Monday, August 30, 2010

It only comes but once a year

12:30 PM Select Board to discuss/vote flags fate for 9/11

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephanie O'Keeffe
To: Larry Kelley
Sent: Tue, Aug 31, 2010 11:56 am
Subject: 9/11 flag policy to be addressed

Hi Larry --

You're in luck. We have to schedule another meeting this week to discuss plans for an Interim Town Manager. A Select Board member has requested that we also take up the 9/11 flag question, so we will.

The flag discussion will be our first item: 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, 9/2 in the Town Room. The agenda (soon to be posted, if it isn't already) notes five minutes for the discussion, but that is just because I need to start the Interim discussion immediately after it, and I have no untimed items to fill any blank space that might result if I were to schedule longer than is needed. The flag discussion will take as long as it needs to.

Take care.


-----Original Message-----
From: Stephanie O'Keeffe
To: Larry Kelley
Sent: Tue, Aug 31, 2010 1:09 pm
Subject: room change

... make that the First Floor Meeting Room, not the Town Room.

Sorry for the confusion.



9:30 PM. Hot copy (last night). Updated 2nd video posted at 10:00 PM

So I guess I will just let the videos of tonight's illustrious Amherst Select Board meeting speak for themselves.

Interesting that the Chair blows me off by saying the Open Meeting Law requires anything to come under discussion be posted 48 hours in advance on an official agenda thus they could not possibly now take a simple vote on this 9/11 flag issue, yet an hour later they go into a surprise "executive session" to talk about the Town Manager's retirement package.

These days they just throw "executive session" on every agenda and if you don't use it there is no violation. Tonight it does appear on the agenda but as an "untimed item".

After an hour in secret session they come back into public session to announce Mr. Shaffer is gone as of 9/30 with four months salary (about the same as School Superintendent Alberto Rodriguez absconded with when he suddenly flew the coop a few months back).


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this hot off the presses item about Shaffer. I had seen his house was under contract for sale, but must admit I am still shocked.

LarryK4 said...

Apparently it sold.

harry shafter said...

shaffer was the stonewall that helped amherst avoid paying me for my work they invited me to do on the 250th legacy piece. he was a prick to me, as was roberts. all i was trying to do was create a nice space in downtown, but they chewed me up and spit me out. you all know the story. wish i could say i was sad to see him go.

Anonymous said...

OHHH NOOO Larrey, you will have to find a new nemesis now. SORRY!

LarryK4 said...

Actually, I"m going to miss him.

Anonymous said...

He seems to be leaving on short notice. Why the four months with pay? Why waste town's time with contract extension and performance review? What percent of his salary does the town have to pay for pension? Reminds me of the Dire Straits song "Money for nothing and Chicks for free".

Taylor said...

I wonder if Larry's reviews were not exactly glowing and this resignation was a mutual decision to move in another direction? He had a long history of alienating personnel and decisions that led to bad PR. The Boy Scouts, the Umass Agreements, Lincoln Ave and its barricades, voicing the desire to make the AFD all volunteer, the 4th July Parade. He often times just did not seem to get it. He alienated a lot of powerful people. Both ex-chiefs (Scherpa and Hoyle) found him difficult at best to work with just as Mike Kent did. I think Amherst could be better because of this move. Could be because we have no idea who will follow. I smell another Barry D. interim assignment....

Anonymous said...

i know of one employee who left because of him.

the boy scouts are crying

Anonymous said...

Larry Shaffer = piece of shit


Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed because I thought that our Town Manager was a pretty good guy.

He appeared to be serious without taking himself too seriously. He performed with grace and good humor in the public life of the Town, including at our annual Trivia Bees. We all heard that he had a temper, but so what? People with passion for getting things done make mistakes in interpersonal situations and sometimes show temper at times.

I liked the way in which he conducted himself in public meetings. Some may have thought that his routine expressions of deference to SB members before speaking were a bit too much. I thought they emphasized a kind of etiquette that established for everyone watching who Larry Shaffer thought was the ultimate boss, that is, those whom we elect. I noted that at our 250th Birthday ceremony in front of Town Hall in February 2009, he took a position below the elected dignitaries, a gesture of humility that I didn't miss.

The Manager made mistakes and acknowledged them with candor. I can tell that he was frustrated with our Town's deep-seated resistance to any type of development that would expand our tax base, a problem that can only be dealt with at the ballot-box and in Town Meeting.

If it's good form to leave when many of those you serve will miss you, myself included, then this is possibly a good time. But I felt he had more good work to do. I'm not on the inside, so there may be something going on that I don't know about.

As we can tell from some of the above comments, others may carp and take their last shots at a man with a thankless job. This particular citizen would like to say thanks, sir, for your service to the Town during very difficult fiscal times.

Rich Morse

Taylor said...

Rich - You make some valid points. I think Larry had become better in his dealings with the public and the Select Board. However, a big part of his job is interpersonal relationships. He is the Chief Executive of a multi-million dollar orgnaization and his anger and outbursts alienated many within his executive and middle management. That can not be excused as being passionate. Such behavior would not be tolerated in most employment enviroments.

As for his respectfulness towards the Select Board, that was not always the case. There were multiple times when he would take a tone and manner with the Select Board that implied he was the chief decision maker for the town and they were not to interfere with his authority.

I noted earlier that the future could be better. It could be better if the next leader gets how to work within the confines of our towns unique political and social culture and its cumbersome form of government. That is no sure thing and the future Town Executive could be far worse than Larry, but we have to hope and work towards finding the right individual, because from the beginning through last night, I think there was compelling evidence to suggest Larry was not the right person for the job.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

In the final analysis, no mere mortal like Larry Shaffer can live up to Amherst's lofty standards for public service.

Perhaps someday this will be acknowledged when we hold an election for Select Board or School Committee and, in a moment of realistic self-assessment, nobody runs. (We've gotten close already.)

Or when we post the jobs of Library Director, Town Manager, and School Superintendent, and, out of sheer professional discretion, nobody applies.....because they know that they simply can't measure up.

Then it will be clear that just how wonderful we are on our little Mount Olympus has finally become known far and wide amongst the unwashed masses in the hinterlands.

Sorry, LarryS, you had a splendid resume in ordinary places, but you just wouldn't be able to cut it among the illuminati here. And that was clear to the self-anointed keen observers from the get-go. Nice try, but you weren't perfect, and that's what we demand here.

LarryS, you've been blessed to be here, you've been touched by our greatness and our wisdom, now go in peace with what you've learned.

Anonymous said...

God, what a friggin' ego trip it is to live here, every single day.

Who knew that self-importance was the strongest drug of all?

Anonymous said...

Gratitude is not cool.

Anonymous said...

Taylor for Town Manager. He's got it all figured out.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that even with the high salaries we offer some of our public officials, they still end up moving on prematurely. I guess even those salaries aren't enough.

Mikey said...

Larry is a nice guy but he was in over his head here in The Republic of Amherst. The standards for leadership, whether it's the library, the schools, or the town itself are high and we've made it a sport to second-guess those we choose to lead us.

Not that Larry was without fault. He had no patience for the unique foibles of the town and after a few years he was lurching from one random and poorly-thought out decisions to another.

Now if we can only get Catherine Sanderson to see the light and retire in 30 days. Problem is, her ego is too large to fit through the see-ya-later door.

LarryK4 said...

I believe Catherine Sanderson is an unpaid volunteer. Far cry from our other highly paid town officials.

Anonymous said...

And school administrators...

Anonymous said...

Larry- Could you please share the name of your photographer with Larry Shaffer?
(I'm referring to photos used by The Gazette)
They must like you!!!