e-mail. In short, the District Attorney found that there was a government behind a government on the computer screens of a select few.

    When investigating the e-mails, it was discovered that one selectmen deleted all of his e-mails so did the Chair of the Finance Committee. So I know firsthand, the importance of preserving e-mails- including my own. When I was suspended in February, after making copies- I handed my computer over to Acting Town Manager Milanoski. My question– how did Mr. Dicaprio obtain copies of Tanna K’s e-mails to me?

    I not questioning the fact that they are public records– anyone can obtain copies if they make a request to the Acting Town Manager under the Public Records Law and pay the fee that Town Hall now charges. Did Mr. Dicaprio make such a request? Its hypocritical if he did not because the crux of the recent e-mail exchanges with Ms Quigley is her request for public information that she as a right to.

    If Mr Dicaprio did not make a public records request, in the alternative, did Acting Town Manager Milanoski or a BOS member supply them to Mr. Dicaprio– a valid question to determine if the Board itself or its agent has chosen a side or is biased in its approach under the policy.

    If my e-mails were supplied by the BOS, its agent or some other public official, then also broke the policy because it calls for officials to find ways for cooler heads to prevail.

    When I was suspended in February, my computer contained some 5,000 e-mails from virtually every official in town, numerous citizens and reporters from the Boston Globe to the Cohasset Mariner to the Tinytown Gazette.

    One important point about those e-mails– both the ones I sent and those I received. They were all composed PRIOR to the passage of the Code of Civil Discourse. In this country– our Constitution bans the enforcement of Ex Post Facto Laws.

    So what is the point with the e-mails referenced by Mr. DiCaprio at the BOS meeting? At the Mass Municipal Association Conference in January, I attended a seminar on civil discourse and when I returned to Town, I introduced adopting a policy to then Chairman Ted Carr. We all knew- that the e-mail was getting out of control– so it was hoped that GOING FORWARD– the tone of our correspondence would be more diplomatic.

    So what do e-mails sent prior to the adoption of the civil discourse have to do with the recent exchange between Mr Dicaprio and Ms Quigley after the adoption of the policy?

    It is my opinion that Mr.DiCaprio violated the civil discourse policy and its a poor excuse and no defense to the violation to bring up past e-mails– particularly as those e-mails predated the policy.

    Benbache is correct that there are many conflicts in town but perhaps the most troubling conduct is the bias, double standards and double dealing by the very officials who passed and our responsible for enforcing the Code of Civil Discourse.

  5. benbache
    September 26, 2012 at 8:40 am

    It looks to me like the Mariner mostly agrees with the Gazette on one basic point: that Selectmen need to do more to keep town officials in check (although it uses much softer language than the Gazette would use, which is no surprise). For example, the Mariner op-ed says:

    “Selectmen certainly have the power to keep discourse civil in their meetings. They should not squash healthy debate but should wield the gavel when the back-and-forth heads down the road of personal attacks.”

    If the Selectmen took even that very moderate advice, it would help. And there’s no reason they shouldn’t. It’s their own code of conduct. One would think they would not be shy in enforcing it.

    All that said, this brief history helps remind everyone about the bigger issue, which is not the code of conduct, but the conflicts of interest that seem to be flooding this town.

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