Ketcham up for two administrator positions

Former Town Administrator William Ketcham may have had a rocky relationship with the town of Adams, but it seems other New England communities are clamoring for his services. Full Story
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My Town

Troy, NY

#1 Jan 6, 2009
The town screwed up huge. I said it back when this was unfolding and I'll back Joe Dean on this now. From what I know now, this cost the town in excess of $50k to "buy him out" plus the $20k for a search. This came down to a couple of board members....one in particular as the driver....who simply wanted him gone to make up for a perception mistake from a year earlier. Instead of "managing" Mr. Ketchum, they threw money at him and told him to go away. To Joe's point, let's also add in the costs associate with attorneys and other counsel pertaining to contract negotiations. Plus, of course, the travesty of sound government practice associated with the suppression of information related to the FIRING - let's call it what it is. The board, in its arrogance, still has not owned up to its errors nor have they come forward with the information the CITIZENS have demanded. I know several people who will be working very hard against the current incumbents in this springs election and will be focusing in tightly not only on the costs associated with the firing but also on the suppression of information. Both incumbents had a hand in this and both will have their hands slapped severly.
adams mom

New York, NY

#2 Jan 6, 2009
I'm not so sure ketcham did a good job in Adams and would be scared for another town to hire him.
My Town 2

Albany, NY

#3 Jan 6, 2009
If mr ketcham did his job effectively he would still be with the town. And as to Mr. Dean's comments, seems to be he doesn't understand anything either. Yup, Mr Ketham was a nice guy, but as stated once before by Mr. Dean, "sometimes nice guys finish last."
Easy to See

Adams, MA

#4 Jan 6, 2009
I agree with Mr.Dean. Mr. Ketchum never neglected any of his duties and could certainly have finished his contract out. It was not a smart move.
Profile In Courage

Glens Falls, NY

#5 Jan 6, 2009
Well, if Mr. Dean was so adamant about Mr. Ketcham, why did he abstain and not vote NO?
Yogi

Glens Falls, NY

#6 Jan 6, 2009
As Yogi says, "You can observe a lot by watching."
So, why did we lose two arbitrations under Mr. Ketcham's watch? Because he did such a great job?
Didn't this loss cost the town lots and lots of money? Who's talking about that? Hmmm?
slingshot

Honolulu, HI

#7 Jan 6, 2009
Nice job Mac!
It must be nice and smug to get your own way!
Voter's need to consider this debacle in May.
Yogi

Glens Falls, NY

#8 Jan 6, 2009
What are you talking about Slingshot? I'm not make - just another person observing and watching...
slingshot

Honolulu, HI

#9 Jan 6, 2009
Sorry Yogi, my intention was to address the issue of mismanagment by the board....I was not directing my comment to you....just a general comment to the Administration (or lack there of)
Nothing personal...
Truth Be Known

Holyoke, MA

#10 Jan 6, 2009
If it isn’t the return of Joe the Transcript HERO Dean. May all the readers swoon at his proficiency. Since the Hero is so willing to talk about the Ketchum deal, maybe he could answer some questions. According to the Transcript, Hero “was vocally against it from the very beginning”. Is that true Hero? Can you tell us, was this just your “vocal” position? What is your voting record on this? How many times did you vote on this including open meetings workshops and executive session. Or are you going to hide behind the fact that it is not legal to comment on personnel issues . So what is Hero’s voting record? Did he ever take a vote to keep Ketchum? Did he ever vote to ask for his resignation or to fire him? Or did he just take the cowards way out and abstain from just one vote. What is the real story here? Come on, be the Transcripts Hero and tell us the whole story. If Hero was so against Mr ketchum leaving where is the vote or is it just a lot of “look at me” lip service.
Long time observer

Glens Falls, NY

#11 Jan 6, 2009
The failure of the administrator is simply a reflection of the failure of the Board. As critical as I was of them, it makes me long to have Driscoll, Nichols and Wilk back!
My Town

Troy, NY

#12 Jan 7, 2009
This board line up has been the most ineffective and inept in recent memory; perhaps the past 50 years. I have never seen such gross mismanagement and errors in judgment related to public trust.
Moonbeam

Springfield, MA

#13 Jan 7, 2009
My Town wrote:
The town screwed up huge. I said it back when this was unfolding and I'll back Joe Dean on this now. From what I know now, this cost the town in excess of $50k to "buy him out" plus the $20k for a search. This came down to a couple of board members....one in particular as the driver....who simply wanted him gone to make up for a perception mistake from a year earlier. Instead of "managing" Mr. Ketchum, they threw money at him and told him to go away. To Joe's point, let's also add in the costs associate with attorneys and other counsel pertaining to contract negotiations. Plus, of course, the travesty of sound government practice associated with the suppression of information related to the FIRING - let's call it what it is. The board, in its arrogance, still has not owned up to its errors nor have they come forward with the information the CITIZENS have demanded. I know several people who will be working very hard against the current incumbents in this springs election and will be focusing in tightly not only on the costs associated with the firing but also on the suppression of information. Both incumbents had a hand in this and both will have their hands slapped severly.
So, this ia about "a perception mistake from a year earlier". Please explain. And how come the bored and the chairman of the "bored" got nutin ta say? Cuz it's all a big secret>
My Town

