Meet the candidate: John Rooney (Board of Selectmen)

by susan on March 25, 2010

[Note: What follows is a statement authored by John Rooney who is running for a seat on the Board of Selectmen. No endorsement is implied. If you’re running for a town office this year and would like to post a statement on My Southborough, drop me a line. Town elections will be held on May 10. A list of candidates can be found here.]

My name is John Rooney, and today I will be turning in nomination papers for the office of Selectman in the Town of Southborough. I believe that the uniqueness of Southborough is its rural nature and its honest, hard working and genuine residents, and I believe our town is best served by a competitive race of competent and accomplished individuals. A number of you already know and support me, for which I am grateful, and I hope to meet many more of you over the next several weeks.

By way of background, I grew up in the City of Waltham in a small family in which my father was the Chief of Police. After graduating from high school in 1975, college in 1979, and law school in 1983, I became an Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County where I prosecuted serious felony cases.

In 1986, I joined the law firm of Melick, Porter & Shea, LLP, a six lawyer firm with a single office in Boston. Presently, I am an owner of that law firm, which currently employs approximately eighty-five tremendous people, with offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. In addition to being licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, I am licensed and actively practice law in the states of New Hampshire, Connecticut and in the District of Columbia.

Most people know me as an independent thinker who approaches issues pragmatically, creatively, and with an abundance of common sense. They know I am not a politician. I have no interest in stepping into a higher office beyond serving the residents and taxpayers of Southborough.

What I am most proud of is my family. I have been married for twenty years to my beautiful wife Janelle, and have two children in whom I take great pride – Alexandra, a junior at Algonquin Regional High School, and Connor, an eighth-grader at Trottier Middle School. I have lived in the same home on Edgewood Road in Southborough since 1991. I am the consummate, die-hard Red Sox fan.

Southborough faces significant challenges in the years to come, as we deal with economic recovery and finite revenues. The town must prevent unnecessary spending and review budgets carefully. At the same time, we must find new and creative ways to increase revenue without relying on an override to meet budgetary needs. We cannot be apathetic as department budgets are cut, teachers are let go, valued town employees and administrators resign, and essential town services are further reduced. The future success of Southborough requires everyone to be an active participant.

As an owner of a large business, budget concerns relating to increasing revenues and curtailing expenses is a part of my day-to-day activity. Employee hiring, firing and evaluations are a constant. Negotiation, compromise and open discourse are essential. Operating and managing a town is not something that can be addressed unilaterally by a three member Board or in a vacuum. If elected, I would urge the Board of Selectman to partner closely with this town’s talented department heads, administrators, employees and volunteers, and invest in them duties and responsibilities they are so very qualified to perform. In order to be effective, the Board must have the respect and support of the residents, tax payers and town employees, and all of us must work together as a unified team.

Making a difference requires actual participation. Leadership style needs to be participative and investing people in the decision-making process causes them to become committed. By energizing people and encouraging participation, we are all able to make a difference.

People have asked me why am I running and how can I possibly think I can make a difference? My response is simple, and is best reflected in the well known and often repeated story of the Starfish:

On a beautiful, sunny day, a man was walking along a beach. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf’s edge and the beach. As the man approached he could see that there were thousands of starfish stranded on the sand after the tide receded. The man was stuck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish and it was clear most of them would perish. Yet the person continued picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf. As the man approached he said, “You must be crazy. There are miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make any difference.” The person looked at the man, then stooped down, picked up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, “I guess it made a difference to that one.”

I have not run for any political office before. I am not running against any one person, but rather I am running for a position. If you believe it an absolute prerequisite that you elect someone with a political background then, respectfully, I am not your candidate.

On the other hand, if you are interested in someone who is not a politician, but rather a public servant that will listen to you, that will be accountable, and will make decisions based upon common sense; if you believe it important for someone to have experience in operating and managing a multi-million dollar business; for someone who has dealt with and continues to deal with decreasing revenues and increasing expenses; and someone who believes the strength of Southborough is based not on the composition of the Board of Selectmen, but rather upon the talent and wisdom of the extremely competent and passionate department heads, town personnel, and volunteers, then I humbly ask you to support me for a position on the Board of Selectmen.

