Councilors-Elect Want Orderly Transition, Audit, New Town Manager

by | Nov 14, 2018

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

In an impromptu interview Friday with councilors-elect Mike Donegan, Renu Englehart and Mike Zarrella Friday, Englehart and Zarrella expressed surprise with the election sweep but all three said they thought it had to do with the voters desire for change.

“I was amazed how many people knew what was going on in the town. People really were paying attention…. But I still never thought we’d sweep,” Zarrella said.

“We were known to the voters,” said Donegan, citing various members’ town board involvement and community longevity. “So people voted for the individuals. They definitely wanted a change.”

Zarrella also credited Democratic Town Committee head Christa Thompson (and former chair Hilary Friedman) for the big election win. In particular, he noted the Democrats decision in 2017 to videotape the Town Council meetings, keeping the public informed.

All three were unhappy with Corrigan’s decision to announce that the town has a $2 million deficit for 2018 on the Dan Yorke Show after months of refusing to release financial information.

“I have a hard time with the fact that Ms. Corrigan chose to go on Dan Yorke to tell us about the town financial situation when she hadn’t given the courtesy to any of us who were newly elected to give us that same information. I really think that’s inappropriate,” said Englehart.

“Even after the election, a sitting council member [Mark Schwager] hasn’t seen these numbers. We’re elected and we haven’t seen these numbers. The first time they’ll even give us a snapshot is when they tell us the catastrophic financial situation we’re in on the Dan Yorke Show,” said Donegan.

As far as Corrigan’s tenure, Donegan and Englehart both said she had to go. Zarrella said he wanted to look at her contract before taking action.

Even with that, they said they hoped for an orderly transition. The interview took place before news of Dykeman’s departure.

“What we would expect is that a transition will be professional and orderly,” said Donegan. “We would expect the outgoing council, the solicitor and Gayle and her team to be professional in helping us transition so that we would be in the best possible place to operate the government…. I live in hope on this issue. I am expecting that she and everyone will behave professionally in this process.”

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Pat lambert
Pat lambert
November 14, 2018 8:55 am

The outgoing members put us here. I do not have faith they will be professional. I hope the change needed will be swift and smooth for the New members. GOOD LUCK!!!

Steve Gregson
Steve Gregson
November 14, 2018 11:15 am

I do believe it was not this outgoing Counsel that is responsible for putting us in this financial situation . Once again we have shot the messenger because we didn’t like the message!

November 14, 2018 3:24 pm
Reply to  Steve Gregson

I respectfully disagree. The current Town Council spent hundreds of thousands of dollars (and more bills are yet to be received) in legal fees that absolutely could have been avoided. I do not know if what is being reported (drive the Town into bankruptcy to bust the unions) is accurate or if it was sheer negligence by the Council to repeatedly violate Open Meetings Laws, etc. This Council was plagued by poor decision making and complete lack of credibility. So yes, I believe the outgoing Council bears the burden of our current situation

Steve Gregson
Steve Gregson
November 15, 2018 9:21 am

Once again this council took action based on data, the open meetings issues are separate and if there is blame for that then it should go to their legal council for not giving sound advice.
It will be quite interesting to see how all this plays out!

Eugene Quinn
November 15, 2018 10:07 am
Reply to  Steve Gregson

Having spent hundreds of hours re-analyzing the “data” presented by the outgoing council, I emphatically disagree.

In many cases their “analysis” consisted of cherry-picking an outlier and extrapolating it to produce a sensational result that was both misleading and largely irrelevant in the context of the full dataset.

You will find some of my analyses here:

November 16, 2018 12:43 pm
Reply to  Eugene Quinn

Eugene, have you been able to analyze the unfunded pension liability to determine if those estimates (between $36MM to $86MM) are in the ballpark?


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