It’s time to pull the plug on this Board of Selectmen. Individually and collectively, they have gone so far beyond any meaningful rehabilitation that they have lost all value to the citizens of Cohasset.
Under the guise of governing they have supported and advanced the interests of a few at the expense of the rest of us. Flushed by early success, they have gone ‘all in’ too many times to ever walk back any of their outrageous actions. They have completely lost sight of the key word before government – representative. They no longer represent the best interests of the vast majority of Cohasset voters and they no longer can be said to represent anything worth keeping.
The first big clue should have been the firing of the three ConCom members. Ted Carr, speaking and acting for his board stalled facing strong public push back as long as he could. He claimed the board was so busy it couldn’t find time to address the concerns of 120 petitioners for two months. Then he proposed, and his board approved, formation of a Governance Committee to look into the matter. The rest is history.
This committee did everything but look into the ConCom travesty. In targeting the Town Manager Act, it acted with the blessing of the selectmen to ignore the petitioners’ concerns and to discredit and undermine the authority of the town manager. The task of moving forward the interests of the E-20 became the priority of the town, and its expense.
The second event that had ‘warning, warning’ written all over it was the BoS conceding all control of the Water Department to Chairman DeCaprio, a move that was instrumental in leading up to the firing of Town Manager Coughlin. This entire scenario provided valuable insight into the character of Ted Carr as he proclaimed that he considered Coughlin “a friend” even as Coughlin was gasping “et tu, Ted.”
Subsequent documentation has revealed the massive failure of Carr to pass on Coughlin’s E-mail communications to the rest of the board, as was Carr’s responsibility. It was, indeed, Carr’s failure to communicate that led to the firing of Coughlin.
The third, but probably not final, sordid chapter in Cohasset’s history has been the roughshod, and probably illegal, treatment of town employees’ contracts entered into during Coughlin’s tenure and with the full awareness of the board; contracts entered into by our employees relying on the good faith and backing of the Town of Cohasset.
This has all taken place under the heavy hand of Acting Town Manager Milanowski – of Governance Committee fame – and explained irregularities and economic necessity. All this while Milanowski collects $2,000+ a week in compensation.
Plus, the BOS is reportedly $300,000 over its legal budget and still climbing; not to mention the fallout from legal actions expected from Coughlin and the town employees all of whom could prevail in the courts.
The economic necessity cited by Milanowski pales in comparison with any reasonable estimate of the overall cost of funding the excesses of the BOS: both in money, credibility and public trust.
There comes a point when a problem has grown to such proportions that it has assumed a life and momentum of its own; we are there in Cohasset. The resolution will start only when the problem is recognized for what it is.
If you watched the Coughlin inquisition on TV you can put a picture to these words; the individuals on the stage, behind the selectmen, literally and figuratively, looking out over the audience as town council tried to justify an action that absolutely nobody in the crowd was buying.
Remember the faces in the elite seats (the assigned seats behind the BOS). They cannot be a part of the solution; they have made themselves part of the problem. You can hear the cries of class warfare already. The issuers of these cries will be entirely correct, they will, however, have the aggressors and the victims in reverse order which goes a long way toward how we got into this mess in the first place.
I urge you to do two things to start the process of restoring sanity to our town government: speak out now and at Town Meeting May 12, and think carefully about your vote for selectman.