Mr. Masisson’s letter and Bob Hickey’s column in the Foxboro Reporter are right on ... the ByLaw conflict with the superman Town Manager statute is interpreted by the Manager in his favor. Moreover, questions raised on the negotiations issue 16 months ago are still in limbo as an answer has never been forthcoming from Town Counsel; instead everyone heard the 20 minute legal lecture by the Manager (having not passed the Bar Exam) at the meeting of June 14, 2011. The several follow-ups on this matter indicated that the manager will call to check where the response is, however, my request is to know the question and how it is posed to the Attorney; they have a habit of answering in the tenet of a question only, and not overall. He has also stated in open session that he discusses the issues with the negotiation team, yet ignores the Personnel Wage Board. And he claimed he is merely following what has been done for 8 years. The Negotiation team By-Law was passed by Town Meeting in 1997 and I am told was in place while Mr Gala was in charge, somewhat short of the 8 years he notes! And there is nothing in his statute which either negates his position as a member of the negotiating team, or even the team itself!
There is a transfer By-Law passed by Town Meeting in 2009, five years after the superman statute. It states the Selectmen, either on their own, or acting through their agent, the Town Manager, may seek Advisory Committee approval of transfers. Last year the selectmen were informed the day after the Manager’s requested Advisory vote with a form dated three days prior which did not record the deletion vote by AdCom! Moreover, pursuant to the By-Law and the statute he did not even seek AdCom’s vote or the Selectman’s vote on the Snow and Ice transfer of several thousand dollars! It was paid, but by what authority? You will be told, I am sure, that the statute permits him to do this.
One merely needs to take the time to read both the Superman statute and our By-Laws, the latter incidentally passed by the voters; I am made to understand that we have a Town Meeting Form of government, and not a Council or Mayor! The statute notes in it’s Sec. 6,
“All laws, by-laws, votes, rules and regulations, whether enacted by authority of the town or any other authority, which are in force in the town of Foxborough on the effective date of this act, or any portion or portions thereof, ... shall continue in force ...”.
It also states (Sec. 3) that the executive powers of the town are vested in the Selectmen, and (Sec 4) that the Town Manager is an agent of the Selectmen and is responsible for coordinating and administering all town affairs under the guidance of the Selectmen. The massive changes do not exist as implied. It makes clear many day to day responsibilities re:, personnel policies, department daily reporting, several department head appointments, file monthly and other reports, prepare the budget, and on and on. In most cases the Selectmen must approve or can veto any action. In many cases it spells out jurisdiction over such things as procurements, certain building managements, contracts and supervision of warrant preparation. There is little specific direct new authority over what Mr Gala exercised without Selectman approval or veto.
Merely read and compare, little has changed, other than what the manager perceives and more clarity with the statute implementation.
There are many more items such as commuter parking lot funding prior to a vote, the Camp Augustine Chapel fiasco, the dog park, and of course, the Route 1 billboards of note.
Dick Heydecker, 63 Grove Street 508-543-9412
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