Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

July 10, 2014

Letter: Fiscal mismanagement demands zero tolerance

Editor, Townsman:

Facts disclosed at several recent Andover Board of Selectmen’s meetings and recent actions by Andover’s town manager make clear that Andover has a major problem in Town Hall’s corner office. That our town manager is now spending his time promoting a “be nice policy,” which, as his own comments indicate, is really his attempt to blame Andover residents for uncivil behavior toward Town of Andover employees, is one more example of town management problems that originate not at the desks of town employees, but in the corner office of Town Hall.

As is well known, organizations take on the attitudes and personalities of their leaders. So if town employees are uncivil and residents are irritated by discourteous behavior of town employees, maybe Mr. Stapczynski should look into a mirror to understand why. He didn’t need a stage to announce a “policy” that merely expects of town employees what every well-run company in the private sector expects of its employees, every day: to treat customers with courtesy and respect and never tolerate uncivil behavior by its employees. Stapczynski could have, without the need for fanfare, communicated his expectation that town employees deliver courteous customer service ... 23 years ago when he was first hired as Andover town manager. Interesting how a routine good-management practice got turned into a “show-and-tell” public event just as other aspects of our town manager’s performance are getting scrutiny by town residents.

As was reported in both The Townsman and The Eagle-Tribune, Stapczynski disclosed, to the surprise and displeasure of selectmen, and only as the result of questioning by town residents at a selectmen’s meeting held after Town Meeting, that he did not keep the selectmen informed of the deliberations to decide which health plan to use for the town; that he allowed the unions to run out the clock in making this expensive decision; and, most disturbingly, that he signed the agreement committing the town to a particular health insurance provider before advising the selectmen of his plan to do so and before giving town residents the opportunity to vote at Town Meeting on the amount to be authorized, as is our right, on this multi-million-dollar item.

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