If you want to see a horse race, tune in to watch the next meeting of the Barnstable Town Council on December 15.
A leadership battle is shaping up and the final vote will determine the direction of the council for next 12 months.
Three people were nominated last night for the position of president of the council: Frederick Chirigotis of Centerville, who if elected would be serving an unprecedented fourth term; Thomas Rugo of Centerville, who has been an ally to Mr. Chirigotis on most recent issues, including a pro-John Klimm stance; and John T. Norman of Marstons Mills, one of two remaining on the council who voted to oust Mr. Klimm last June.
For vice president, three are also nominated: current vice president Janice L. Barton of Marstons Mills, who has solidly supported Mr. Klimm; James M. Tinsley Jr. of Hyannis, who is pro-Klimm, and Ann B. Canedy of Cummaquid, of the anti-Klimm contingent.
The opening salvo in the leadership battle was unexpectedly levied by Ms. Barton last month when she wrote in a opinion piece in the Enterprise that she would be supporting Mr. Chirigotis for president and she would like to continue to serve as vice president.
That piece drew a heated response from Ms. Canedy, who wrote a letter to the editor pointing out that if the past year’s dysfunction could be traced back to last December’s leadership battle and accusations of back room deal-making, the same thing appeared to be happening this year.
The matter of when to take up the matter of Mr. Klimm’s status came early in last night’s meeting.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Peter Leveroni of Barnstable Village, who ran unsuccessfully against Ann Canedy in the last election, urged the council to listen to the voters and bring the former town manager back.
That was seconded by Alan Burt of Centerville, who also urged the council to address the matter of Mr. Klimm.
Near the end of the meeting, the council took four votes having to do with appointing an acting town manager, which the charter requires them to do beginning December 15, when Mr. Klimm’s term officially ends.
He was placed on leave from September 30 to December 15.Thomas K. Lynch was appointed acting town manager for a term of three months beginning December 15.
The first vote was to divide the question of who to appoint as acting town manager and the term from the question of that person’s compensation.
Voting against the bifurcation was Ms. Canedy and Mr. Norman, who suggested the entire matter be put off until the December 15 meeting to allow citizens to comment.
The second vote was to determine the term of three months for the acting town manager. The vote was unanimous in favor.
The third vote was to appoint Mr. Lynch to the position, which was moved by Mr. Norman. The vote was unanimous in favor.
The fourth vote was to take up the matter of his compensation after a subcommittee studies the matter and brings forward a recommendation at the next meeting.
Ms. Canedy said that since Mr. Chirigotis had obviously already chosen a subcommittee, she wanted to know the members.
Mr. Chirigotis said he had actually not chosen the committee members yet.
Ms. Canedy said that regarding the matter of compensation, she did not believe that Mr. Lynch should be compensated retroactive to September 30 when he first began serving as interim town manager, because, she said, technically Mr. Klimm was still an employee of the town.
Mr. Chirigotis said that issue would be taken up by the subcommittee.
Mr. Lynch has asked for a retroactive raise, since the town council never discussed his compensation when he was appointed as interim town manager.
Nominations for the leadership positions came quickly after Assistant Town Clerk Ann Quirk announced that the floor was open.
Discussion and speeches regarding the nominations will be allowed at the December 15 meeting but were not allowed last night.
For the position of president, Janet Joakim of Centerville nominated Mr. Chirigotis and Ms. Barton seconded it.
Mr. Norman nominated Mr. Rugo and Ms. Canedy seconded it.
Ms. Canedy nominated Mr. Norman and Michael Hersey of Hyannis seconded it.
For the position of vice president, Debra S. Dagwan of Hyannis nominated Ms. Barton and Ms. Joakim seconded it.
Mr. Rugo nominated Mr. Tinsley and Mr. Hersey seconded it.Mr. Norman nominated Ms. Canedy and Ms. Canedy seconded her own nomination.