Age Discrimination Complaint filed against Cohasset

Tinytown Unleashed learned late on election day that Mark Brennan, former special assistant to the illegal Town Manager, has filed an age  discrimination suit against the Town and its illegal Town Manager, Michael Milanoski. The complaint was filed October 18th., 2012. This comes at a particularly awkward time for Milanoski, and the board of selectmen, as they anticipate a lawsuit from former Town Manager Mike Coughlin, which will be filed before Christmas. Also, a  suspended police chief is waiting in the wings. It is thought that suspended police chief  Mark DeLuca will ask for a hearing in January.

In related Milanoski news, Selectman would like to change the Town Manager’s Act at the Dec. 10th special meeting in order to make their contract with Milanoski valid. But with all the controversy stirring, it might not be a great time to ask Town Meeting to relax the rules for their very special guy who has caused turmoil and division at Cohasset Town Hall.

The Town has until December 5th to respond to both Brennan and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. 

Brennan’s two-page complaint is as follows:

I, Mark D. Brennan, believe that I have been discriminated against on the basis of age.

1.  I am 64 years old.

2.  In or around January 2005, the town of Cohasset hired me to work as a special assistant to the Town Manager. Cohasset is managed jointly by a Board of Selectmen and a Town Manager.

3.  In my work for the town, a co-worker (age 76) and I were in charge of various projects for the town, including overseeing the Greenbush commuter rail line’s construction through town. Over the next 7 years, my responsibilities grew and I was also in charge of all major construction projects in the town. My specific responsibilities included, but were not limited to: overseeing engineers; overseeing contractors; creating and maintaining project budgets; and writing grant applications to obtain money for the town to fund these projects.

4.  My work load was always full time.

5.   Steve Lombard (age 70+), acting town Manager in 2010-2011, suggested that I become the Director of Operations for the town, and I accepted the role. In August of2011, the Board of Selectmen and the new Town Manager, Michael Coughlin (age 50+), voted to put me into this position until it could be officially voted on at Town Meeting in May o f2012.

6.  In January of 2012, Michael Coughlin presented me and 11 other employees with employment contracts, detailing the compensation and other terms and conditions for our positions. The agreements were signed by the Town Manager and all employees. Shortly thereafter, the Board of Selectmen removed Mr. Coughlin from his position and unilaterally rescinded the contracts. In doing so, the Board of Selectmen publically stated that no employees would be harmed or lose their jobs as a result of this action.

7.  Around this same time, the Board of Selectmen placed Michael Milanoski in as Acting Town Manager. Mr. Milanoski is 43 years old and prior to being placed in this role had no experience as a Town Manager. It should be noted that Mr.  Milanoski was a personal friend of then Board of Selectman Chairman, Edwin (Ted) Carr.

8.  Almost immediately upon starting in his role as interim Town Manager, Mr. Milanoski undermined my role by refusing to meet with me to discuss projects and by refusing to allow me to bring on my staff member (age 75) who had worked with me since our hire in 2005.

9.  On March 30, 2012, Mr. Milanoski terminated my employment, alleging that he didn’t have the money to pay me.

10.  Shortly thereafter, I contacted Board of Selectmen member Paul Carlson who then contacted Ted Carr, Board Chairman to have a meeting regarding my termination. They contacted me and invited me to a meeting. I met with them at Mr. Carlson’s home and both he and Ted Carr assured me that they would “make me whole.” We discussed the permanent position that I had just been terminated from being voted in at town meeting in May of 2012 and they assured me that this position was still a perfect fit for me. They also stated that between April and the town meeting vote, they would have me work on a project by project basis until such time that the position could be made permanent.

11. I met with Mr.Milanoski on April 9, 2012 to discuss my interim working arrangement and he insisted that I sign a one sentence waiver in order to have access to the future work. I signed the waiver, but was not told to consult with an attorney and·was not given 21 days to review it. The waiver did not refer to age discrimination laws.

12. While I continued to work for the town in this interim capacity, Mr. Milanoski continued to be degrading to me. He stripped me of my office and was generally unavailable whenever I attempted to meet with him.

13. During this time-frame, Mr. Milanoski placed the police chief P. Delucca on an unpaid administrative leave.

14. This maltreatment culminated in a meeting where Mr. Milanoski accused me of inappropriately billing my work, which I had not done. I denied any wrongdoing. He stated to me:

”Coughlin was easy. Delucca was easy. I don’t know why you are so hard.”

15. While I continued to work for the town, my permanent position (described above) was posted. I applied.

16. I learned by newspaper article that Mr. Milanoski had selected a 39 year old candidate for my position. The position is responsible for all of the responsibilities and job duties that I carried out for the previous 7 years.

17. Mr. Milanoski has publically stated that the town hall “looks” great with all of the “new” people he’s been able to bring in.                                                                      ·

18. Furthermore, since his placement into the role of interim town manager, Mr. Milanoski has hired 4 new people, all of whom are significantly younger than me.

© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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  1 comment for “Age Discrimination Complaint filed against Cohasset

  1. Mike Coughlin
    November 7, 2012 at 1:38 am

    I hope Mark Brennan calls me as a witness because his case is a home run. For Mr. Milanoski, the Board of Selectmen and their puppetmasters its a strikeout.

    Strike One: on Mark Brennan’s contract and those of other employees, the Strong Town Manager Act gives the Board of Selectmen the right to act on appointments not contracts. Mr. Brennan’s appointment was acted on by the Board of Selectmen. Historically, and I was guided by Chief Bob Silvia, the department head with the longest institutional memory of past practice in Cohasset reveals that contracts were usually a matter between the Town Manager and the Department head.

    For Mark Brennan – jackpot. For the taxpayers – a bill (potentially over $250K) for the remainder of Brennan’s contract before Interim Town Manager Milanoski voided it.

    Strike Two: Like Mark, I also met with Paul Carlson and Ted Carr. No one can depend on anything they said nor trust that they will do what is ethical. Just ask Ted on why he didn’t disclose that his employer Rasky Baerlin was the hired political gun to shoot down Physician Assisted Suicide when he portrayed himself as merely a “former Cohasset official” when he penned a “ghost written” op-ed for the Cohasset Mariner.

    But who needs Carlson and Carr to prove their case when you have Selectman Lee I don’t care about the law Jenkins. On multiple occasions, Jenkins told me he didn’t think Brennan was qualified because he was only a mechanical engineer but went one to use age discrimination codewords like civil engineers have “new ways” of thinking.

    Strike Three: Peter DeCaprio– need I say more. When I tasked Mark with overseeing the water concession contract, he clashed with Commissioner DeCaprio. Once again, DeCaprio’s public statements let alone what he said in private only sinks the town further while helping Mark prove his claim that Milanoski committed age discrimination. Let’s just take one example. in cases before the Mass Commission Against Discrimination, use of terms like “hack” has been found to be an age discriminatory code word in government employment situations.

    All said, like Red Sox owner John Henry finally had to admit that Manager Bobby Valentine was a mistake, maybe it’s time that the Board of Selectmen and their owner Ralph Dormitzer admit that Mike Milanoski is also a mistake. Maybe Ralph Dormitzer should also admit that there is a growing backlash against his efforts to manipulate Cohasset government and ram changes through at the December Special Town Meeting.

    What Dormitzer doesn’t realize is that government is system for the people and that means all the people– not a chosen few.

    What Ralph Dormitzer doesn’t realize that people like Mark Brennan will fight for their families when they are attacked and their jobs taken away.

    What Ralph Dormitzer doesn’t realize that people like Mark Brennan will also fight when their integrity is unfairly attacked.

    I am but one but countless people can say without hesitation is that Mark Brennan is a man of the highest integrity. Yet, Mr. Milanoski apparently accused him of improper billing. Bunk! It’s just as outrageous as Mike Milanoski trumping up charges against Police Chief Mark DeLuca.

    Is anyone seeing a pattern in the Milanoski/Dormitzer strategy?

    At the Mass Commission Against Discrimination, Mr. Milanoski’s own truthfulness and credibility will be undermined if not completely shot on his claim that he didn’t have any money to pay Mr. Brennan. If this is not found to be an outright lie by the MCAD how will he be able to explain his statement to Brennan with the fact the town ended FY 12 with close to a million dollar surplus?

    In other words, Ralph, your dog just won’t hunt – so get that Dormitzer checkbook out. But I forgot- when you or your cronies make mistakes you don’t pay, you simply pass it on the taxpayer and gloss over it.

    Yet Mr. Milanoski and the puppet master are about to receive three early holiday presents, worthy of more than a footnote in the next book about recent Cohasset history.

    * a lawsuit triggered by their actions concerning Mark Brennan,

    * a hearing that will rip apart the police department when every officer is called as a witness in the Deluca case (and don’t forget that Ralph Dormitzer himself will likely also be a witness as he went up to Chief Deluca right after he spoke at Town Meeting and told him that he made a grave mistake in speaking up against the BOS about the dangers of a “dark station”) and

    * – my own lawsuit with noted Boston Attorney Harold Lichten leading the charge.

    In conclusion, on Sunday November 11th, Cohasset joins the Country and the Commonwealth in marking Veterans Day. And while we mark the service and the sacrifice of those who wore our nation’s uniform, we should also reflect on what they shed their blood for– the American heritage of good government.

    To that end, every service member swears an oath to defend and protect the Constitution. We should not forget that in Cohasset the Constitution is the Strong Town Manager Act. This is not to say that you can not change either the US Constitution nor Cohasset’s but the way Mr. Dormitzer is suggesting is not the way and the way Mr. Milanoski has treated Mark Brennan and other employees is beneath the dignity of the office he now holds.

    I look forward to testifying at the Mass Commission Against Discrimination and I hope that Mark Brennan’s case will trigger a domino of justice for every employee who has been aggrieved by the actions of Mr. Milanoski and the present Board of Selectmen.

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