Finally, unless I am convinced of its necessity, I have no intention of having political signs littering your lawns and scattered alongside the roadways of this great town. Nor will you be directed to a website and asked to contribute money or to “blog.” If I cannot earn your vote based upon my words, experience and actions, I do not deserve it simply because of signage or outspending another candidate.

No matter whom you decide to vote for on Monday, May 10, 2010, I encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote. The future of this town depends on you, not to mention the remaining stranded Starfish.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

John F. Rooney, III
March 22, 2010

1 Mimi22 March 25, 2010 at 12:21 PM

A few questions to get the ball rolling;

What boards or committees have you served on in town?
What were your reasons for resigning from the Police Chief Search Committee?
Have you been a regular attendee at town meeting?
Do you regularly attend BOS meetings?

2 Raymond Lavalle March 25, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Mimi22,

I have seen you post all the time on this site and see that you even posted yesterday. Do you not bother to read the posts as well? The resignation letter was provided by the moderator of this site yesterday and it is at least clear to me, as well as everyone I have talked to who does not have their head buried in the sand up to their shoulders, why Mr. Rooney resigned. I also had that same question until I read that letter. Isn’t the real question begging to be asked is why the heck didn’t everyone resign?

3 Mr. Brightside March 25, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Mimi 22,

Respectfully, seeing the list of questions you just posed compelled me to wonder what is the premise behind them. I am a strong supporter of this forum for many reasons, but believe that anonymous communications like yours, as well as mine, have their place but also their limitations. [I would suspect that if you are serious about wanting to know certain information about any candidate, you would be better served to drop the anonymity, to better help a candidate understand the context of your questions.]

In any case, the second question I would agree is of paramount interest. I would urge you to read Mr. Rooney’s resignation letter, as it is a compelling description of a process gone very bad.

I’m not sure about the other three questions you posed. I presume you are interested in how this candidate (a question for all candidates, I think) plans to be invested in our Town’s issues and challenges in his role as Selectman if elected, and how would he approach addressing those issues and challenges? How would he conduct both himself and the Town’s business? I have read his statement, and think it covers that ground well, at least as an introduction.

I hope that you are not meaning to suggest that we should only consider as candidates for office people that have already held other offices or positions, because that would prevent exactly what this town needs right now – to evaluate new, fresh ideas and energy, from people who want to and can make a difference. People that can think “out of the box” instead of some of the stifling thinking we see today that focuses on the small picture instead of the big picture. I respectfully suggest that to think otherwise is silly, and it represents the same old-fashioned, knee-jerk thinking that got us into the current BOS mess in the first place. I have no doubt that prior service to the Town can be a great asset to an otherwise great candidate, but it does not make one a great candidate. It is clear to me (and apparently also to the vast majority of those who have commented on this blog), that the prior service experience of our current BOS has not sufficed to create effective leadership. In short, we voters need to re-frame the way we think about who our leaders should be.

So, yes, everyone should do their homework about Mr. Rooney and all the candidates for office in the upcoming elections, but let’s ask questions that get to the heart of what’s important, and not generic litmus tests.

In any case, I think that the upcoming election represents a critical point regarding our government here in Southborough, and it would be a tragedy if we voters wasted the opportunity to begin to correct our course as a Town.

Thank you.

4 Mimi22 March 25, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Raymond, what are you getting so hostile about? No I didn’t see that post. I don’t sit here all day and monitor susan’s web site obsessively. I actually work during the day. I will go back and take a look and I WILL ask more questions about if I feel I need to. Who appointed you the guard dog of My Rooney’s offer of a dialogue? So much for free speech!

5 Mimi22 March 25, 2010 at 4:13 PM

I did look back and now notice that susan provided a link within the text of her original post to a previous post regarding Mr. Rooney’s resignation. I did not notice it yesterday. I still would like Mr. Rooney to elaborate on his reasons for resigning now that he is throwing his hat in the ring for the BOS. It might be clear to you, Mr. Lavalle, and to people you “talk to” but it is not clear to me and probably to many others. Your insulting me and my choice of question is inappropriate on so many levels.

I feel Mr. Rooney’s actions require further elaboration. When serving on boards and committees in this or any town, there are often differences of opinion. That is why there are a number of people assigned to sit on each committee. One can fight for their opinion, attempt to pursuade, maybe work toward a compromise, accept defeat and continue to work toward the bigger goal of the committee, or they can take their ball and go home. Now that Mr. Rooney has chosen to run for the highest office in our town I would like to know why he resigned. Certainly, as a member of the BOS, he will almost certainly encounter issues on which his opinion is the minority and I would like to know how he plans to deal with that.

