A few weeks ago Charlie Cristello, the Middleboro Town Manager, had a visitor from the Enterprise who requested some information that is public record. Charlie simply wrote it down on a piece of paper and answered every question asked. This centered around his very own contract. The Enterprise has been having a very public ongoing battle with another community regarding access to public records and wanted to simply check out responses from various communities.
The recent election had as a major issue transparency. Business being done in public. Inquiring minds might want to know and if it is public information do it.
Now you come to our local G & E that seems to operate under rules that defy public access but also common sense. The Enterprise had a rather interesting article about how the manager John Granahan has managed to go into some type of corporate lock down over his contract, payroll information and the budget. Unlike the TM he has a different set of rules. Mike Solimni, a commissioner, has not been able to get the information. I can just imagine telling a CFO or a CEO to "buzz off" if they asked for corporate information from an underling. The diss of Solimini is a diss of rate payers.
Town Counsel has said they do not see the light (pun intended)in regards to releasing information that should be readily available. This stonewalling has also impacted other town officials who need the information for such foolishness as accountability and with a key phrase being the town (us) will be responsible for all G & E debt.
I called up several municipal power companies to question what they do. What policy do they have? It all came down to two words - public record. Mr. Granahan claims his contract contains "Proprietary information" and as one pundit said "What does it contain? The formula for cold fusion?" I didn't bother to ask procedures as just the fact that they realized honoring a request was their responsibility.
What other towns do is just a useful point of reference in case municipal unities have some type of Skull and Crossbones society going on but the core issue remains the same - the management style of Mr. Granahan.
Now their web site does have information such as their annual report but only as far as 2005. They do have open meetings but what good are meetings that are open when the information requested is not open?
The G & E seems - at least to this novice - to do a reasonable job of keeping rates low, servicing the power grid and contributing to the community but I just wonder if the manager is running another local fiefdom?