Saturday, February 22, 2014

Council cobwebs, nattering nabobs, and The McLellan Index


In recent weeks, we’ve used the old saw “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.’'  We’ve decided, however, that it needs some updating if it’s going to make sense in our little town of Perfect.

So we’re changing it to “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we stumble to deceive.”  And we refer, of course, to the falsehoods told by a couple of nattering nabobs on the town council.

Councilors Jerry “Stumbles” Favreau and Dave “Weaver” Watson seem intent on continuing to flaunt their faux self-righteousness to any reporter who will give them some ink.  The sad thing is that they don’t possess the self-awareness of a snow bank in mid-July between them.


Take, for example, the article in this week’s Forecaster.  In it, the former Mr. Manager blamed ‘personality conflicts’ for the recent council decision to shorten his time with the town.  Brown is quoted further:

“I can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t have the full support of the council,” he said. But he added, “There’s been an accumulation of issues that have divided the council, divided the community. The accumulation is probably what made it difficult for me to continue in this role without there being a frictional relationship between the manager and the council.”

Paragraph 6 of the Separation and Release Agreement between Brown and the town says that both parties promise not to say anything ‘defamatory or disparaging’ about the other.  We take that to mean that both sides would just shut up from here on out.  Doesn’t look like that’s true, at least for Brown.  You can argue whether his comments in the article are disparaging or not, but they certainly aren’t meant to be complimentary, are they.

The same article quotes Favreau and Watson, who rather than  offer apologies for the fibs they told, seem intent on demonstrating they still don’t have a clue as to what they did or what has happened right under their noses.  Take this quote from “Stumbles:”

“What ticked me off was him not going to the rest of council or going through Suzan,” Favreau said. “As far as I’m concerned, he violated the [agreement] right there.”

Is he kidding???  Not going to the rest of the council?  Apparently he was having an out of body experience on the night of February 10th, when the Executive Session called by Pols was voted down, and the discussion and vote to approve an earlier departure took place in full public view.  Perhaps Favreau should watch the meeting recording.  And he could also read the Separation and Release Agreement, which clearly speaks in  Paragraph 3C to a council option to call for an early release, and the specifics of doing so.  This procedure was adhered to on the 10th, but again, it looks like Stumbles was elsewhere when that happened.


“Weaver” Watson was not to be outdone in the article:

“My understanding of the agreement was that if the council was to ask for an earlier departure of Gary Brown, it would have been the result of a major transgression or problem,” Watson said. “And if there was any, there was no discussion of it, no executive session discussing any problem.”

He’s got to be kidding as well.  If he were to read the agreement, he would see it says nothing of the sort, and he would also grasp that the meeting on the 10th, with the town attorney present and giving his OK, fully adhered to the agreement.  Watson continued to exhibit his lack of self-awareness:

“I expect honest and honorable behavior and in my mind, that did not happen,” he continued. “I don’t think we acted honorably.”


Apparently both Stumbles and Weaver lying to the public about the circumstances of the meeting in the Town Hall on January 29th is ‘honest and honorable’, but adhering publicly to the terms of the written agreement is not, because Weaver doesn’t agree with the council action.

As we told you in this post, 

some of the supporting actors in this melodrama still owe the citizenry apologies for lying about the specifics of how they encountered the Pols’ meeting with developers on the Cooks Corner road plan.

In the same post, we told you about the word “compous” that we coined, suggesting in a not too subtle way that it applies to said councilors.


We’re still waiting for their apologies to the town citizenry, and it looks like we’ll have to keep waiting.  Maybe we should send LT Ben Dover to the council meeting this coming Monday to publicly ask them for their apologies.  They seem to enjoy seeing their name in print; a public apology would guarantee more column inches.

By the way, the meeting will be the first in the new ‘chambers’ in The McLellan.  What fun!

The McLellan Index:

Speaking of the McLellan, let’s shift gears.  It occurred to us that watching the price of the McLellan become our new town hall is like watching the growth of the national debt, or the stock market on a wild ride of ‘irrational exuberance.’

Beginning in the range of $100,000 just a few short years ago, the figure is now climbing steadily beyond the $1,000,000 level.  The council packet for the meeting on Monday, which you can find here - - contains an updated budget on page 55.  The latest figure is $1,232,611.  And that doesn’t include any work to deal with the exterior deterioration.


It occurred to us, in that fanciful way things often do, that if we dropped the last three digits, we could call the figure “The McLellan Index,” and use it to keep track of progress the same way the financial news reports on the Down Jones Index, NASDAQ, and S&P.  We might even find a place for it as a permanent fixture of the right hand column on our page.

By this convention, The McLellan Index, or “TMI,” came into being at 100, and just a few years later is now at 1232.  And TMI ‘futures’ look headed for substantially higher levels in the short term.

Too bad you couldn’t have invested some funds in the index when it was created; your wealth would have grown by a factor of 12, with a lock solid guarantee it will go substantially higher.  Turns out you’ll have to think of it in the opposite direction.  Whatever your personal cost for occupying the building was a few years back, that cost has now grown by a factor of more than 12, and your share of the cost is headed even higher.

Funny how that works, isn’t it?  Such is life in the richest little town in America, where other peoples’ money is the currency of community pride.  And don’t forget, after we wrap up this project with another roaring success, we have the Aquatic Center to plan for!  We don’t know how we can keep our shirts on with all the popping buttons!

And as long as we’re talking about Bowdoin (we are, aren’t we?), we want to pass along the news reported in the same issue of the Forecaster that the college plans to build:

a $2.4 million, three-story, 3,440-square-foot administrative office building to replace a building at 216 Maine St. that used to house a travel agency and flower shop.

Here’s how Google Earth portrays the current building and lot:

        Brunswick Travel bldg Sept 2013

By our estimates, the lot is less than 10,000 sq ft, and the building to be replaced has a foot print in the range of 1600 sq ft or so.

Given the figures cited, the college will spend about $700 dollars a square foot for the new office building, which by any stretch is a princely sum.  Think of two 1700 sq ft houses costing $2.4 million.  The mind boggles.

Erecting a three story building there that costs this much might seem a challenge to some, but we're confident that Bowdoin can spend all that and more.  Presumably they won’t use cedar siding and wood trim, unless they have plans for this to be a temporary structure that they can trade to the town for oh, who knows..perhaps the High School…in ten years or so.

You may be thinking this will make a nice addition to the town tax rolls, but you’d be wrong.  Bowdoin is a ‘non-profit,’ so they won’t pay any property taxes on the building at all.

That aside, we sure as hell hope they take far better care of it than they have of The McLellan.  We have to protect our image, just like we are over on Pleasant Street across the street from the Library.

1 comment:

  1. As I have told Mr. Levesque of the MRRA, the more you speak in public the sooner the people are gong to become aware of the real cost to them of your lawlessness. The same holds for members of the Town Council and Gary Brown. As you say, they will all be better off not clearing their dirty linen in public and continue to keep the public in the dark about their real shenanigans.