Let’s take a look at the quote by Mayor John Moak concerning the he names of the 5 finalists for Newburyport’s Planning Director that are in the Newburyport Daily News, July 24, 2006.
“I’m not looking for an architect or engineer, I’m looking for a manager. Each has exemplified more of a full service type of planning directorship. That’s what I’m looking for.”
Mayor Moak always said he was looking for a “team player” and a “manager,” so that’s consistent. However that he’s not looking for an “architect” or an “engineer” is quite telling. I gather this must mean he doesn’t want a “big picture” person. He wants someone who will do what he tells them to do.
It’s interesting that only two of the candidates are from Massachusetts. Not only is it going to take 6-9 months to begin to get a handle on all the “players” around here, but I would think (and I’m in unchartered territory here) that the planning and development stuff for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would be pretty complicated.
Would hate to see the existing personnel in the Newburyport Planning Office bring someone up to speed on all of that stuff. Would add quite a bit to the “job description” for Julie LaBranche and Geordie Vining. If that happened we would definitely have to give them a raise.
Let’s just take Chapter 91 for example and the waterfront. We would definitely want someone who understands that “tide-land rights are one of DEP’s most treasured tools for protection of Massachusetts shorelines and the DEP is not going to roll over and play dead.” (To quote and paraphrase from Jim Roy’s terrific piece in the Newburyport Current, July 21, 2006, “Chaos in Command.”)
And I would imagine that Mayor Moak would not want a big picture person like our former Planning Director Nick Cracknell. Been there, done that. No putting the breaks on folks who might have a loose interpretation of the Newburyport Master Plan. Or have the fortitude to “enforce,” if you will, a fairly literal interpretation of the Newburyport Master Plan.
What I’ve heard folks say is it’s not just Mayor John Moak who wants a more passive Planning Director for Newburyport, Massachusetts, but it’s also Byron Matthews, among others.
I’ve been told that Mayor John Moak does listen to some folks. Three in particular. Yes, Byron Matthews, Dick Sullivan and Josiah Welch (Josiah Welch-that one was a surprise to me.)
And I’ve also been told that Byron Matthews is playing a “Dick Cheney” to Mr. Moak’s “George Bush.”
Whoever the new Planning Director is for Newburyport, Massachusetts ends up being, I’m sure that my version of what is going on is a whole lot different than Mr. Matthew’s version of what is going on (not that I don’t respect Mr. Matthews for all his contributions), and I hope whoever it ends up being, has the fortitude to sit down with me and all those other people out there in Newburyport like me and have a little chat.