Thursday, April 15, 2010

The TMs defense of his advocacy of a regional sales tax raises more questions

Last week I brought to your attention the fact that our unelected Town Manager went to Hartford to advocate for a regional sales tax, saying “It’s far better to share a tax, than to not have the benefit of a tax at all”

As John Q. Public, I’m not too concerned about the TMs words. But he wasn’t speaking as John Q. Public. He was speaking as the TM. And I got a bit peeved about his use of the title for his own personal political agenda. So I asked him about it. Here’s his response:

Couple of points on this four minute exchange… he says:

“I was asked to make that presentation.”

OK. Who asked? It wasn’t the Council. So IMO, he shouldn’t have been there.

He continues:

“I was asked my opinion and I offered my opinion… I have to say that… ya know… I think my job is to represent the interests of the town and there are issues that come before me that have never been discussed with this Council and that I have to provide opinion on and that’s what I did.”

Again... “I have to provide opinion”

Really? Who says? Who pays his salary?

As the TM, he reports to the Council and as Chairman Slocum made clear, the Council did not direct him to advocate a regional sales tax… nor did the Council direct him to attend this event. So… no. The assertion that the TM "(has) to provide an opinion” is simply untrue.

He shouldn't have even attended a forum to advocate regionalism... without first receiving guidance from the Council... which he knows he wouldn't have gotten. So it's probably a case of "easier to ask for forgiveness, than ask for permission."

But not only is our unelected TM not required to advocate his personal agenda of regional taxation, his own words demonstrate that he’s not required to comment on important local issues even when asked by a reporter.

Who can forget this October 13 article by Luther Turmelle? In it, the CPD Union President stated that the TM was "misleading" the public about his true actions when he was supposedly mediating the conflict at the police department.

And how did the TM respond to claims that he was misleading the public?

The TM said he didn’t have time to respond.

But he has time to go to Hartford to advocate John Destefano's regional sales tax?

It seems to me that the TM has certain priorities. A top priority is the creation of a regional sales tax. A low priority is mediating the conflict at the PD.


I wonder… was that a vacation day he spent in Hartford? Or is the TM allowed to just take off willy-nilly advocating his own personal agenda whenever he wants... on the taxpayers' dime?

Tim White


Anonymous said...

The council/manager form of town government does seem to encourage this kind of thing. Of course if the TC had been more on the ball over the past few years possibly the incumbent TM wouldn't feel quite so entitled to demonstrate his personal power whenever he pleases.

Will the new TC begin to demonstrate some better control over the hired hands or will the hired hands continue their business as usual approach to things?

tim white said...

I think you gave a very fair assessment of the situation. Only one word I would change from...

The council/manager form of town government does seem to encourage this kind of thing.


The council/manager form of town government does seem to enable this kind of thing.

Good judgment would keep a TM out of these situations altogether.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the PD where and what is going on with the union president? What is the situation with the suspension?

Anonymous said...

Union Pres retiring 4/30

Wonder if the TM would conisder a Regional DPW Dept.....

cedar lane said...

Mr. Milone stated,
“My job up there (in Hartford) is to represent the interests of the town and there are issues that come before me that have never been discussed with this council that I have to provide an opinion on.”

No, Mr. Milone, that is not your job. The job of representing the town in Hartford belongs first to our elected state legislators, and then to our elected town council members.

What’s the point of having the council recommend an annual legislative package to legislators if the appointed manager is only going to do an end run around that process?

He says that some issues have never been discussed by the council, on which he has to provide an opinion.

On something as significant as calling for a new regional tax, he should have brought it up to the council for discussion before he publicly represented his personal opinions as the town’s position. The council is not limited to considering state legislative matters in Dec/Jan only.

Tim Slocum, I’m disappointed that you appear to be giving him free reign on this. You should insist that he consult you or the full council first before taking public positions on significant legislative matters. This is part of your proper supervisory role.

Anonymous said...

Cedar Lane
Is that Tim Slocum's role to pull back the reins on Milone?

I don't think he has that much control. It needs to be addressed at a TC meeting with all TC members agreeing as to the the role Milone should play in this sort of area.

cedar lane said...

I was commenting on Tim Slocum's response to Milone, "Sounds like a fair answer to me." I disagree with Tim's apparent defense of Milone's rationalization.

I agree that the full TC should clarify when the TM can speak on matters of state policy, so he doesn't do end-runs around the elected council.

Anonymous said...

why bother electing state reps and town council members when the unelected town manager knows what's best for us?

cheshire resident said...

the town manager has been in power since 1992. it has taken all these years with a mostly republican town council which allowed this person free reign over everything and now the tree is bearing fruit.

Anonymous said...

3:52: Agree, but looking forward, its time for the TC to reign him in.

Better yet, its time to find a new TM. 18 years is way too long for any unelected CEO to be running a town. Comeon council majority, wheres the CHANGE we voted for in Nov?

Anonymous said...

RE: "18 years is way too long for any unelected CEO to be running a town."

Like Acton said, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Corruption is a natural human tendency after so many years in executive office. Not criminal corruption, but corruptions of attitudes and accountability. Nothing personal against MM, but it's time to get new faces and fresh approaches in the TM's office.

Anonymous said...

Darwin described it best in his classification "RECTALIS GIGANTICUS".

Anonymous said...

His attitude probably is "town councils come and go, but I own this job for life." The council needs to reign him in or replace him.