I also would like answers to my other questions.

This is the forum he has chosen for introducing himself to the community and I am asking a set of simple questions. I am not the least bit interested in your opinion, Mr. Lavalle or the people you “talk to.” And, finally, I will not be bullied by you.

6 jim March 25, 2010 at 4:43 PM

In the comments section of the resignation thread (J. Rooney November 5, 2009 at 11:22 AM) Mr Rooney commented on his reason for resigning.

7 susan March 25, 2010 at 5:13 PM
8 Mimi22 March 25, 2010 at 4:31 PM

I am not interested in your opinion either Mr. Brightside.

As an aside, I didn’t think these questions would be taken as threatening. I thought they were pretty simple and get to the heart of his commitment to our town, to public service and his expectations as a potential member of the BOS. I am involved with the town and I believe in volunteerism. Prior to the Police Chief Search Committee controversy, I had never heard of Mr. Rooney. Change can be good. Change can be bad. Change for the sake of change, regardless of how you feel about our current BOS is a gamble.

9 Mr. Brightside March 25, 2010 at 10:35 PM

MiMi22, my issue is not that your questions were threatening at all. I’m just suggesting that they might miss the point by setting up false “straw man” requirements for certain prior service.

And by the way I thought I presented my perspective very respectfully. I’m sorry if you are “not interested” in my opinion, but it certainly wasn’t intended only for you.

Thank you.

10 Mimi22 March 26, 2010 at 9:26 AM

You were very respectful but my questions were directed toward Mr. Rooney. HE is running for office and chose to introduce himself through this blog. HE stated in a previous post that he would engage the residents of Southborough in a dialogue on this blog. Why several of you are insisting on telling me that my question has no merit and on answering for him has me puzzled and, frankly, put off.

However, since Mr. Rooney has not answered any of my questions and the rest of you seem to want to talk about these issues, I will oblige.

Yes, I have read Mr. Rooney’s resignation letter. I read it when the incident occurred and I read it again yesterday at your and Mr. Lavalle’s urging. I am not satisfied and this is why. A committee is formed with a certain number of members who are chosen based on their qualifications as well as their willingness to serve the community and for each to represent a cross-section of the community. There is the presumption going in that everyone will not agree about everything, but that differing opinions will best serve the largest number of citizens of the town. When one person, part-way through the charge of the committee, chooses to remove themselves from the process, they remove not only their voice but theoretically, the voice of many other residents who were counting on them to be heard. So here is what I would like to know. Was resigning really the only option? Did Mr. Rooney feel he had nothing to contribute after the decision he disagreed with was made? Could he have written a “for the record” letter to the BOS stating his disagreement with the process and still contributed to the selection of a police chief? In essence he was representing people of the town and when he resigned he let them down. He states that his continued presence was disruptive – how was it disruptive? Once the decision was made, the discussion and the issue should have been closed and the process moved ahead. Also, in his letter I found it curious that he kept referring to the chair using the term “my committee” when referring to the committee. He did it several times. To me it sounds like a personality conflict. Like it or not, if she was elected chair she was the chair. I find it curious that she used the term “my” instead of “our” but I find it more curious that Mr. Rooney felt the need to state it several times in his letter.

So here is my conclusion. When Mr. Rooney was just Joe Citizen volunteer and chose to resign from the police chief search committee I thought, well that is too bad. However, if it was his only experience with town politics and he is seeking a seat on the Board of Selectmen, his decision to walk away instead of sticking it out and completing his task in the face of disagreement concerns me very much. I think it is a valid concern.

11 Totally out of Touch March 26, 2010 at 1:11 PM

I believe Mr. Rooney resigned because he saw what you (and many more) didn’t. An inexperienced group of people; some with good intentions, who were doing more harm than good in selecting candidates to be considered by the BOS as the new Police Chief. They lost their credibility when they refused to use Badgequest in selecting candidates for further consideration just like the BOS lost all credibility when the rumors and inuendos swirled around that Jane Moran was cut out from the start to fit in as the new chief no matter who else applied. Good luck Mr. Rooney. From some of the postings on this blog, I see you have your work cut out already.

