Adrienne McCarthy listened to the entire dog and phoney show the selectmen put on last night and she called it for what it was. She cautioned that taxpayers may not wish to be as strident as their town officials, who are now convinced they are paupers, when just a few weeks ago suspended town manager Mike Coughlin and Mary Gallagher, director of finance, told selectmen things were tight but it looked like they could get through the year without any deficit.
Selectmen are now convinced they have to do a level-funded budget for FY13 and all of a sudden acting town manager Mike Milanoski has discovered the town is facing a structural $350,000 deficit this year…and he is foraging through town hall looking for unspent funds. This in spite of $650,000 in new growth. But then – didn’t the town just assume $500,000 in water dept in order to pump up water’s books for their RFP? Oh, that probably has nothing to do with it. Wait a second and DeCaprio will tell us! Probably any second now.
AND. OH MY GOD. The Town has a 32M in unfunded pensions, health insurance. Yep. It’s still there. And I can tell you this. As hard as Capital Budget works, and even if Budget Planning attends 1000 meetings, they are not going to put a dent in that little honey until the state legislature works its magic. Perhaps it’s Coughlin’s fault? Milanoski blamed the out-of-sight legal budget on him last night. But I think the selectmen had a lot to do with that with all the designer counsels they hired. Coughlin kept pushing them to use town counsel.
Well, now water commissioners want a 10-year Water RFP, and the inspector general has supposedly blessed it and Peter DeCaprio, who out of the goodness of his heart, not because he has to, is not going to vote to decide the winner of the 10-year contract, which is not the 20-year RFP Coughlin sent to the Inspector General. It is a different one. No one has yet seen this RFP – selectmen haven’t anyway. But they cheered DeCaprio anyway.
Monday, March 26 the citizens of Cohasset will be invited to the high school auditorium to meet DeCaprio’s tar baby. It will start at 7PM…a two-hour presentation. Perhaps it will be on TV. He says he is pleased with it. He projects we will get $1.5 million up front and it will generate $500,000 in cash every year after 10 years. And that’s all we know and all the selectmen, who love it to death, know.
In related news – selectmen voted to allow the suspended town manager back in town hall to pay his taxes and such. Initially, they had banished him from all public buildings. That was a bit harsh, I thought. Acting TM Milanoski threatened to call the police on him Monday when he tried to return his computer. Milanoski found Coughlin to be so dangerous that he had to walk him to the parking lot and did not return to town hall until he saw Coughlin drive away. Such drama. You know, you sail by this sleepy looking little town on the Atlantic Ocean and think, what a perfectly pleasant place to live. And then you land.
The point is this. There was absolutely nothing wrong about our now suspended town manager Mike Coughlin. He walked into a financial pit and worked like a dog to put things together. He found us a terrific director of finance. He made all the DOR deadlines. He tried to build a team. But he made the mistake of worrying out loud about the 20-year concession agreement the water department was looking for. And, alas, he stuck his nose into Cat Dam and ruffled many important feathers.
Did you know there is only one Adrienne MacCarthy in the entire United States?
I wish she would run for selectmen this year. The last day to take out papers in March 22.