Uh Oh…what about the Revolving Door Prohibitions?

What the Selectmen are doing with the Town Manager position takes my breath away. For some time, town officials have been contemplating changing our form of government in order to appoint Acting Town Manager Mike Milanoski as TOWN MANAGER –  a position that Milanoski has already assumed on his business cards and stationery.

Wander along with me through this Cohasset Selectmen mess.

Michael Milanoski applies for the position of Cohasset Town Manager. It was actually I, his neighbor, who urged him to apply. I said you may not get the job, but you always learn something and sometimes there are interesting surprises.

Soon after Milanoski applies, the selectmen fire three members of the conservation commission and appoint Milanoski as an associate member. Former selectman Ted Carr didn’t realize that because Milanoski was now an appointed member of a town commission, he could not be considered for Town Manager unless he was separated from the Town of Cohasset for one year. What a bummer.

Milanoski withdraws his name from consideration and then gets appointed to the Town Manager Search Committee that will interview and decide on the three top candidates for Town Manager – the job he wanted.

Milanoski is appointed chairman of the town manager selection committee.

Simultaneously, Milanoski becomes chairman of the newly formed Governance Committee, which is directed to examine town government in its entirety but which is most interested in changing some things in the Town Manger Act, namely the lines that do not permit selectmen to appoint their cronies – individuals serving on appointed and elected boards and committees. Governance’s agenda is Milanoski’s agenda.

Former Town Manager Mike Coughlin is let go for his alleged poor communication skills and Milanoski is now quickly appointed acting town manager (although his contract says he is Town Manager). Eventually, MiIlanoski steps down from the Governance Committee, but continues to “shepherd them,” attending all their meetings, and is very interested in their project to make the Town Manager Act Milanoski-friendly.

Governance has a small ethics law hurdle to overcome with regard to officials seeking appointment to be Town Manager/Town Administrator. It is known as the revolving door prohibitions.

Under state law that Selectmen, Advisory and other officials must formerly resign their post before they can apply for appointment to a position over which they acted in an official capacity. Should the Governance Committee be successful at fall town meeting in changing the town’s form of government from a Strong Town Manager to a Town Administrator, Milanoski would have to resign as Acting Town Manager before applying. This is because he chaired the Governance Committee and had official duties (and interest) over the position that Governance is considering creating for him alone.

The Revolving Door Prohibitions issue arises frequently when Town Managers/Administrators are fired and then a sitting selectmen wants to take over. In this case it’s the sitting selectmen’s friend who wants to take over.  It’s still possible for Milanoski to be appointed but the law is clear they must resign before applying. It’s not a big deal – there is only a 30-day separation requirement. But there will be a lot of news coverage when and if this happens, and the citizens of the town will be re-angered, re-educated and re-alerted.

Of course Town Counsel will have to review all of this. For another $40,000 or so, we’re sure everything can be worked out.

I am posting this early Wednesday morning because Governance meets Thursday morning at 7:30 and I would like them to think about some of the issues I am introducing here and in my previous blog.

There is the possibility that Cohasset citizens may seek a declaratory judgment over the bastardization of Cohasset’s Town Manager Act at Norfolk Superior Court.

Goodness gracious, I’ve practically written that lawsuit here.

© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed