If there is a strategy that Oak Bluffs selectman Kerry Scott hasn't thought of for getting nothing done on behalf of her constituents, it isn't for lack of perseverance on her part. Ms. Scott has worked hard to excavate a chasm that separates her from her colleagues, except for Roger Wey, a selectman who often joins her in waging war against good sense and responsible leadership.
Without discussing her plan with her colleagues, without telling them what she'd done, Ms. Scott has asked the state Department of Revenue to advise on the question of whether towns may negotiate personal service contracts with selected employees who offer especially desirable qualifications. Ms. Scott thinks the practice is suspect.
In a letter to the state, Ms. Scott listed 14 town employees and asked for guidance regarding which of them may be entitled to hold personal service contracts. In a flight of political fancy, common enough to part-time, volunteer public officeholders here, she pretends in her letter that, although she is an elected executive of the town, she is writing as a private citizen. That's to disguise her cold disregard for the principle of collegiality that ought to influence her working relationship with her fellow selectmen. But, if you are a selectman, that's who you are. You can't leave the role behind until you are not a selectman any longer. And, if your aim is to serve all your constituents, concerns about the town's personnel practices ought to be discussed among the selectmen, the practices reviewed by town counsel, at the request of the selectmen, and the result made public. There is no doubt here that a request by Ms. Scott to her colleagues to have town counsel consider any questions surrounding the practice would have been agreed to, and in public session.
In a news report this morning by Times reporter Aubrey Gibavic, Ms. Scott's varied accounts of why she did what she did, how she attempted to communicate news of her actions to her colleagues - by slipping copies of her letter under a door in the Oak Bluffs town hall - how she's worried that the personal services contract might be an attempt to bust the municipal unions add up to nothing but grandstanding and its cousin, balderdash. In particular, the notion that Duncan Ross, the staunchest and most formidable negotiator the Island teachers union ever had and now the chairman of the Oak Bluffs selectmen, would be a party to union busting practices is astonishingly irrational. It must be that she says it, but she doesn't really think it. And that is also the likely explanation for Ms. Scott's insinuation that the outgoing town administrator chose her moment to leave because she knew that the special services contracts were improper. It's nothing better than a sidewinding way to launch an unfounded attack without seeming to.
Oak Bluffs voters need to pay attention here. Ms. Scott's hard work will lead to two consequences, each deplorable in its own way and both disadvantageous to the interests of town voters and taxpayers. If Ms. Scott is successful, she will hobble the town's government in a net of political battles, all without foundation or purpose, and she will paralyze the leadership so that what is important to voters gets no efficient attention at all.
In the end, the sound and fury will lead to nothing but wasted opportunities, wasted money, and stagnation for Oak Bluffs voters and taxpayers.