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Ruminations

Did Selectman Bill Buckley go "off the deep end" and throw a temper tantrum at his board's January 4 meeting?

For the many in Milford who follow town politics closely, Buckley's repeated call at that meeting for a meeting to review Town Administrator Rick Villani's performance became the talk of the town. As did Buckley's opposition to two positions being discussed and his critique of when selectmen were notified of a vicious attack on a Milford police officer.

I'm not going to be an apologist for Buckley, but after attending Milford Board of Selectmen meetings for the past eight years, I can say that I understand where he was coming from.

First, he grew up in a military family. Being in the military means hierarchies of how and to whom and when information is conveyed. Second – unlike Will Kingkade's state agency background and Brian Murray's law office background – Buckley's job experience is corporate, focusing on quality and process control. That experience comes with its own set of how and to whom and when information in conveyed.

So, when Buckley heard about the town engineer giving information to the Finance Committee on December 8 about Louisa Lake dam repair costs and then he wasn't officially notified until early January, it goes against his expectations. He's not necessarily asking to be treated differently by being told first; rather, it's his expectation as being one of three chief executive officers of the town.

Ditto for wanting to be notified about a police officer being injured seriously enough that his alleged attacker was charged with attempted murder. To Buckley, the fact that information was posted on social media before his board got notified isn't the whole reason he was ticked off. (We're talking a span of time of about three days from the alleged attack to the public notification.) Rather, it's that no process was in place to let his board know as early as possible of the serious event that transpired.

Buckley's a "process" guy. He talks about lessons learned and how to correct things so that they don't happen a second time. He talks about "socializing" ideas by talking to various boards about them.

When the Milford Youth Center's previous director overspent his budget and an outside auditor was brought in, it was Buckley who met with the Milford Youth Commission and painstakingly – over several night-time meetings – went through each and every comment by the auditor and helped the commission develop a corrective response. And, after the town's third Information Technology (IT) director in four years left, it was Buckley who kept asking for a report on what went wrong and how to do things differently in the future.

His "frustration" (as he called it on January 4) probably comes from the fact that his expectations don't match the realities of governing a town. When he asks for something at a selectmen's meting – such as interviewing three finalists for a position – he's not going to get it without a vote from his board or until (coming up in April) he rotates back into the chairman's seat.




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