But none of that mattered.As Deputy Town Administrator, you were able to step right in and assume the role of Town Administrator.Never mind the fact that you had not completed your master’s degree in public administration.
A similar scenario would take place a few years later in 2005 when the unexpected and sudden death of Bernard Heeney would allow your secretary Claire Gray to step into the role as Town Clerk without the certifications anyone interviewed for the position would normally have.
On January 25, 2005, Mayor McDermott and the Town Council appointed Claire Gray “Acting Town Clerk.”Fortunately for Ms. Gray, she would have a year to become certified ......
in her new position and had already begun taking courses to be certified as town clerk in anticipation of B. Heeney’s retirement in the summer of 2005.
Jim, her loyalty to you in more ways than one, would prove pivotal in the decision to appoint her “Acting Town Clerk” and ultimately the “Town Clerk.”If only others looking to be town clerk could have had the opportunity to spend extended lunches with you perhaps maybe they could have been able to get a “foot in the door”.Others could not have been as close to you as Claire was during those numerous extended lunches you both shared.
Its truly amazing, to some, how some jobs are just handed to people but not surprising to others that know the inner politics of town hall.You don’t have to look any further than your recommendation of John M. Parizeau for Police Chief in 2005 after Bernard Tracy left town.You attempted to conduct a fair and transparent process to select a new police chief.That would not be the case when the candidate of your choice originally wanted nothing to do with becoming chief of police.
But with the departure of Bernard Tracy, under a cloud of alleged corruption, you needed someone to step in to keep a lid on the “Pandora’s Box” that had been constructed during the Tracy regime..The dirty laundry basket of the Tracy era was overflowing and there wasn’t a detergent strong enough or a washing machine large enough to sanitize the stains.It was only a matter of time that it would all catch up to you.
The promotion of David Wayman from Lieutenant to Captain would enable the Tracy regime to continue.Instead of pointing the police department in another direction, you chose to “steer” the ship into the “perfect storm.”What has occurred since is nothing short of what was expected.The warnings were there, you just chose to ignore them.
The police officers that warned you did not matter to you.Why?Was it because you didn’t want to admit the recommendations you made to the town council were blowing up right before your very eyes?Just look at the number of employee complaints, grievances, and lawsuits originated by town employees during your tenure as town administrator.Do you care?The town's attorneys do.
The town's attorneys make money defending you, right or wrong.The hundreds of thousands of dollars paid out in settlements and attorney's fees could have been used to retain crossing guards, fix potholes, pave streets, hire police officers, firemen, or prevent the town from threatening more layoffs. Maybe even plow a few streets during the last blizzard. But what do you care.
As long as you get paid your $145,000 salary, all is good.As long as the town council keeps renewing your contract, you’ll be singing all the way to the bank.I think you should be held accountable for the waste of tax dollars during your watch.How about every time you allow a matter to escalate to a grievance, complaint, or lawsuit, requiring the town’s attorneys to defend the town’s position on a matter you could have resolved, we the taxpayers deduct the amount from your salary to pay the attorneys when its proven you were negligent?Why not?Because you would probably end up working for free?
If it sounds like I am disgruntled, I am.I’m also disgusted that you and Mayor Skibitsky ignored the warnings.Disgusted that the town council buys into your excuses as to why things are the way they are.
Mayor Skibitsky can continue to blame the few “disgruntled” employees he insists exist in every workplace.The few have grown into many and there is no sign of that number decreasing in the near future.The Mayor is out of touch with the reality of what’s going on.I believe he knows it, but will continue to paste a smile on his face at every council meeting, photo op, or interview in order to keep the lid on the “Pandora’s Box” handed to him when he became Mayor of Westfield.
That’s where you come in Jim.Go get a hammer and nails.Mayor Skibitsky needs your help.Start hammering that lid shut because it’s bursting at the seams.There will come a time when you’re going to have to cut your losses.
The more you try to hide the facts, the deeper the hole gets.Then again, maybe the town council will cut their losses when it comes time to renew your contract.If only the voters could have a say in whether or not to renew your contract. Actually, they do, the next time they vote for a town council candidate this November.
In the meantime, go rent the movie The Perfect Storm.Pretend that you are George Clooney.Keep telling your crew, the town council, everything will be ok.Keep telling them you will steer the Andrea Gail through the “perfect storm.”Jim, the “perfect storm” is on its way.Will you be able to steer the ship to safety?Will you abandoned ship? Or, are you going to go down with the ship?Jim, you may have been licensed as a pool lifeguard, but I don’t believe you have a Boat Captain’s certification.