Friday, May 09, 2008

COTC oversight (hotWatergate 14)

You may recall my May 5 hotWatergate post on the lack of information related to the Norton boiler in the "Council packet" for the February 13 meeting.

In that post I included video from the April 22 Council meeting:. If you watch the video, I believe you'll see my concern: why did the Council not receive information about the Norton boiler in February? Then in the text of the May 5 post, I raised the same concern.

And now the Clerk of the Council (COTC) has addressed my concern. In a letter dated May 7, the COTC takes responsibility for the exclusion. So there it is.

The failure to include the Norton boiler information in the February 13 Council packets was nothing nefarious. It was a simple oversight. Back in February (and until April 22), that's what I assumed it was. So I'm glad to have gotten that confirmation and thank the COTC for it.

As to why I'm hearing this explanation in a letter dated May 7... instead of the COTC simply addressing my concerns during the April 22 meeting (or sometime thereafter, but before I published my May 5 post)... I have no idea. It seems to me that the simplest and best way to address my April 22 comments would have been to say something right then and there. But that's what I would do. (Btw, I have called the COTC to get my hands around this, but haven't heard back yet.)

Anyway, I'm fine with the COTCs explanation and no longer consider it part of hotWatergate. However, this does raise other questions:

Who is responsible for preparation and distribution of the "Council packs?" Is it the COTC or the Town Manager's PIO? The PIOs job description (see #3) is very clear to me:

So how could this be the responsibility of the COTC?

Don't get me wrong. I understand the reality of the situation... things have to get done and someone needs to do them. And since the goal is to prepare and distribute the packets... what difference does it make who does them?

But because it's the COTC, that's a very serious question.

For whom does the COTC work?

IMO, there is a reason why the COTC reports directly to the Council (we have the authority to hire & fire... it is not within the authority of the TM). This is the same reason the Town Attorney is hired/fired by the Council... so that the individuals who fill those roles know they work for the Council... not the TM. And in certain critical situations, this distinction could make a difference.

My suggestion for remedying this situation:

1) either the COTC should stop performing this task

or

2) this task should be deleted from the responsibilities of the Town Manager's PIO.

Either way, I'm glad that this has nothing to do with hotWatergate.

Tim White

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tim,

What is the outcome of all of this Hot watergate?

Are we going to be asking people to resign?

Where do heads roll?

FUBAR

tim white said...

Asking people to resign over this?

Why start now?

years to "build" a ballfield: 5

hotWatergate: $75,000

Financial software: $153,000

pool: $430,000

holding a job for which the consequences of screwups are always borne by the taxpayers: priceless