Response to Jack Keniley’s E-mail to Cohasset Voters

John Edward (Jack) Keniley of Stafford Venturesllc, located at 760 CJC Highway, Cohasset sent an email to Cohasset residents on September 4, asking them to lobby Cohasset Select Chair Fred Koed regarding Acting Police Chief Bill Quigley’s pending appointment. Keniley is a member of the Cohasset Governance committee, the Budget Planning Committee, and is chairman of the Capital Budget committee.

Keniley now calls himself .

Subject: Fwd: Please support Bill Quigley for Police Chief

Date: September 4, 2013 6:08:53 PM EDT

Keniley told his email list that Quigley had many supporters and this is true. But he also said that Cohasset Selectman Chair Fred Koed and the board of selectmen had been playing politics with the appointment for over 6 months.

“They have twice cancelled efforts to conduct a search for the permanent Chief of Police. In that time, they have never vocalized why they do not want to appoint Mr. Quigley to the position. They have only been willing to say they want to leave the decision to the “new” town manager.”

Keniley, who has been a large presence at most Selectmen’s meetings,  and who is a constant presence at town hall, surely should be aware that the boards of 2012-13 and 2013-14 have been very vocal in their problems with the Police Chief Search. And, they gave a lot more reasons than waiting for a permanent town manager.

 JUNE 28 –new board of selectmen is seated –Police Chief Search halted – reasons given by selectmen:

Selectman Steve Gaumer said halting the police chief search would scare away really good candidates, but said it had already accomplished that by tailoring the qualifications to mirror that of the acting chief.

Selectman Chairman Fred Koed said he supported the motion to halt the police chief search process. He said his goal had been to hire a professional firm to advertise for and receive resumes for police chief. He said he was in favor of the Collins Center for advertising for and receiving resumes for town manager because he wanted that professionalism.

Selectman Karen Quigley said the acting town manager should not be making permanent hires, and that former acting/interim managers had refrained from doing so.  What Quigley did not say is that the acting town manger will have been with us for two years in the early months of 2014, an incredibly long and unusual and illegal appointment.

Koed said: “There are a whole slew of people who could not apply because of the lieutenant restriction. I had no knowledge of that restriction until recently. (The acting chief served 5 years as a police lieutenant, and that became part of the advertised qualifications.) Koed said this is one of the reasons he wanted an outside group to advertise for the position and receive resumes.

APRIL, 9, 2013 – Cohasset Selectmen Vote 5-0 to Set Aside Cohasset Police Search – It is a month before town elections.  Paul Carlson, Lee Jenkins, Diane Kennedy, Fred Koed and Martha Gjesteby voted to halt the search.

April 9, 2013 Meeting News Summary

Acting town manager Mike Milanoski gave selectmen a very poor accounting of his search for police chief. He had advertised on one non-public secure site for all of 14 days. The second (password protected) site on which he tried to place his ad, Mass Chiefs, published his ad on April 5, for an April 8th deadline. This was their fault, he said. “They dropped the ball.”

When Milanoski discussed with selectmen his rationale for writing the ad, four of five selectmen balked. Milanoski explained how in February he met with the board of selectmen to discuss hiring a police chief. He said the board suggested he go out for a public search and to make clear that the town had a strong internal candidate. It is unclear why this discussion was held in executive session.

Last night, Milanoski had planned to extend the search by two more weeks, rewrite the ad to take out some of the job description posted, such as the strong language noting that the town had a strong internal candidate (advised by counsel after the fact).

He did have plans for an excellent community review process. Participants would include a former chief, a local judge, an external town manager, a current police chief and more. Only problem is, his candidates might not be so excellent. Particularly if they didn’t have that little two-day Leeds school course that Acting Police Chief William Quigley took.

But the job posting had other problems that selectmen learned about during discussion. 
Milanoski wanted only Mass police officers to apply, no one from out of state because they wouldn’t be current with our laws. And he wanted only employed officers, not anyone unemployed. (How soon we forget.)

Selectman candidate Russ Bonetti said he read the strong internal candidate line as discriminatory, and he thought someone with a masters in criminal justice could catch up with the laws pretty quickly.

Koed worried that applicants were instructed to not even apply if they did not graduate from an FBI Leed or Leeda Command school. Koed said that was absurd. He also noted that the selectmen never saw a copy of the ad before it went out. In fact, the ad went out the day before their March 26th meeting. A copy of the ad was in their packets that night. On March 26 Milanoski was vague about where the ad had been posted. Perhaps he himself did not post the ad.

Select chair Paul Carlson disagreed that the ultimate candidate had to have a master’s degree or a BS in Criminal Justice. He said a police officer with experience could be chief if he completed his degree by a certain date.

“Why are we discussing candidates? Koed said, adding that Chief Sampson told him that it’s highly recommended that patrolmen have bachelor’s degrees…why not for the top command?

Selectman Diane Kennedy asked Milanoski about the new posting for chief that he was contemplating until the selectmen shot it down. “Does the new advertisement still have the same language?

Milanoski responded: “Do we really want someone out of state? I would argue we don’t.” He added again that he wanted someone currently employed. “We’re looking for an existing Mass police chief,” who he said had demonstrated his interest in advancing to a higher position by having participated in Leeda and other certifications.

Kennedy said a search committee weeds people out.

Gjesteby said she wanted an ad in the MMA bulletin and the Globe… “I would like a masters degree, too.”

Citizen Agnes McCann noted that the town manager had proceeded in this endeavor without having followed proper procedures. “Did town counsel see this?”

Milanoski said he didn’t know when town counsel saw the ad.

Koed asked Milanoski to explain why he required one of three Leeda courses and not the others. Milanoski said he would be happy to give Koed a print out of the program.

