We’re endorsing two candidates for Cohasset Selectman at the 2013 elections: former selectman Karen Quigley and Russ Bonetti, chair of the Cohasset Preservation Committee.
Cohasset’s Our Town will air the selectmen’s debate on May 1 at 5 p.m. and again at 8 p.m.
Our Town interviews of the candidates appear on 143tv.org for watching any time on your computer. There is also a play schedule throughout the campaign.
Since Selectman Martha Gjesteby took at seat on the board last year, people have been looking for candidates to run against selectmen incumbents.
Select Chair Paul Carlson decided to not run for a third term. Selectman Lee Jenkins is running for a second term. And Steve Gaumer of Capital Budget is running for a first term on the board. There are four candidates for two seats.
There are very few people in town who are not aware of the problems selectmen have been creating for the past several years, starting with Cat Dam.
In 2011 selectmen replaced four important members of the conservation commission in one swift blow. This was done for no other reason than for selectmen to secure a vote for their Cat Dam pals. Selectmen interfered with a permitting board via wholesale cutting in order to do so.
Next, the board hired town manager Mike Coughlin. He told selectmen that he would not be in favor of the water department’s seeking an RFP for a water concession, nor would the Department of Revenue be in favor of any town doing the same. Concurrently, our neighbor Hingham was trying to chew off its hands and feet to get out of its Aquarium Water Trap.
Once town officials knew Coughlin wouldn’t play their game, they tried to freeze Coughlin out. Maybe they could make him quit.
Selectmen had a guy in the wings who would play their tune. When the acting town manager tells you he was a volunteer for two weeks he’s not telling the truth. He was bird-dogging Coughlin for 6 months, attending staff meetings as chair of the governance committee. He knew the job was to be his once Coughlin was gone.
For over one year selectmen wrote and rewrote and rewrote again the acting town manager’s illegal contract ad nauseam. They broke the law to hire him – ignoring our constitution. Jenkins told Our Town interviewers that he read the Town Manager Act differently than Town Counsel. Jenkins said he was willing to keep Milanoski for another year or two.
This past year has not been a pretty one in Cohasset. Former town manager Mike Coughlin has filed a whistle-blower suit against the town.
Former police chief Mark DeLuca is about to file charges, and Mark Brennan (operations department) has filed an age discrimination suit against the town.
It is not widely known that Selectman Martha Gjesteby was forced to hire an attorney to defend herself from her own board. She turned them into the Attorney General.
No one has been safe from this board of selectmen or its acting town manager, not even our town counsel, who the acting town manager decided to do away with, we surmise on a whim because selectmen all denied it, two months ago.
Apparently, more suits are on the way – most if not all emanating from an acting town manager who had never been a town manager but whom selectmen paid $153,000 a year.
Steve Gaumer of Cap Budget says he’s a process person. He says the Town Manager Act is very clear about the separation of the Town Manager.
He says if you’re going to have a town manager, “Let him manage.” But what if the town manager isn’t experienced enough to manage? Who steps in to help him?
This year it was Selectman Fred Koed and selectmen renegotiated town contracts for weeks. Selectmen spent about 25 or 30 hours pulling stuff out of contracts that should not have been there. There wasn’t time to work on getting Fireman 1 out of the police contract. That will have to be negotiated out three years from now.
Karen Quigley gets it.
She told Our Town “I am dismayed over unnecessary litigation and the unintended consequences of utilizing inexperienced managers and leaders. Until recently, the board of selectmen gave the acting town manager full support in all the actions that have happened up until now.”
When Our Town asked Quigley if Cat Dam was worth fighting for, she responded: “It’s always worth fighting for something that will improve the environment. But I’m not running for selectman to bring back the issues that will continue to put us in turmoil. But I will continue to speak out, because speaking out on issues educates the public. If you don’t speak to the truth, you just might not bother at all.”
Russ Bonetti gets it.
Bonetti didn’t have to be cajoled into running for selectmen. He’d been thinking about it for years.
He told Our Town he was upset over selectmen’s treatment of the conservation commission, he called it a wholesale cutting. He said permitting boards benefit from institutional knowledge and when that knowledge if removed it leaves the board without knowledge.
Also, Bonetti said he planned to vote against the Town Manager Act amendment at annual town meeting, that it needed more work and he felt the town manager needed some serious qualifications. (Annual Town Meeting voted for the amendment.)
Do You Get it?
We need two tried, true and trusted people on the board of selectmen.
Selectmen need to have good heads on their shoulders.
They can’t be second-guessing town counsel – that’s not in their paid grade. We are not electing them to be Frank Sinatra and do it their way.© Copyright 2013 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed