Thanks to the dozens of you who communicated your opposition to the Board of Selectmen regarding Paul Cohen’s proposed appointment of Phil Eliopoulos to the Master Plan Implementation Steering Committee. The BOS last night instructed Cohen to postpone any appointment until December 6. Selectman Jon Kurland pointed out that, “Several people approached me about their willingness to serve, but saw the deadline had passed.”
You see, it turns out that Mr. Cohen had posted a deadline for applications of November 3, barely a week after the Master Plan implementation was approved by the Planning Board at their October 27 meeting. Three weeks later, Mr. Cohen stated there had been plenty of time for applications, but no one but Phil Eliopoulos had applied and the deadline had passed. Interestingly, the town manager’s secretary, Tricia Dzuris, is publicly quoted as saying “Phil Eliopoulos submitted his application on November 12 after no one else came forward.” Ignoring his own, self-imposed deadline, Mr. Cohen (as well as other town boards) continues to give favorable treatment to his “former” boss. It’s typically deceptive behavior by our disingenuous town manager.
As usual, Mr. Cohen remains defiant in the face of reasoned opposition. "I'm perfectly willing to bring the appointment back to you in two weeks, but if it's the same appointment I don't want pushback that this was all just a facade," said Cohen. "I will review all applications that come forth during the next two weeks and bring the best qualified one to you." Amazingly (or not so amazingly), not a single Selectman took the town manager to task for insinuating he (Cohen) would not tolerate “pushback” (i.e., criticism) for bringing Mr. Eliopoulos back as a candidate; talk about the tail wagging the dog!
Cohen said it was “important to keep continuity” between the Master Plan Committee and the Implementation Committee. Of course, the committee can call anyone it wants to clarify any part of Master Plan, including Phil Eliopoulos; but don’t give a self-interested, predatory developer a vote, for goodness’ sake!
Clearly, the fact that Mr. Eliopoulos has massive conflicts of interest, has abused his insider knowledge and influence, and has lied repeatedly to the good people of Chelmsford fails to ring an ethical bell with our town manager. Apparently, those are the very same behavioral characteristics Mr. Eliopoulos saw in Mr. Cohen when he hired him to be Town Manager in the first place. Until our present town manager is replaced, we will continue to have people of questionable motive proposed as caretakers of our town’s future. We will continue to be as vigilant as we can and keep you apprised of what you can do to stave off predatory and corrupt decision making. Thanks to all of you, once again, for your successful efforts to ward off the destructive actions of our town manager.
Yours with best wishes and hope for the future of our town,
Roland Van Liew