Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Glowing Review ... But

Amherst Town Manager John Musante

So it comes as no surprise the Select Board gave Town Manager John Musante high marks (don't get any higher than 100%!) for fiscal management, working with the Select Board itself, and slightly lower but still very good marks at 83% for dealing with our tax exempt institutes of higher education.

What is troubling, however, is the lowest mark (75%) for dealing with staff.

Particularly troubling because this mirrors the low (er) marks his disgraced predecessor Larry Shaffer received a few years ago. Interestingly, yesterday the Michigan newspaper that covers Jackson where Shaffer briefly reigned as city manager published an expose on the "inside story" of Shaffer's sudden departure -- with $64K in tax money -- from that community that mirrored his sudden departure from ours, with $62K in tax money.

Another safe bet is the Select Board will give the town manager a 5% raise based on this performance evaluation.  And not because it brings his salary into line with surrounding communities, but simply because School Superintendent Maria Geryk -- who was also making exactly the same $140K last year -- recently received a 5% raise.

And we must have parity ... at least at the very top rungs of municipal employment.

But when your staff and lower on the totem pole employees only receive a 2 or 3% raise, that legitimately creates, umm, discontent. 


Grade inflation?  If the Select Board had rewarded the town manager's above average fiscal management and communication with them with an 80% or a B, which most people consider a good solid score, then reducing that by the same 25% they did with his interaction with staff would have resulted in a 60% score ... or a D.


Roach Patrol said...

" his disgraced predecessor Larry Shaffer..."

Incubated in Amherst, infecting the planet.

Anonymous said...

No photo credit?

The Ponziville Karma Show said...

Hey Ponziville, why did Shaffer last SO LONG in your rinky-dink little village?


Anonymous said...

Man, if you read any of the Jackson articles you'd be hard pressed, in comparison, to criticize political life in this town. Sounds like the place is run by a bunch of special interest cutthroats.

LarryK said...

Anon 11:54 Am:

I took the photo, so I don't feel the need to credit myself.

But now that you mention it, I should start using the "All rights reserved" and copyright symbol on each post.

Dr. Ed said...

How very much like Amherst -- talk the talk of all kinds of being nice to people and such, but when it comes to "walking the walk", it instantly becomes clear this was just talk...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you're overreading the grades here?

There was going to be a lowest grade. They weren't going to whitewash his report card. So they choose to build in some incentives to work better with staff. So what?

My guess is that there are some differing degrees of difficulty that are not built into these grades. Working with staff with very low income prospects, who are beset by many residents (VOC et al) who see town government and politics as their hobby (not true of every community), is clearly not easy.

It is disturbing that an increase in Maria Geryk's salary creates a parity problem, given that her credentials and experience are not on par with his. Oh, well.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to anyone trying to find a time when John Musante lost his cool.

Anonymous said...

He and Maria are both overpaid. End of discussion.

Anonymous said...

A propos about nothing: According to today's (Wednesday 8/22) Gazette, the schools are once again facing a deficit, so they say. That dreaded word "override" is in play. Again. I'm beginning to hate Amherst and the bs. Every single time the schools have cried poverty, somehow, mysteriously, after the override passes, money is found "elsewhere." If I could find a small little house in Hadley I'd be out of here in a flash. Believe me, I'm working on it.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Anonymous said...

There's going to be an override vote in 2013.

You are surprised by this?

These things have a certain rhythm.

LarryK said...

"I am shocked! Shocked! Well, not that shocked."

Anonymous said...

Yes, once again, we'll be told that we have to vote for yet another override.........for the children.

While all the time we've been told to shut up about how the schools are run.........for the children.

And all along it's really been.........for the bureaucrats.