12 Mr. Brightside March 25, 2010 at 4:37 PM

MiMi22,

If you read Mr. Rooney’s resignation letter, I can’t imagine what there is for him to still “elaborate” about. If you are alluding to this other more specific point you made — “as a member of the BOS, he will almost certainly encounter issues on which his opinion is the minority and I would like to know how he plans to deal with that” — then I agree that that is a great (specific) question.

13 Al Hamilton March 25, 2010 at 5:35 PM

I believe we need a change in the Board of Selectmen. The current board works very hard on our behalf and deserves our respect and gratitude for their efforts. However, hard work is not enough, there needs to be a vision with respect to where our town is going and I fear that that is lacking in the current board. We are continuing to operate the same antiquated steam locomotive when there are better diesel electric engines available.

We have an unsustainable business model, our occupancy plan is a disaster, we desperately need to find creative ways to substitute technology for labor as the Town Assessor has and we need to manage the expectations of the many fine town employees we employ in an era of economic hardship. I don’t see our Board of Selectmen tackling these difficult issues but rather micromanaging the system we have.

Coupling these unmet needs with the deeply flawed Police Chief selection process and the ensuing blog embarrassment and the need for change becomes evident.

I spend an hour on the phone with Mr. Rooney and he impressed me as articulate, thoughtful and open minded. Yes, he is a novice to political office and he freely admitted he has a lot to learn but that learning can bring fresh perspective.

Mr. Rooney has offered us his services and I think we should take him up on his offer.

14 John Kendall March 25, 2010 at 7:21 PM

I think this blog is about Mr. Rooney running for Selectman. How’s about we stick with that.

15 Buzz March 25, 2010 at 9:53 PM

I really don’t know Mr. Rooney but reading this blog I have to believe he is a man true to his word and a man of action. To go back for a minute I believe there was 7 people on the Police Search Commitee If things were in such disarray why didn’t more people resign. It hasn’t been said on this blog to my knowledge but I believe Mr. Unsworth who was the owner of Badgequest and Mr. Rooney’s father were both Police Chief’s in the City of Waltham Because Mr. Unsworth was not used exclusively was that the reason Mr. Rooney resigned from the commitee. Sounds to me like a concflict

As Mr. Hamilton said that we need a new selectman because the Police Chief’s selection was flawed I quote from Mr. Rooney’s resignation letter

:While I have never met Chief Moran given her dedication to the town and leadership I have always been of the opinion that fairness dictates she should be interviewed by the Selectmen for the position, It is not only fair, it is the right thing to do. How then was the system flawed Mr. Rooney agreed with the Selectmen Just a couple of my observations. Buzz

16 resident March 26, 2010 at 9:17 AM

mimi22

Knock that chip, I mean board off your shoulder dude. No ones comments were mean spirited or angry except yours. Brightside and Raymond were clear, succinct and orderly. Unlike yours with caps and ranting.

As far as Mr. Rooney goes, best of luck. the last thing we need at local, state and federal level is re-elected pols or career politicians

And what is the big deal with posting someones real name. With all the gossip in this town, it probably isn’t safe for anyone to know anyones identity. I dont want to know who mimi22 is. She has her opinions and they are hers. I am gald to read them but I don’t need to know who she is to lend credibility to her opine or ideas. That borders on racism and is like asking what someone nation of origin is or what their religion is.

Thanks for reading my opine.

17 Mimi22 March 26, 2010 at 1:21 PM

resident, I respectfully disagree as I did consider this very hostile:

“Mimi22,

I have seen you post all the time on this site and see that you even posted yesterday. Do you not bother to read the posts as well? The resignation letter was provided by the moderator of this site yesterday and it is at least clear to me, as well as everyone I have talked to who does not have their head buried in the sand up to their shoulders, why Mr. Rooney resigned. I also had that same question until I read that letter. Isn’t the real question begging to be asked is why the heck didn’t everyone resign?”

I feel that I responded appropriately, and yes a bit angrily. If you feel it was unjustified, we can agree to disagree. I have no chip, just a severe distaste for being told that my concerns are invalid.

I agree with you about the anonymity issue. Remaining anonymous is a personal choice based on one’s feelings about internet exposure. I feel that it is safest to remain anonymous in most internet venues, but also that anonymity should not be used as an excuse for communicating irresponsibly.

Can I add, once again, that I thought the point of this post and the reason I chose to comment was to enter into a dialogue with Mr. Rooney? Perhaps I misunderstood?

18 Old Timer March 26, 2010 at 12:42 PM

On May 10 we voters just need to answer a very simple question. Are we happy with the old guard status quo or does the town want to see what an apolitical new comer who has been successful in business can do? Rant and rave all we want but it comes down to that.

19 Mr. Brightside March 26, 2010 at 2:02 PM

“Amen” Old Timer!

Our choice is between Mr. Rooney and Mr. Giarlandino, period, over and out. We are lucky to have it.

Mimi22,

While your point that “a committee is formed with a certain number of members who are chosen based on their qualifications as well as their willingness to serve the community and for each to represent a cross-section of the community” may be good in theory, it certainly is not, I believe, in the case of the Police Chief Search Committee. My guess is that Mr. Rooney is simply too polite to come right out and use the word “sham” or “farce” in that regard.

My own opinion is that when one juxtaposes the composition of that Committee with the task at hand, one could easily question the sincerity with which it was appointed. Was the BOS really “searching” for a new Police Chief, given that NO ONE on the Committee had any in depth experience with police matters (Mr. Rooney being the closest), or was the BOS intending all along to just put on a show of advancing other candidiates before retaining the interim Chief? I think the identity of the Chairwoman and her many references to it as “My Committee” is not just a curiosity, but actually goes a long way to answering that question.

Again, just my opinion.

Thank you.

20 Old Timer March 26, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Lets put together a search committee to search for our next selectman. I am sure the bos could assemble a remarkable group of talented people with a leader of comparable ability of the prior chair. Any volunteers?

21 John Rooney March 30, 2010 at 6:25 PM

Good evening. I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me in connection with the announcement of my candidacy. The tremendous outpouring of support, of private emails, personal letters, visits and telephone calls offering encouragement and assistance with every aspect of this election, have been so overwhelming that I am truly humbled. Your friendship is sacred and like wine, seemingly continues to get better with age.

One thing I would like all residents to understand is my resignation from the Police Chief Search Committee was not because I was outvoted on any particular issue or because I was in the minority. Being in the minority had nothing at all to do with it. Rather, and as previously fully disclosed and discussed, on September 15, 2009 I was told that the most important resource to use for the selection process would not be available to the Committee.

Let me reiterate what obviously was not a model of clarity to some in my resignation letter. I volunteered for the Search Committee with a single objective, that being to recommend the best possible candidates for the Board’s consideration. As constituted by the Board of Selectmen, no one on the Committee had any law enforcement experience. No one on the Committee had ever interviewed a prospective chief.

The Board of Selectmen hired, on behalf of the town, Badgequest. Badgequest was hired after the Search Committee was formed, so obviously the Board of Selectmen thought it important to utilize an expert in the search for the next Chief. I assume thousands of town dollars were allocated by the Board for the payment of these expert services.

Badgequest’s business is to assist towns in hiring police chiefs. That is what they do. In performing these services, Badgequest works with Search Committees and reviews resumes, prepares interview questions, and participates in interviewing candidates. After researching and understanding the background, experience and assistance Badgequest could offer the Committee, I came to see this as a great opportunity for the Search Committee to partner with an expert in the hiring process.

The Search Committee disagreed. At a Board of Selectmen meeting called on September 15, 2009, the chair of the Search Committee’s sole reason objecting to Badgequest’s participation during the interviews was because it would invade the autonomy or independence of the Committee. While it may have indeed taken the perception of autonomy away from the Committee, I believed the Committee’s autonomy was absolutely secondary to advancing the best possible candidates for the Board’s consideration. And, working in conjunction with Badgequest, it was my belief that the best possible candidates would be advanced for final consideration.

As reflected in the September 15, 2009 meeting minutes, the Board relegated Badquest to an “observer” during the interviews and the expert was not allowed to be an active participant. Therefore, the Committee was charged with recommending the best candidates but the Committee was not allowed to use an already-hired expert for assistance in conducting the interviews. The autonomy of the committee took primacy over utilization of the expertise of Badgequest during the interview process. I volunteered for the sole reason of offering the best candidates for the Board’s consideration. I did not volunteer to wear or display a badge of autonomy.

