Thursday, January 23, 2014

‘Mr. Manager,’ full circles, and good ole’ boys

Just a quick observation on the circumstances pertaining to the ‘time of transition’ here in Cape Brunswick, and how things that go around have a strange way of coming around.  (For some reason, the item we’re about to report on reminds us of the Brunswick Taxi story.)

And makes our recent coverage of the McClellan and TRS as a local phenomenon seem all the more relevant.


Here it is, as reported in this story.

Earlier in Tuesday's meeting, the council scheduled a workshop for Feb. 10 to kick-start its search for a new town manager and to discuss the proposed construction of a connector road at Cook's Corner.

During the workshop, the council will discuss any desired changes to the town manager's job description. The council will also review proposals expected to come from two consultants interested in helping with the town manager search.

Chairman Benet Pols said the two interested parties are former Town Manager Don Gerrish, who now works as a consultant for law firm Eaton Peabody and will begin serving as Wiscasset's interim town manager next month, and Municipal Resources Inc., which assisted the town with its previous town manager search.

We won’t elaborate on the ‘kick-start’ imagery; it might be too hard to control our imagination.  And we have a hunch there may be a lot more to the connector road than meets the eye, but that will have to wait.

But we do want to comment on the ‘desired changes to the town manager’s job description.’  We’ll have more to say on this in a post we’re struggling to complete, but for now, we certainly hope that the job description is revised to elevate it above this citation in an earlier post:

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS of the Town Manager:

Ability to see well enough to do job requirements.

Ability to read, speak, and write in English.

Ability to hear well enough to do job requirements.

Ability to learn at fast rate.

Strong knowledge of English language and how to communicate using it.

Ability to work independently.

Ability to supervise.

Ability to hear well enough to use phone.

Ability to handle mentally and emotionally disruptive or disquieting influences.

Ability to arrange or deal with tasks in order of importance.

The more we read through these, the more we see these ‘essential functions’ as a farce.  You could use most of them to describe what you expect of a fifth grader, for crying out loud.

But it really doesn’t matter, because such documents exist only to placate the unwashed.  We’ll do what we will do, independent of any guidelines and requirements in the ‘public record.’

As to the offer from former Manager Don Gerrish and Eaton Peabody, wow!  Talk about the good ole boy network!  The Eaton Peabody consulting division is headed by Matt Eddy, former Economic Development Director on the Brunswick town staff, hired by Gerrish, we think.  And the outgoing Mr. Manager was brought in by Gerrish as well.  Don’t forget that Gerrish is the reason we can talk about TRS.  He ‘shepherded’ the town through that winter of our discontent as memory serves.  And he also ignored the requirement in his job description to submit a CIP with the budget for many years, until a local resident raised the issue publicly.

We raised a concern the other day about the contrived letter of reference terms typically embodied in separation agreements of the sort that apply here.  They pretty much say that no matter how badly you screwed up, we’ll give you a glowing letter of recommendation if you’ll just get the hell out of here and not sue us.  We shouldn’t have to tell you what a mistake this can be; recent history is very clear on just how disastrous the consequences often are.

Given Gerrish’s lifelong career in the Mr. Manager business, we have serious doubts whether he will or can cut through the Brunswick Sausage of typical references in making recommendations to the town council for a new hire.  Objectivity and detachment are the last things we should expect in these circumstances, especially in view of the particulars.

We don’t know poo about Municipal Resources, Inc, but we’re guessing they don’t make a good living by pointing out that at least half of those they consider recommending are under-achievers or worse who can’t hold a job.

But that’s just us.  We’re a bit choosy, as you know.  It’s why you come back to see what we have to say.  We’re not afraid to say what others are afraid to tell you.  It doesn’t make any difference, but at least you get to think about it.

And maybe, just maybe, every now and then somebody in a position of power squirms just a little bit.

Technorati Tags: ,

No comments:

Post a Comment