This and That from BoS meeting 7/31

While it is gratifying to see many of the processes and procedures I advocated as a selectman finally being implemented, it is also elicits mixed emotions. Why not then? Well, the answer is that it depends on who brings the idea forward and whether or not you’re in the ‘in-crowd’. See my overtly sarcastic comments about the Acting Town Manager.

*****I was most impressed by our new Treasurer, Jane Lepardo’s presentation. She is professional, experienced, appears extremely competent, and has a true appreciation of her statutory authority – and isn’t afraid to use it! She is not easily, if at all, intimidated. Her policy is equal treatment: it doesn’t matter who you are or who you know.

What she has accomplished in two weeks is long overdue and astonishing: identifying/merging/consolidating bank accounts to those with government banking departments; hired a new Deputy Collector more conveniently located in Scituate; initiated the use of lock boxes; canceled the PO box and is letting the PO deliver the mail; sent out 800 demand notices for unpaid excise taxes in FY12 – and she’s not waiving the interest; converting payroll to biweekly and no longer paying ahead especially for overtime; sent out 55-60 refunds; evaluating and reorganizing office space based on who does what, security and privacy; and will be placing liens on unpaid water/sewer bills. Impressive by any standard!

She and Mary Gallagher, the Finance Director, are a fearsome twosome. I now have confidence that our finance department will be properly run – it’s too bad it took so long for our town officials to find it acceptable/affordable. Let’s just hope Mary & Jane don’t run afoul of the powers-that-be.

*****I’m confused about the not-so-dark police station and how it’s not going to cost us any more money. I thought we negotiated the minimum manning for the night shift out of the contract during the last negotiations and that we were staffing with 2 not 3 when possible. The new proposal brought forward by Team Milanoski/Quigley (William, not me) has the staffing level at 3 at all times. If I’m right, no wonder the Union is happy.

Just FYI, I don’t care what the professionals say or what the reality is. If the community doesn’t feel safe then we need to staff. The community will need to be willing to pay for it.

*****Now to that pesky Martha Gjesteby and her insistence that an RFP be issued for the Town Manager position. When she again brought it up, the outrage and defenses were immediate. The Selectmen think Acting Town Manager Milanoski walks on water! Whatever is she thinking!

Not to worry, BoS chair, Paul Carlson, will fix her wagon. At the next BoS meeting, they will hold an open review/evaluation of Mr. Milanoski. No public comment solicited or desired. There will be more gushing praise, expressions of admiration and tributes. MM’s contract and status will be confirmed. Please don’t waste our time. Just vote to approve/extend his contract.

I can’t speak for Mrs. Gjesteby but I think the BoS owe us, the public they presumably work for, a search for the best qualified candidate for Town Manager and not someone hand-picked, not publicly vetted and without any prior experience. It won’t cost anything as the consultant from the previous search guarantees that if it doesn’t work out in a short timeframe, he does the second search for free. I think we can all attest that for a lot of reasons it didn’t work out. Of course, the BoS make the final selection and we could go through the process and end up with the same result.

*****As I said above, a lot of what is being implemented now, I agree with and is good for the Town. The problem, as I see it, is that it isn’t MM who brought these initiatives forward. No, it was that incompetent auditor, John Sullivan; that yokel, Steve Lombard; that horrible Karen Quigley; and that incompetent, non-communicative Mike Coughlin. (Sarcasm intended.) But as I started out saying, it all depends on whom you are so MM gets the support and approval and credit. Bottom-line is that the Town benefits. It’s just a bit galling.

*****How come the Water Commission was unaware until the threat of a dam inspection that the major/key valve that prevents flooding is 39 years old, old technology that is no longer available, doesn’t meet a new state regulatory statute, and is rusting? If this valve failed it would flood out Beechwood and North Scituate. Not a small matter.

It will cost $70,000 borrowed from the Town until Town Meeting can approve a capital expenditure to be paid by the water ratepayers. Public safety demands it. All I ask is that the WC initiate a regular maintenance program for the new valve. Maybe they were too busy posting scathing comments on the local blogs.

*****I’m not surprised that the legal budget is over by 100%. Are you? The permitting boards, Planning, ZBA and ConCom always have some litigation over their decisions. Seems things are bit more contentious and litigious these days over property rights. In some towns the applicant pays the cost to defend the permit. Why don’t we?

Which brings us to Treat’s Pond and Cat Dam. ‘Nuff said.

And then there are all the legal bills due to the BoS suspending and terminating the former Town Manager and, currently the Police Chief. More to come with law suits on these.

*****What’s with MM calling me out for costing the Town $8,000 in legal fees by filing a complaint with the AG’s office? I didn’t cost the Town $8,000. The Sewer Commission did by breaking procurement laws. No small thing. It wasn’t a frivolous complaint: they were found guilty. It could have all been avoided if they had just taken my advice. But no. Why would MM want to remind the community the Commission broke the law?

*****Cat Damn. It’s finally over. At least 6 years of endless discussion, debate, discord, threats and expense. The end result: nothing changes.

Indulge me one last time. 1) The appellate group’s goal was not to defeat the NOI. It was, based on comments by professional environmental agents that this NOI did not meet MA Water Quality Standards not was in compliance with the Clean Water Act, would not improve the environment, and might even harm it, to have DEP, presumably independent of local politics, improve the NOI’s conditions. 2) They did not cost the Town $50,000. The BoS, ConCom and E-20 did.

Long meeting and the best decisions are not made after 10pm at night. Not to mention the viewing public needs to get our beauty sleep. More going on. More meetings. Put on your big boy/girl boots. You asked for the job.

© Copyright 2012 , All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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  1 comment for “This and That from BoS meeting 7/31

  1. Callahan
    August 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    And I see signs of policies I put forward 12 years ago! I was not part of the “in”crowd of my time. Alas, but not my policy on public-private partnerships, or the Cat Dam situation would have been conducted very differently.

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