Response to Peter DeCaprio’s commentary in another newspaper

DeCaprio: Last week, we learned Fred Koed skipped town meeting and a vote on our town manager to work Lawrence’s mayoral recount.  According to the Patriot Ledger, this bothered some in town.

Tinytown Unleashed: We too wish Koed had chosen to attend town meeting, at which he, as chair of the board of selectmen, is the town’s top tamale. But he is also a leader in the Democrat Party, and has become a recount specialist. He told his board of selectmen to choose the finalists and continue without him. He trusted them to be able to move on. Alas, the board found itself stalemated, again.  

In 1987 we created the five-member board of selectmen in order that selectmen could have private lives, could have hip replacements, attend funerals in far off lands, die, participate in a recount election if necessary, and not put the board in a quandary. In no way did Koed put his board or the Town in any jeopardy or attempt to tie his board’s hands.

 Fred Koed has served the Town of Cohasset in so many roles over so many years that we have almost lost track. When in 1993 the water department found itself in a major crisis, it was Koed who ran for election and in three years turned the plant around. He has served on the Town’s advisory committee; he is chairman of the Norfolk County Advisory Board.  For the past 20 years he has served as State Committeeman to the MA Democratic Party. He has been a Cohasset Selectman for 15 years.

Koed is employed as EHS-IT Desktop Support Manager at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. He supervises 6 Metro Boston LEHS-IT Support Staff that support over 2700 PC’s, Laptops and Printers at 25 locations.

 He is the elected Treasurer of The Alumni Association of the University of Massachusetts Boston Board of Directors.

 In every part of his life friends and co-workers and political opponents and proponents have recognized Koed as a leader, not a ducker-outer. Not a shirker. A doer.

Koed keeps his cool. Argues with facts. Doesn’t write long commentaries in anybody’s newspaper showing disdain for his board members. Doesn’t attack fellow board members of anybody on his Facebook Page. He’s an above-board guy. 

The fact that the Mariner Newspapers and the Patriot Ledger are working together to disparage Koed’s long-standing service to his community, and are doing it on a weekly basis, is heartbreaking.

DeCaprio: Mr. Koed can communicate with Mike Coughlin and Mark DeLuca as they go about suing the town, but can’t admit that he was in Lawrence instead of attending to our business.

Tinytown Unleashed: Mark DeLuca is not communicating with anybody. He is in a rehab facility where he will be for a long time. Also, there is no DeLuca lawsuit as far as we know. To our knowledge, Koed is not communicating with Coughlin about anything.

DeCaprio: Consider this: just two days after excluding Milanoski from our search, the Collins Center, which rewrote our criteria at the behest of Karen Quigley, recommended him as a finalist in Carver.  The Carver and Cohasset job descriptions on the Collins Center website are virtually identical.  It defies logic then that the Collins Center thought Milanoski a good candidate for Carver but not us.

Tinytown Unleashed:  The Cohasset Town Manager Act does not permit Milanoski’s being hired as a Town Manager. The Amended Town Manager’s Act will probably not be signed by the governor until sometime in January 2014, at which time Milanoski would become eligible. Until the time of that signing, Milanoski is illegal in Cohasset.

 A second point is that Milanoski has only 20 months experience working for an elected board (Cohasset) that makes decisions in public. Both boards of selectmen, Cohasset and Carver requested that the finalists have 5-7 years experience with an elected board. Carver caved on the 5-7 years experience with an elected board, probably deferring to Milanoski’s interesting background in economic development and planning. Carver has a fragile, rural economy. Milanoski’s enthusiasm and know-how might be just the ticket for Carver.

DeCaprio:  Now Mr. Koed and Ms. Quigley force us to choose an unknown for town manager whose qualifications, according to the Collins Center, are identical to Mr. Milanoski.  Because of them, we just spent $13,000 to roll the dice. Mr. Milanoski was once a finalist for another town manager position only a short time into his tenure here.  He declined because he was promised a two-year contract extension and he wanted to make sure Cohasset’s ship was righted. 

Tinytown Unleashed: It is not clear that Milanoski has been a finalist in any town but Carver. We are researching Stoughton and Milton.

DeCaprio: Recently, Ms. Quigley and Martha Gjesteby have tried to undo the makeup of town committees and commissions based on individual attendance records.  They would like to pack these commissions with people who will vote their way, and they have used attendance records as the excuse to boot loyal, hardworking townspeople that don’t share their views.  If missing a meeting is enough to be kicked off the Conservation Commission, what does it mean when the selectmen chair skips a vote? 

 Tinytown Unleashed: DeCaprio is talking about state law regarding permitting boards. We recently passed this law at December’s special town meeting. The Conservation Commission has a special problem because it has a lot of no-show members. According to state law, all they can miss is one session of a hearing.  The article was passed unanimously; it had nothing to do with Selectmen Gjesteby and Quigley. Nothing at all. It was an article submitted by Woody Chittick, chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Special Town Meeting Article 4

 Acceptance of M.G.L. c39, Section 23D – adoption of state law. Close court cases (not necessarily Cohasset)  have been lost because permitting board members (i.e., Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Health, Sewer, Water) have missed multiple meetings and then they are up to date on the hearing matter, but they aren’t.

According to Woody Chittick, chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, who addressed the advisory committee on this article recently, the ONE SESSION EXCEPTION allows permitting board members to miss one meeting, acquaint themselves with plans, bring themselves up to date. Note that a hearing can have many sessions, so the permitting board member is not really missing a hearing; she or he is missing a session. If the person misses a second session, the only option at that point is to go to court and plead before a judge that you’re up to speed.

DeCaprio: The politicization of town government by Koed, Quigley and Gjesteby continues amok because it can. We have no recall mechanism.  Like Obamacare, Koed, Quigley and Gjesteby can ram through all votes on a party line basis with no concern for the will of the town because nothing is stopping them except good judgment and common decency. 

Tinytown Unleashed: Koed, Quigley and Gjesteby usually vote in the majority.

Koed is a Democrat. Quigley and Gjesteby are Republicans. There is nothing about this that suggests any of them are voting along a party line. Diane Kennedy is a Democrat and Steve Gaumer is a Republican. All five individuals are apparently voting their principles and philosophies.

DeCaprio: In the 2011 four-way election for selectman, Diane Kennedy received 1,062 votes and Fred Koed 813.  In 2013’s four-way election, Steve Gaumer received 906 votes and Karen Quigley 805.  So, Kennedy and Gaumer garnered 20 percent more of the town’s vote than Koed and Quigley. If we had to vote on every issue before us, the Koed, Quigley, Gjesteby agenda would stand no chance. Bill Quigley would be Chief of Police, Mike Milanoski Town Manager, and conservation policies would be equitably applied based on the law instead of emotion and naked political ambition.

DeCaprio: We once threw tea into a harbor to protest tyrannical policies and abject stupidity.  Maybe it is time for another tax revolt.  At the very least, we should make the ballot box a true extension of the will of the town.

Tinytown Unleashed: Every May the will of registered voters makes itself heard. We are sure it will happen again in May 2014.


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