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Thread: Abuse of Power by Three of Wayland’s Selectmen

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default Abuse of Power by Three of Wayland’s Selectmen

    The following letter was submitted to media outlets, and referenced in the Boston Globe article: Selectmen criticized for firing official

    Abuse of Power by Three of Wayland’s Selectmen

    Many residents are returning from summer vacations to find Wayland town government in turmoil. Why? Because on August 26th, three members of the Board of Selectmen, Tony Boschetto, Ed Collins and Board Chair Doug Leard, fired Town Administrator Fred Turkington. This was done without any notice or public hint of their intention, thereby blindsiding Mr. Turkington and denying other board members and the public any opportunity to participate in the process.

    This is destructive on so many fronts:
    • It leaves town operations basically rudderless for an indeterminate time.
    • As the town will have to pay Mr. Turkington’s salary and benefits for a year, it is absurdly and needlessly costly.
    • It tarnishes Wayland’s reputation as an employer, making it a dubious place for other high quality town administrators to want to work.
    • As Mr. Turkington has received only glowing reviews in the 8 years he’s worked for the town, it is a faithless and dishonorable way to treat him or any employee.


    Boschetto, Collins and Leard crossed the line. Did they think no one would notice or care during the dog days of summer?

    The agenda item publicly presented was purposely murky offering no insight into their intentions. The agenda stated: “Review Town Administrator Employment Agreement and Job Description,” yet Vice Chair Tony Boschetto immediately introduced a prepared motion to terminate Mr. Turkington’s employment contract without cause. Selectmen Steve Correia’s and Joe Nolan’s impassioned pleas for fairness, transparency and time for preparation and input were disregarded.

    See for Yourself
    Watch the video clip by fast-forwarding to timestamp 27:30 in this link - http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/playe...f3b6d2d6552e70.

    Many Town Officials Dismayed and Outraged
    As current and former town officials, we are deeply dismayed by the actions of our town’s newest selectmen, Tony Boschetto, Ed Collins and Doug Leard. Many shocked residents (1) question whether there has been a serious abuse of power; (2) urge review by the Attorney General of potential open meeting law violations; (3) cite breach of fiduciary obligations to the Town; and (4) raise the question of a recall process.

    We are appalled that any town employee has been treated in this manner. It is inexcusable, unprecedented, and reflects an utter lack of transparency and human decency. Without any explanation other than a desire to “go in another direction,” without any due process, without any notice or discussion, without any good faith, this is a major breach of the Board’s fiduciary responsibility as elected officials to the residents and taxpayers of this town.

    Not only has the town lost an effective and committed employee, but it is obligated to pay his annual salary of $154,320 plus life insurance and healthcare benefits for the remainder of his contract.

    Hypocrisy
    It is ironic that Leard, Boschetto and Collins campaigned on themes of fiscal responsibility and transparency.

    • As a candidate, current Board Chair Doug Leard said “I am also concerned with a lack of communication with the public and the diminishing community spirit that once existed in Wayland.” And “I will advocate for better accountability to Wayland residents.... better communication in town government and an emphasis on TRUST! (emphasis his) …we must remember we all work for all Wayland residents and our actions speak so much louder than our campaign words.”
    • Tony Boschetto stated: “I look forward to working together to create an environment where community input is welcomed and the interests of all residents are taken into account. Throughout my career I have been committed to fostering open and honest communication, and I would bring this same commitment to the Board of Selectmen.”
    • Ed Collins said he would like to encourage “serious respect for the Open Meeting Law and Public Records Act to help promote genuine transparency and accountability in town government.”


    Their words certainly ring hollow now.

    Town Center and DPW Project at Risk
    This reckless action could result in extensive collateral damage. Beyond the financial ramifications, consider the loss of institutional knowledge which puts at risk the town's position in regard to outstanding litigation.

    In addition, this could negatively impact ongoing work on the Town Center, as the most energetic core supporters of Boschetto, Collins and Leard have been vocal and influential opponents of Town Center. It likely puts the much-needed DPW project at River Road on hold and threatens the River’s Edge project that could have a significantly positive impact on the financial future of the town that Boschetto, Leard and Collins claim to support.

    Morale
    And then there is the impact their action has on morale. It sends an alarming message widely -- to current town employees with binding contracts, to the labor unions, to potential town volunteers, to those who have dealings with the town and have relied on contracts and the good faith of the town in their dealings. They have undermined the community’s trust in public officials and created a poor atmosphere for the town's employees.

    Outstanding Professional
    Fred Turkington has served Wayland well since September 2005. Turkington was Wayland’s first Town Administrator after 2004 town meeting approved changes to its bylaws which instituted significant changes in the town’s governing structure. Turkington did an outstanding job implementing these changes. During his tenure the town has gained the new Town Center, the new high school, the new community pool, and implementation of significant efficiencies and cost-saving initiatives. His background is exceptional, having received his undergraduate degree from Bates College and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Connecticut, and then served as Chief Administrative Officer in another town for nearly 10 years.

    Mr. Turkington is a highly-respected leader in his profession. He is the current president of the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association, having served on its Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Policy Committee.

    To verify his track record of annual stellar performance reviews – here is one example at http://www.wickedlocal.com/wayland/n...red-Turkington).


    Our Community Deserves Better
    Firing Mr. Turkington is a huge loss for the town. Do Boschetto, Collins and Leard intend for the Town to go without a full-time Town Administrator and HR director for nearly a year? While fulfilling the financial obligations of Mr. Turkington’s contract, it is unlikely the town budget would cover an additional appointment. How is this better for Wayland?

    Last, but certainly not least, it is inconceivable that this type of action could occur without any public discussion – or without any back room or off-line discussions between Boschetto, Collins and Leard prior to the meeting. How was it possible for them to spend a mere 20 minutes in public discussion on a huge change in town government without violating the Open Meeting Law? The facts speak for themselves.

    Wayland deserves better. Residents are entitled to answers to these and many other questions.

    Signed by:

    John Bladon, former chair and member of the Board of Selectmen,
    Tom Fay, former chair and member of the Board of Selectmen,
    Susan Pope, former State Representative and former member of the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee and the Finance Committee and current president of the Friends of the Council on Aging,
    Michael Tichnor, former chair and member of the Board of Selectmen and former member of the Finance Committee,
    William Whitney, former chair and member of the Board of Selectmen and former member of the Planning Board,
    Rod Fletcher, former member of the Finance Committee,
    Nancy Funkhouser, current member of the Finance Committee,
    Cherry Karlson, current member and former chair of the Finance Committee,
    Bob Lentz, former chair and member of the Finance Committee,
    Steve Lesser, former member of the Finance Committee,
    Sam Peper, former chair and member of the Finance Committee,
    Chris Riley, former chair and member of the Finance Committee and current chair of the Audit Committee,
    Richard Stack, former member of the Finance Committee,
    Bill Steinberg, former chair and member of the Finance Committee and former chair and member of the Planning Board,
    Lea Anderson, current chair of the High School Building Committee, former member of the School Committee,
    Malcolm Astley, current member of the School Committee,
    Jeff Dieffenbach, former chair and member of the School Committee, former member of the Finance Committee,
    Lori Frieling, former chair and member of the School Committee,
    Louis Jurist, former chair and member of the School Committee,
    Heather Pineault, former chair and member of the School Committee,
    Bruce Cummings, former chair and member of the Board of Assessors,
    Ben Downs, current member of the Audit Committee,
    Marylynn Gentry, former chair and member of the Conservation Commission,
    Kent Greenawalt, current chair and member of the Planning Board,
    Jim Grumbach, former chair and member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and current member of the Economic Development Committee,
    James Karlson, former chair and member of the Board of Health,
    Mark Lucier, former chair of the Open Space Committee,
    Megan Lucier, former chair and member of the Conservation Commission,
    Nancy McCarthy, current chair of the Personnel Board,
    John Perten, former chair and member of the Zoning Board of Appeals,
    Kathie Steinberg, current member of the Historic District Commission,
    Ellen Tohn, Former member of the Conservation Commision,
    Nick Willard, current member of the Personnel Board.

    The letter expresses the views of each individual above and does not represent any town board or committee.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    165

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    It's time to remove these three from the Board. I can't help but wonder what other behind the door plots are thickening. We need to put more people like Joe and Steve back on the board to offer some sense of true representation - not individuals with the kinds of self-serving, non citizen oriented, opaque, dictator-style behaviors we've just witnessed. The double talk is nauseating, and this kind of action goes way beyond irony and borders on criminal. Mr. Turkington was an honorable, dedicated, citizen oriented servant of Wayland, and he was treated like a traitor. He deserves his day in court, and I hope he takes some action against the three individuals who perpetrated this travesty on a personal level as this act certainly appears to be personal. Good luck Fred, and I hope we have the opportunity to meet again in the future.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    As a retired 40-plus year employee of the Town of Wayland, I was appalled, saddened, and shocked to learn of the Town Administrator's termination while watching the meeting via Cable TV on August 26th. This is most definitely not the way to deal with a personnel issue. During my tenure with the Town, all my dealings with Fred Turkington were extremely professional and He was most helpful when it was necessary. As I watched the meeting, all I could think of were two events - The so-called "ambush interview technique(s)" used by the late Mike Wallace and the "on-air" termination of vocalist Julius LaRosa by the late Arthur Godfrey. For those who watched early TV, both broadcasters were on CBS. I would agree with others who cite the lack of a clear-cut reason for this event, the failure to define what the "proposed new direction" the Town of Wayland will take, and the timing of this dismissal. We have an upcoming Town Meeting that will deal with some important issues; namely the proposed new DPW facility, the payment(s) in conjunction with the recent Town Center issue(s), etc. The Town needs a person with full knowledge of these and other issues in order to deal with them effectively, namely a full-time Town Administrator.
    Last edited by Thomas Turner; 09-02-2013 at 05:58 PM. Reason: spelling errors

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