Troy, NY

#14 Jan 7, 2009
The way I understand it,there was a push a year earlier, before Mr. Ketchum's contract was renewed (his contract was due to expire), to do a complete performance review and, if he failed, to ask him to leave. The board gave him scathing reviews and asked him to step down after his then contract expired (I think it was that late summer or early fall 2007). A search committee was set up to find a new administrator in spring of 2007. While this search was being conducted, a newly elected board member engaged in discussions with Mr. Ketchum regarding renewal and, with the approval of most, if not all of the board, offered Mr. Ketchum a new contract with a raise blowing by the search committee the board appointed. I have a friend who was on the search committee and she had NO IDEA this was going on behind the scenes while they met to conduct their search. Ed Driscoll was head of that search committee. I was told that SAME newly elected board member (now on the board for a year) recognized that he screwed up big time and pushed to have Mr. Ketchum removed. Getting buy in from most of the rest of the board (one with designs on the position himself), they engaged in this goof-ball b.s. this year costing the town big money. This years debacle was ENTIRELY avoidable and due entirely to bad political and administrative decisions. I may have some of my dates wrong but the information is from town hall insiders and current/former board members and very accurate.
Adams 2

Albany, NY

#15 Jan 7, 2009
Because no one can talk about ketcham's resignation because it was in executive session. Nothing devious or underhanded occured here - just some people choose to make a story where this is none. Biggest example is the Transcript - always making a mountain out of a mole hill. Always trying to find fault with procedure and the rules of executive session. Always trying to create a story where none exists.
No money was allocated for the "search" for an administrator. The money that has been used by council is for arbitration for the union that began before ketcham left. No story here. Just facts.
Check with the Finance Committee to see if any money has been allocated for the "search"
CHeck with the selectmen to see if arbitration began before ketcham left. More facts, less fiction.
Reality

Albany, NY

#16 Jan 7, 2009
Long time observer wrote:
The failure of the administrator is simply a reflection of the failure of the Board. As critical as I was of them, it makes me long to have Driscoll, Nichols and Wilk back!
Oh - but you would prefer two of those three former selectmen who gave our former TA a golden parachute. Talk about costing the town money...
My Town

Troy, NY

#17 Jan 7, 2009
We're all well aware that money was not allocated for the current search. The former search, which was negated by the "rehiring" of Ketchum, had a budget of $20k. I have checked with a current member of the finance committe, who remember this well. What cost the town BIG money was Mr. Ketchum's release. Yes, the details were discussed in executive session to hide the boards bungling, but loose lips disclosed the rounds amounts over time. It's amazing the information that is available if you ask the right person at the right time. There is NO WAY the board can dance around their botching for the administrators firing, rehiring and firing in the course of a year.
Moonbeam

Cohoes, NY

#18 Jan 8, 2009
Thank you My Town, excellent explaination and analysis. If money has not been allocated for the current search does that mean there is no real search? I thought at the time of Mr. K's firing, that the plan was to install a local good ole boy, someone they could work with(wink,wink)and use the excuse there is no money for a search, and plenty of local talent.
Time for change

West Chesterfield, MA

#19 Jan 8, 2009
In reading this myself, please understand that there was no real "plan". All a couple of our illustrious board members knew is that they wanted Mr. Ketchum gone after taking grief over the previous years rehiring. There was no money budgeted so the board assumed they would go to the finance committee and draw from the committees reserve fund. I don't know if they've done that or not but, as far as I was told by a current committee member, there was and is no true search going on right now. If there is, it is passive and without the assistance of the committee. The board did install good ol' boy George Haddad a couple of months ago but that's like putting a bandaid on a gun shot wound. George was a reasonable selectman who had a tendency to focus in on things that benefited his business but he doesn't come close to having the qualifications or background necessary to be a town administrator. The town is truly "leaderless" right now. It is being run by a committee of wannabe's and use-to-be's who really never will or could. As scary as economic times are now folks, to me, what is going on right now in Adams is even scarier. The town fathers can point to a number of development items and miniscule successes but what they're doing is trimming an acre of lawn with some garden shears. A few of the politicians in place have enormous egos and are extremely loathe to ask for volunteer professional help because that would go to show the townspeople that they really don't have what it takes. Instead, they meander along and hope nothing big comes along. The "firing" of Bill Ketchum, at this point in time, was a mistake. A few of them were told this AS IT WAS HAPPENING. But, of course, because they were endowed with the gift of an election, they know better and voila, here we are. No real development projects to speak of that are town driven, a retreating tax based, lower tax collections, a confidence level that is in the dirt, town employees looking to protect themselves for the first time in 200 years with a union, etc. This is not leadership, this is a bunch of guys reacting to the flow of water as it hits them instead of trying to direct the flow. Each and every time, the flow knocks them over and they point fingers at the state, the feds or each other. Maybe, just maybe, it's time for our board to really lead. Time to stand up and say, WE NEED HELP an let the people come forward with the time and the talent to help instead of pounding their chests and pointing toward Boston. Boston did not put Adams in the growing financial mess they're in, Adams did. It's time we grow into that premise and starting doing something about it.
Fact

Newburyport, MA

#20 Jan 8, 2009
Boston certainly is responsible for a majority of the problems that have befallen all the cities and towns of Mass. The federal government is just as responsible. Adams does not generate its own revenue - other than excise. So, for Time For Change to make that statement is a bit ridiculous. Where does the money come from to support the Town of Adams? Real Estate taxes and excise taxes and funding from the state.

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