Head. Desk.

Last night, I was able to put my iPhone to good use during the Selectmen’s meeting. I had to leave my son’s Little League playoff game early to attend, but my friend Beth helpfully texted me the scores (tied 6-6 in the sixth! And YES! They won in overtime!). And when Town Administrator Tim McInerney named his DPW pick and mentioned he used to work with him in Seekonk, I plugged in “james tusino seekonk mcinerney” and came up with this, which allowed me to ask Tim after the meeting about Tusino losing his job in Seekonk and filing suit against the town.

But really, the meeting for me was a series of head-desk moments. I’m a child of politics, as I’ve mentioned over and over, and I actually personally like Tim. So I just have to say it: Dude, why are you suddenly politically tone-deaf?

We have pay as you throw starting just two weeks from today and there are no bags in stores yet? We haven’t locked down Stop & Shop? We’re not selling the bags at the Municipal Center? Are you kidding me? PAYT is NOT popular and the best way to make it at least accepted by a wide segment of the population is to make it as easy as possible.

And on top of that, Tim’s appointing a guy he’s previously worked with, who has filed suit against a previous town employer for wrongful termination, to take over the DPW spot? I’m sure Tusino is a great guy and he may have, in fact, been pushed out by a Board of Selectmen with a grudge. But do you really want to start out as a Town Administrator by bringing in old friends?

I just sat there, alone at the media table (where was everyone last night? No T&G, no GraftonNews?), just picturing the string of comments that would end up following the stories I would inevitably write about the night. Granted, the Town Administrator has to be the one to make the unpopular decisions and, given Toma’s inglorious departure (yeah, anyone want to go on the record about that one? Bueller?), he may feel more comfortable putting someone with whom he has a history in there to get a good look at the department. God, did they have to be at the same meeting? Couldn’t this have been done when we were all distracted by the parade of minor-selling liquor stores? (“Sorry.” “Sorry.” “Hey, let’s hire a new acting DPW director.” “Great!” “Sorry.” “Sorry.” “I’ll never sell to a minor again.”)

But the average person isn’t looking at that. They’re pissed off that they have to pay extra for trash bags and, oh great, the guy they see as responsible for that (PAYT was in the works pre-Tim!) now wants to hire an old buddy instead of a guy from Grafton.

And the comments section spirals out of control!

Head. Desk.


17 thoughts on “Head. Desk.

  1. I respect the TA’s preference for hiring people he knows. I do the same thing in my business. You trust the people you know.

    However, Mr. Tusino was not “pushed out by a Board of Selectmen with a grudge”. Mr. Tusino ran afoul of the law, by violating a Developer’s rights, went to court and lost, then lost the appeal. His behavior exposed Seekonk to litigation expenses.

    Check Westlaw: http://laws.findlaw.com/1st/021732.html

    Take note of the basic facts of the case: “solicited female ‘favors’ in exchange for favorable treatment. When his requests that our client help him in that way were rejected, he made life difficult for the plaintiff. He made our client do things that no other developer, contractor, or even the Town itself had to do when resurfacing a roadway”. Mr. Tusino thought he had been granted indemnity by the BOS, but that proved to be wrong. Thus the clash with the BOS. But the initial behavior still stands. And Mr. Tusino had to pay $150,000 himself in damages.

  2. I was actually wondering this week as I took the trash down, “When does PAYT go into effect? Gotta be soon. Are they selling bags yet? If they are, what a terrible job getting the word out!”

  3. My head hurts. I’m having flashbacks of my first job as an attorney for a corrupt municipality. I thought I had moved to a quiet town devoid of excitement…where is the Grafton I was promised? Quiet town, Farmers Market, no one locks their doors…

  4. Seriously. I’m going to have to break out what we called “the McGorty maneuver” in Marlborough later today, judging by my lack of returned phone calls.

  5. There’s nothing on the town website for PAYT. I would have thought something would be up there now.

    I agree. Not a very good rollout.

  6. Maybe they can get the information out there on clean up day on Saturday when people drop off their junk. Sell bags… information on bags. Doreen? Tim? Anyone reading this…

  7. Jenn:

    Does the McGorty maneuver involve putting a red flag in a potted plant on your window ledge? Because I think you need to find yourself a good reliable off-the-record source or two. Too bad there’s no parking garages in town!

    But seriously … I like Tim too but did the BoS really just go along with “a policy regarding purchasing that wasn’t followed.” Are we just supposed to accept that and move on? What was the policy? And how serious must it have been for the DPW director to go without a fight?

    Also, I hope Toma was the last DPW director for a while. We just don’t need one. Not when water and sewer are independent entities.

  8. I’ve never had to resort to the red flag, but the parking garage thing really isn’t as much of a cliche as you might think. At least if you’re covering a town with copious parking garages, anyway.

  9. This is typical Town of Grafton. We hire all the rejects from other towns. Lets start off with the police dept how many chiefs did we hire until we found one that worked. Never letting the former Lt. get a chance to prove his merit. How many TA’s have we gone through since Dan Morgato left and is doing quit well in the Town of Shrewsbury.Every TA after that has not had the town in his or hers best intrest.They have used this town for their own personal gain whether it was for benifits or employment of their friends.Now we want to hire a DPW director from another town that saw the light on this individual. I say hire him he will fit in great with with the brain trust that run this town.I also think that a few more “cliques” should vote in their friends too so we can have a true three ring circus.Remember these people are managing your hard earned tax dollars that cant even get you trash pickup. Did we ever find out where that savings is going? Anyone? Interesting isn’t it.Welcome to the town of Grafton.

  10. I’m sure it’s not lost on this Blog’s readers, but if not for Jenn, this change probably doesn’t happen.

  11. Not a good week for the TA. Two points if I may.

    First, the appointment (now withdrawal) of the candidate for the Acting DPW Director position did not seem to be well thought out. Jen’s comment of “tone deaf” is spot on. To select a candidate with a questionable work background to replace the former director who was terminated for not following purchasing policy seems unwise and irresponsible. While the accusations surrounding Mr. Tusino may not have added up in Mr. McInerney’s mind, there were too many red flags to allow this appointment to be considered.

    Second, the PAYT program seems headed for a potential implosion. I admit I was in favor (and still am) of the program. However, I am completely astonished at what appears to be a disorganized implementation process. The fact that the program starts in two weeks and town hall seems to be in “radio silence mode” in relation to the disseminating of information is troubling. The lack of a one to two week grace period for residents to purchase and use the new bags seems shortsighted. Especially considering there may not be any bags to purchase when the time comes. The program is scheduled to start the Wednesday of a major holiday weekend. Am I to believe that if my neighbor is going on vacation and leaves their garbage out before they leave and it is not in the proper bags it will sit there until their return? I sure hope not.

    I hope I’m wrong and things come together quickly in the next week to ten days. However, when implementing what is a slightly unpopular program at best, it would seem to me that minimization of problems would be of the highest priority.

    The preseason is over Mr. McInerney, time to start managing like the games count.

  12. Is our BOS capable of hiring a qualified candidate for TA? I have trouble believing this guy has held this same position in another town before. Or now we know why he was available to Grafton…

    PAYT – complete abomination from top to bottom. Hold as many meetings as you want, but the idea is NOT to make (or hope) the people come to you, you need to PUSH the information out there as timely and as widely as possible. Bags not available, and not available conveniently at the big stores yet, nothing on the town website, no mail to every household two weeks before the start, etc. Just horrible. He is trying, but oh so wrong. Grade: D

    Temporary DPW Director: Hiring an (unneeded) guy fired from his last position, who is litigating with the town, aspects of sexual harassment. And then he can’t understand the immediate and irate backlash? Politically tone deaf is too gentle a term. Completely clueless comes to mind here. Grade: F

    My friend has extensive hail damage to his home. This was his first dealing with our illustrious BI (another great hire!). He left saying he had to scream when he walked out of town hall after the hassle he got from that smug and unhelpful attitude (he screamed because he couldn’t strangle him). Supposedly, before you get a permit you have to prove you have paid your taxes. A logical and normal human being would think it is but a triviality for one office to call or email another office for this information. But NO, you have to SUBMIT a form to the treasurer’s office, and get this, 1-3 DAYS later YOU have to PICK UP THE FORM AND BRING IT TO THE BI’s office down the hall!!!!! (And these people deserved a raise?) The TA was notified about this absurd requirement and told him that this is the process, what’s the big deal.

    Isn’t one of the TA’s responsibilities to make sure the town offices are helpful and most efficient? Just once I’d like to walk into a town office and have the people sitting there greet me upon entry, tell me they’ll be with me in a moment, and then look glad to help me out, instead of sitting there ignoring me for a few minutes before they finally have to deal with me – oh, and make it like my showing up in your office is not a burden on you. For this, since the TA is still new, and there is still time to refocus town hall on the customer service aspect of their positions, Grade: TBD But I hope it trends better.

    Oh, and BOS, feel free to use this is a start on the TA’s next evaluation…

  13. As a relative new resident of Grafton I’m beginning to wonder if I made a mistake moving to this town … my impresssions so far is that the town is rather poorly run with excessive bureaucracy and poor management. I expect local politics to be full of individual power plays but it seems you can’t breathe in this town without a hassle.

    Sigh. Wonder what homes are for sale in Westborough?

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