MOO-ving Forward – Part II

August 27, 2008

As we wrote here, the July 22nd COWncil meeting Item 4 approved a reorganization with little discussion of why or what went wrong. The previous article covered Item 4 of that meeting in detail, but there is one more aspect that is in need of further COW-mentary. The resolution stated that, “The Town does not require a second “Assistant” position” – i.e., Hope’s former job as Assistant Town Manager / Director of Community Design and Development. The reason? “[The Town] is now well-served by an Assistant to the Town Manager who has the capacity to move up in the organization and provide the needed administrative and managerial support.”

Oh so Kevin Bryant is being groomed to be the heir apparent. While clearly there is a big difference between Assistant TO the Town Manager and “Assistant Town Manager”, this resolution states that Kevin is viewed as someone who can and will be trusted with more responsibility as time goes on – but right now, can’t threaten Susan George’s authority as Town Manager.

While we were impressed with Kevin’s report on climate change (check out our article here) we are not sure what else he has been assigned to do. We are hopeful but we will be watching.

Item 5 on the same agenda was the actual item that provides for the hiring of a firm to look for “A New Hope.” It too was a no-discussion Consent Calendar item. As you can note in our story here, Management Partners, Inc. was hired by the COWncil to conduct the search. The resolution says that Susan George solicited proposals from various consulting firms, and she chose Management Partners as the firm to go with this time.

Perhaps the Town just didn’t want to get stuck with another Hope Sullivan, so they decided not to use CPS Partners, the firm that recommended Hope? In any event, the proposal itself extols the virtues of Management Partners – “knowledge of the Town,” etc., and notes the consulting work they’ve done for Woodside in previous years. Not to mention the long time relationship with Susan George. This of course again raises the question of why the Town hasn’t acted on most of their extensive list of recommendations on how to improve the Town Government.

Management Partner’s bid “includes support for all aspects of the recruitment process.” The search will take “about twelve weeks” to “adequately search, screen, and select finalists for the position.” The work began immediately after the motion was approved on July 22nd. The fee is “not to exceed $22,500” but there’s a provision for up to $5,000 in expenses, for a close to 30 grand total.

This motion was passed without COWment as part of the Consent Calendar, too… of course. Why would the COWncil actually discuss such a large and important contract publicaly, or let citizens give their thoughts as part of a regular agenda item? Too much chance for controversy that way!

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