I would urge those concerned with this issue to read my letter of resignation and the Board of Selectmen’s September 15, 2009 meeting minutes. If you thereafter believe that the Committee should not have involved Badgequest; if you believe that the Committee had the background and experience to conduct the police chief interviews on their own; if you believe that the Committee’s autonomy was more important than having help from an already-hired expert; if you believe that every other city or town that has hired this expert was wrong by involving him in the actual interview process; and, if you believe that the expert was correctly told to sit and observe during the interviews, then respectfully, we are in disagreement.

Going back and forth on this Search Committee issue is divisive to the town and serves no healthy purpose. Let us simply agree to disagree on the Search Committee process.

Finally, I have neither been hiding nor ignoring any one person or any issue. Let me quell such innuendo or suggestion obviously made by those who know nothing about me. I have been and am presently away with my wife celebrating our anniversary at the same location where we honeymooned twenty years ago.

Enjoy the Holiday Season.

John Rooney
March 30, 2010

22 Sue Grinblatas March 31, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Happy Anniversary! I like your priorities :)

23 Mr. Brightside March 30, 2010 at 11:38 PM

John, thanks for running. You are just what this Town needs at just the right time.

Mr. B

24 John Kendall March 31, 2010 at 8:45 AM

I agree with Mr. B. Thanks for stepping up to the plate.

25 Mimi22 April 1, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Thank you Mr. Rooney for returning and and answering one of my questions.

It still concerns me however that, after the committee voted to use Badgequest in a manner that you did not agree with, that you chose to resign from the committee instead of moving ahead and adding to the effort in any way you could. I guess I would ask, without Badgequest’s experience and assistance did you feel there was nothing more you could contribute or did you feel that you no longer wanted to be involved in the process because you could not see a way that it could be successful?

Having attended the final interviews, I saw first hand that four very qualified individuals made it to the final step in the process. We can all agree to have our differing opinions on the final outcome, so I won’t go there, but I saw four highly credentialed individuals sitting before the town ready to serve. So the remaining members of the committee must have done something right despite their choice to not use Badgequest as you would have liked. I suspect some of them may also not have agreed 100% with all the decisions that were made along the way.

I guess I want to add that there are few, if any, aspects of town government, in my opinion, that are perfect. In my experience it is often very far from perfect, sometimes it is downright nonsensical and frustrating. Most of the time it is more like each one of us trying to do the best we can and hoping or trusting in the end that we as a whole, as a community, are good enough. I am concerned that, when faced with a process that looked to be heading in a less than perfect direction, you chose to remove yourself from the process. What if all of those who serve on committees and boards did the same? What if they all turned in their resignation letters when they fell into the minority or hit a bump in the road? I am also concerned that this may have been your one and only foray into the world of town government. So I would respectfully ask, can you speak to those concerns? Also, can you please answer my other three questions?

What other boards or committees have you served on in town?
Have you been a regular attendee at town meeting?
Do you regularly attend BOS meetings?

Finally, I also thank you for throwing your hat into the ring. Choice for our town is a very good thing.

26 jus honorum April 1, 2010 at 3:12 PM

MiMi22:

I have followed this thread and the Metrowest Daily News “coverage” of the Selectboard and its police chief search committee with much interest. Like you, I have the luxury of offering political commentary and criticism from the sidelines and without the benefit of firsthand knowledge or experience. Likewise, I am reminded of the many occasions in my career and personal life where I pause and reflect whether my involvement in and contributions to dialogue benefit the topic at hand, or whether my misguided and reactionary ranting unintentionally diminishes my contributions. Rehashing the history of the Selectboard and its committee, while perhaps unpleasant, is warranted if we hope to restore our community’s faith in its leadership.

Mr. Rooney, in a demonstration of remarkable insight and respect for you and the character of our community, extended to you the courtesy of an insightful and non-threatening response oriented at answering your questions as he understood them. If you believe Mr. Rooney to have misunderstood or misinterpreted your question, I submit that you might best serve all who hope to positively contribute to this process by reorienting your question, rather than responding with a sharp stick. Admittedly, the borderless confines of cyberspace have destroyed the very “town meeting” fabric of our community. Perhaps you will join me, Mr. Rooney and hopefully many others at the next selectboard meeting where we might meet, shake hands and engage in informed debate.