Koed then explained the Leeda program to him, saying that Chief Sampson had said this requirement was unusual and perverse. “Someone with a doctorate could be denied this course because he did not have this 2 day program taught by police office graduates, not the FBI.”

Milanoski said Koed was throwing out sound bites for the press. “I followed the lead given by selectmen), now we’re looking at this based upon the direction provided me.”

Selectman Lee Jenkins, speaking from Skype, said “The process has been broken. I think we have to go to a 30-day advertisement, and we should hear Wayne Sampson. Maybe next Wednesday, Thursday or Friday we go out with a new request.”

Kennedy said she agreed, adding that the acting town manager has made a lot of mistakes, but said it would be wrong to continue the search. ‘I’m sorry you had to take the beating you have,” she told Milanoski. “We did have a session, we did discuss the job, Martha asked when are we going to get it posted. We need to take the blame. It is clear that I do think the job description was not written as well as it should have been.”

Gjesteby said “Everything in life is not perfect. Let’s go back and do it right….we represent the Town of Cohasset.

April 17, 2013 In a nutshell, Cohasset Selectmen voted 5-0 to continue with a search for Police Chief. The board will fold into the search the nine or ten resumes it has already received from the previous, suspended search that the board noted was not publicly advertised.

A consultant will be hired ($6,000-$7,000) who will assist the selectmen in putting together an assessment center. If candidates have 30 days to respond to a new ad, as seletmen suggested,  a newly constituted board of selectmen (Annual Elections are May 11) will get final dibs on the candidate chosen. Selectmen’s power is only that they can say no to the acting town manager’s final choice. It appears they have now taken over how the search will be conducted, unless the acting town manager decides to challenge his bosses’ 5-0 vote.

Several times during the evening acting town manager Mike Milanoski advised the board that he would make the final choice on who would be selected. “You get the final vote on my appointment,” he told Selectman Fred Koed.

 Discussion and debate leading up to the vote to hire a consultant

When Select Chair Paul Carlson suggested that “we” could do the advertisement, Koed disagreed, saying he wanted a consultant to write the ad.

Milanoski said the town didn’t have the money for the assessment center and consultant ($15,000 or $16.000) and that the board didn’t have the authority to require the same.  He suggested the board converse with town counsel.

Mary Snow said: “As Joe public, I don’t want anything less than what Fred is asking for.”

Milanoski asked the board: “Do you find the (police) department broken.” He added that anybody in the area who sees the ad is going to know that the town has a strong, internal candidate.

Koed said he would be happy to have an internal search in the police department, “But there’s only one candidate, internally. That’s why I want to go outside. I work for the voters and they want a search.”

Milanoski asked again: “Why are we going outside?”

Koed:  “It’s good public policy. Public jobs should be publicly advertised.”

Selectman Lee Jenkins: “Fred said the whole thing.” He backed up Koed’s request for a 30-day search, including the 9 resumes that had already come.

Milanoski then told the board that he did not want politics to enter the police department.   “They have laws to enforce the law without politics, and they’ve been doing their part for the past 10 years.” Milanoski added that some appointed and elected town officials had had family members arrested and summoned…they broke the law….” At that point Agnes McCann, and Selectwomen Diane Kennedy and Martha Gjesteby all stopped Milanoski in his tracks.

Kennedy said: “This has nothing to do with the search.”

Agnes McCann called Milanoki’s comments “a red herring,” …we want to accomplish confidence going forward

Gjesteby said: “The community is very upset with this board.”

Koed said an independent assessment center was his number one priority and he wanted to have it comprised of police chiefs with no connection to Cohasset.

Milanoski said the assessment center does not have to cost anything. We can get independent chiefs to do it for lunch and dinner.

Koed told Milanoski: “I prefer that others manage that selection instead of you. Nothing personal.”

MARCH 27  2013 – Milanoski Ad for New Cohasset Police Chief REEKs of Hotwiring Cohasset Selectmen (most of them, anyway) were surprised when they learned this past week that Acting Town Manager Mike Milanoski has advertised for a police chief. The board never got to talk with Milanoski about what it might want in a new chief. Apparently, Milanoski e-mailed the advertisement to the Cohasset Police Department personnel – which is where I got it, indirectly.

MARCH 23, 2013 Selectman Fred Koed showed up and took responsibility for having not personally reviewed a police contract thoroughly – a police contract that was not even understood by the board of selectmen or acting town manager Mike Milanoski. The total cost would be $64,000 a year, plus other unknown costs, according to Koed. Advisory chair Peter Pescatore told selectmen his committee had discussed the police contract at great length and approved it. But it’s obvious now that advisory didn’t understand the legal implications.

MARCH 22 Koed’s prepared remarks Selectmen’s March 22, meetingMr. Chairman, I have serious public policy concerns around the Cohasset Police contract1 recently negotiated on behalf of the Cohasset Board of Selectmen by the Acting Town Manager. That contract was signed by all of us as selectmen in late January.

On review of the contract by this Board, I trusted the Acting Town Manager’s explanation of the highlights of the document. Unfortunately, one item in the contract that was neither mentioned by the Acting Town Manager, nor reviewed by this Board, is one that marks the biggest single change to the Cohasset Police and Fire Departments in the history of the Town.

We are prohibited by the executive session requirements of the Open Meeting Law from going into the specifics of what was discussed in our legally closed session of January 29. It is clear to me however that the items in question were not reviewed in any meeting of this or any other board or committee of the Town.

It is just as clear to me that the Acting Town Manager negotiated an absolutely revolutionary change in the operation of our public safety agencies. He did so without the guidance of this Board or review by the citizens and taxpayers of Cohasset.”

MARCH 20, 2013  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.

© Copyright 2013 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed