Friday, June 5, 2015

Hanson Selectman’s Facebook Postings Raise Questions About Town Manager Choice

Ken O’Brien

Our newly selected Town Manager, Ronald San Angelo, was hired as Town Administrator for Hanson, MA, in 2013. His three year contract is set to expire in 2016 if he is given notice that it will not be renewed by June 30 of this year. If he is not given notice that contract is automatically extended until June 30, 2017.

Mr. San Angelo has been actively seeking other Town Manager or Administrator positions in recent months. He has been in his current position for just under two years. He has at least one year remaining on his current contract. I sought to understand the reason for his seemingly aggressive job search.

Bruce R. Young is one of five selectmen in Hanson MA, and Chatrman of that body. On his FaceBook page Mr. Young posted a few comments over the last month that may shed some light on this conundrum. They are reproduced below unedited by me. The word "edited" in the text appears in the original.  (Those who wish can see the originals HERE.)

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’
Bruce R. Young
May 22 at 10:20am · Edited
Who changed the Contract? and why? Part 1.: At last Tuesday Nights Selectmen's Meeting, John Paul Barata asked, what specific problems the Selectmen have with the Town Administrator's Contract. Back on April 7th I read into the record, and disclosed for the very first time in Public session some key elements of the prior T.A.'s Contract that were either deleted or added to the format of the Current T.A.'s Contract that certainly would be a factor in any renegotiation of the existing Contract. They are as follows: 1.Under the current agreement it states that the Town will compromise and settle any claim or suit and pay the amount of any settlement or judgment rendered thereon made against the T.A. in the performance of his duties.Missing from the current contract is the Indemnification limit of $1,000,000 found in the Prior T.A.'s Contract. Also missing from this section is the clause "That the T.A. will not be indemnified for a violation of any civil rights, if he acted in a grossly negligent, willful or malicious manner." This was contained in the prior T.A. contract." Who made and approved this change? as well as the others mentioned below in Part 2. Please see below. "Continued".

Bruce R. Young
May 22 at 10:48am · Edited
Who Changed the Contract? Part 2.: Under the Termination and Severance Pay Clause: Under the prior T.A. Contract, the BOS could dismiss the Town Administrator if he engaged in Misconduct, and would not have to pay him 6 months Salary as part of the termination process, nor keep him on the fringe benefit program (Health plan, life insurance etc) for an additional 60 days after he received any accrued vacagion time wages. In the current contract the words "for reasons other than misconduct are eliminated" so if the T.A. engaged in any clear misconduct, this or future BOS, could not immediately dismiss him, but rather would have to give him (added to this contract) 30 days to respond to the reasons for dismissal, prior to the termination taking place but also grant him 6 months Salary in lump sum if he so choses, along with(added to this contract) 60 days of medical, dental, life insurance and retirment benefits beyond the last date of accrued vacation coverage. In other words there can be no immediate termination for any reasons, no matter how serious the offense. Lastly, in the prior contract, the personal use of his Town provided personal computer, and cell phone, was subject to srutiny by the BOS to be sure that personal use was reasonable and not interfering with the T.A.'s job performance. This scurtiny clause was removed from the current Town Administrator's contract. So in affect the personal use by the current T.A., is subject to no limitations or oversight by the BOS. These are few of the important changes that were made when this Contract was signed in June of 2013 by the prior Board of Seleltmen. The Question is Who decided on these deletions and additions from the prior Contract. Was the Contract reviewed by Labor Counsel, and were all the members of the prior Board aware of all the changes and that the Protection to the Town was being compromised, and the ability or the BOS to dimiss or terminate was being made much more difficult by the new language or lack of language in the Contract ? I can tell you first hand that unless you sit down with both Contracts side by side, and compare them both, section by section, you would have no idea what the changes were that took affect in 2013. I have already contacted one prior Board member and he was in fact shocked and dismayed by this, as he was told that he was signing the exact same language that appeared in the prior T.A.'s contract, prepared and signed in 2009 for Mr.Read.

Bruce R. Young
May 23 at 9:13am · Edited ·
:Questions were asked at last Tuesday night's meeting about the evaluation process for the Town Administrator. Our Board has not yet completed our evaluation of the Town Administrator. That process should be completed, hopefully on or about June 2nd. As has been prior practice each member completes the evaluation tool that includes 5 seperate criteria for evaluation, Those documents are then summarized in the aggregate by the chairman and his designee. Here is what the open meeting law says about the process."where a public body is discussing an employee evaluation, considering applicants for a position, or discussing the qualifications of any individual, these discussions should be held in open session to the extent that the discussion deals with issues other than the reputation, character, health, or any complaints or charges against the individual". The completed annual evaluation document prepared by the prior Board, was never discussed in Public at any meeting, by that Board or the Town Administrator.

Bruce R. Young
May 23 at 11:15am · Edited ·
On the agenda for last Tuesday evening was a discussion of the options regarding the Current T.A.'s Contract. The Board must act by June 30th and make a decision, in accordance the Contract terms to do any one of the following. I explained these options in detail. (1) the Board can chose to take no action by June 30th 2015, and that would automatically trigger a one year extension of the Contract past its current expiratin date of June 30th 2016, to June 30th 2017. (2) The Board could vote not to Renew the Contract, which would, in accordance with the Contract terms, give the T.A. a one year notice that his employment with the Town of Hanson would terminate as of June 30th 2016. 3. The Board could negotiate a new contract with the Town Administrator, with different terms, and length to be determined. Even if the Board voted not to renew the contract, it could at some time prior to June 30th 2016 (its expiration date), decide to renegotiate his contract. 4. Under the termination clause of the Contract the BOS or its designee could suggest either formally or informally that he resign, and if the employee decides to comply, he would be deemed to be terminated as of that date, and would receive 6 months aggregate salary, payable at his option in lump sum if he so choses. He would also receive accrued and earned vacation leave and medical, dental and life insurance and retirement benefits for an additional 60 days beyond the last date of vacation coverage.Another interesting aspect of this current contract, is that it has never ending 1 year renewal options. The prior Town Administrator's contract had a strict limitation of a 1 time only one year renewal option that could be exercised by the BOS. This contract was negotiated and signed by the prior Board in June of 2013
‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

3 comments:

  1. It would be interesting to see what those evsluations say. Could it be that the Council is catching schoolcommittee-itis?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Southbridge Mayor ONLYJune 9, 2015 at 4:57 AM

    He is still applying out in lovely Brewster-let's hope that his children are surfers and insult on Cape Cod living? Good Luck in Brewster Mr. Mayor.

    IF we are going to hire a Mayor, let the Voters do it and let it be someone from town. And when someone starts to collect the signatures, makee sure you include a three year residency requirement!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Did the search committee ever contact any of the Selectmen in Hanson to find out exactly what is going there? or did they listen to the "Mayor" behind closed doors and just accept his take on the matter ? Not that it makes any difference at this point, but it does raise some questions. Hope it all works out, let's wish him the best.

    ReplyDelete

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