You have obvious concerns with the Selectboard, its search committe, and Mr. Rooney’s paticipation therein. You are not alone. Mr. Rooney has clearly indicated that he wishes not to engage in political spearthrowing, which in no way serves our community, but rather has expressed his willingness to embrace our community’s concerns and work selfishly to return us to the track chosen by us, his constiuents. Perhaps I and the other viewers and contributors to this blog misunderstand you, but I interpret your approach as condemning Mr. Rooney for his willingness to raise, with diplomacy, a concern with the search process that warranted public discourse. Like many in our community, I too am embarrassed at both the process and the response, but I will not pass judgment on Mr. Rooney or others when I myself did not commit my involvement to the entire process. I commend Mr. Rooney for choosing to be part of the solution, however he best sees fit. We all have to start somewhere, and I am certain you were not born perfect. Since Mr. Rooney cannot and should not speak for the actions of others, I can only ask that we, as a community, ask substantive questions of all who participated in the process, including you, and explore the answers and information which will provide Mr. Rooney and others with solutions and opportunities.

Personally, Mr. Rooney’s lack of prior politicking is refreshing; criticizing Mr. Rooney for his apparent failure to attend Selectboard meetings until now is akin to condemning a childless parent from attending school board meetings last year, but chooses to become involved now that the school board wants a new school.

I can appreciate your frustration with a flawed, and even failed, process. I do not interpret Mr. Rooney’s resignation from the committee as a failure of his commitment to the process or our community. Quite the contrary. I interpret Mr. Rooney’s resignation as the single most effective impact he could have imparted into the process. The action of the Selectmen leads but to one unmistakeable conclusion: the committee’s work and recommendation was irrelevant to the process where the majority of the selectboard previously decided upon selecting interim chief Moran to serve as chief. I am not surprised that many people view the process as a “bag job”, and I am ashamed that our community allowed applicants to share in this view.

To add to your list of questions, I would also consider asking the following:

1. Who appointed Desiree as chair of the committee? What experience does she offer to the committee or the Selectboard concerning this particular search or its process? Did the Selectboard inherently limit the autonomy or strength of committee, or the pool of candidates, by choosing a particular committee chair? What actions, if any, did the committee or the Selectboard undertake in response to the chair’s “non-issue” and other comments published in the Metrowest Daily News?

2. Upon what qualifications and experience of Moran did the Selectboard rely in guaranteeing her a “finalist” position? Were such qualifications and experience consistent with the interview model proposed by Badgequest? Did the committee apply uniform standards and qualifications to each candidate?

3. Why has the Selectboard not aspired for transparency in the process by publicizing the minutes of the search committee meetings so that we can see how Mr. Rooney and the other committee members voted? Why has the Selectboard failed to publicize the expert’s final report? What was the expense to Southborough to hire the expert? How were the expert’s fees calculated? Did we pay for something we did not receive? How did the expert rank the candidates? How did the expert evaluate Chief Moran? Appearance of impropriety is worse than the impropriety itself.

4. Why did the Selectboard disagree with Mr. Rooney’s belief that the committee should utilize fully the expert?

Answers to the above questions will help to help us to select the best leaders for our community and perhaps more importantly, to accept responsibility for our collective obligation to restore the public trust.

27 Voter April 1, 2010 at 4:28 PM

In my opinion I find it hilariously ironic how ms mimi in her immediate effort to undermine a new entrant into politics and by her efforts so staunchly supporting the current selectmen or at least the candidate up for election, has single handedly buried and undermined the selectmen and our new chief. One never should kick a sleeping dog, and ms mimi has not ony kicked it, but booted it out of the stadium. Whomever it is you support, that person should show his heels and run as fast as possible.

A word of advice for Mr. Rooney – if you are a religious man, pray to the high gods ms mimi continues to rant and rave. She has done more to further your effort than any one supporter could ever do,

In answer to one of the earlier questions, the selectmen initially appointed Desiree as chair. Another excellent decision.

28 Whats left ? April 4, 2010 at 7:29 AM

So after all is said and done, whats the town left with ?
An unhealthy looking Chief of Police who was not the best candidate and a board of selectmen that alot of people no longer trust.
Mr.Rooney can’t undo whats been done, but he strikes me as having qualities that need to be injected into Southboro’s town government – rather quickly I might add.

29 KenG April 4, 2010 at 6:32 PM

What’s left? – you sound like a second grader calling Chief Moran “unhealthy looking.” The woman looked pretty darn healthy when she crossed the finish line of the 2-day ride for the fight against pancreatic cancer last summer. Here’s a link to the article and photo on this very site:

http://www.mysouthborough.com/2009/08/11/pan-mass-challenge-team-rides-in-honor-of-chief-webber/

So what’s your point?

30 I'll Fine tune my Point April 5, 2010 at 10:12 AM

KenG
I am well educated contrary to what you may think, and I based my comment, “unhealthy looking” after viewing the recent swearing in photographs posted on this blog. Not last years photograhs after finishing a 2 day bike ride. It was not meant to be insulting, rather to point out that the “appearance of impropriety” looks like its taken its toll on the Chief more than anyone else. I’d be physically sick if I was the underlying subject of the recent blogs both on this site and the Boston Globe.

31 KenG April 5, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Thank you for the clarification and yes, your comments did sound insulting especially when followed by your opinion that she was not the best candidate.

“I’d be physically sick if I was the underlying subject of the recent blogs both on this site and the Boston Globe.”

Yes, and even more so if the accusations directed toward you were completely unfounded.

32 Whats left ? April 5, 2010 at 6:41 PM

The easiest way to clear the air would be to release the Badgequest documents and the minutes of the Search Committee meetings. That would go a long way to clear the air all around. I won’t hold my breath.

33 KenG April 6, 2010 at 8:21 AM

The owness is not on her to “clear the air.”

The most effective way to get what you want would be to go through the proper channels. If you believe that the records you want are really not exempt from privilege, then request them from the town. If they refuse, you can appeal their refusal through the state AG’s office. If you are denied, then the documents are protected by confidentiality and you have your answer. Step up and take action. Truth has proof; useless innuendo has suspicion. Find some proof and then share it with the rest of us. Democracy requires participation.

I won’t hold mine either.

34 Whats left ? April 7, 2010 at 5:28 AM

KenG

The word is “onus” and with all the “suspicion” over the recent issues, the onus is on the Board of Selecment to clear they air. They polluted it ! Stick to little words please.

35 KenG April 7, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Ah yes, when internet debate deteriorates it always goes the way of spelling or grammar attacks. Yes, I typed quickly and did not check on “onus.” Fortunately, I neither have to write nor read the word very often. That negates neither my opinion, nor my right to state it.

As for you last statement of self-superiority – GROW UP!

36 Town Elder April 17, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Well I finally got to meet Mr. Rooney today as he stood in the rain at the transfer station. He told me he was there to meet as many people as he could but then he must have spent over twenty minutes just talking to me as other people walked past. If he was there to just get votes as a typical politico would do, he missed many opportunites as people passed. I was struck by how he listened with interest and how engaging he was. We talked about my concerns, shared life stories and he really made me feel proud again about my town. I offered to contribute to his effort and he politely refused, saying he would not be asking for any donations from anyone. How refreshing I found that to be.

When asked how else could I help, he simply asked me to vote on May 10. He did not ask me to vote for him, but simply to make sure to vote for someone as he wanted people to believe they could make a difference. I assured him I would vote on May 10 as I have always voted. Not only will I vote for him, but I will stand with him all day on May 10 in the rain if necessary as he stood with me today.

37 dave April 18, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Mr. Rooney

I am happy to see that you have children in the school system, as do I. Please tell me what you are planning to do, if elected to the board, about the tremendous heroin problem at ARHS. or will you quit the board just like you did with the chief of police search?

38 resident parent April 19, 2010 at 9:10 AM

there is a heroin problem at arhs?

39 southsider April 19, 2010 at 12:50 PM

i just read thru all these comments.
one thing that struck me: a commenter named Buzz raises an issue regarding Mr. Rooney’s relationship with the owner of the Badgequest company.
That such a serious concern was never addressed in Mr. Rooney’s comment that was written and posted several days after the Buzz comment was a bit of a surprise.
Was there a conflict of some type? I would have thought such a comment would be addressed immediately and quite specifically.

40 resident May 9, 2010 at 11:04 AM

The current system of selectmen is not working their laziness of letting residents become unprotected of wong doing, knowing and allowing abutters to damage, to residents property, allowing inspectors and department heads to just turn thier cheek and not be held accountable.
Vote to change the laziness so the town can be run more affective

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