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Select Board Rebuffs Haddad Push To Replace Town Counsel

by Connie Sartini
Town Manager Mark Haddad reminded the Select Board that last summer the Board voted to issue an RFP for Town Counsel services on November 1, 2029. At that time, he said, "I requested that the Board hold off on issuing the RFP for several months and reconsider the issue this Spring.
     “I am now requesting that the Board either issue a new RFP or allow me to reach out to several firms to determine their interest in representing the Town of Groton. Please note that MGL Chapter 30B specifically exempts lawyers from the procurement process.
     “The last two times we have issued RFP’s for Town Counsel, we received proposals from the same firms. The first time we stayed with KP Law and the second time with KP Law as Labor Counsel and Brooks DeRensis as General Counsel. That said, I am not comfortable nor happy with the services we are receiving from Brooks DeRensis and am recommending we change Town Counsel in FY2021.”
     Select Board Chairman Alison Manugian said she “was not in full agreement” with what Haddad was requesting. I am not sure of the process in this pandemic and I am not comfortable moving forward without an RFP. This is a difficult time to consider making a change.”
     Haddad replied that he “just finished an RFP and awarded a bid for the sprinkler at Prescott School. I don’t think the pandemic is an issue for an RFP with July responses.”
     Selectman Josh Degen asked Haddad, “Why do you want to consider changing Town Counsel?” Haddad then said “I am asking for an executive session if you want my reasons.”
     Select Board member Becky Pine said that this came as a “complete surprise” to her. “I am not sure why we would want to make a change. I’m not interested in making a change.”
     Colleague John Reilly agreed that the discussion should be in executive session, and Manugian pointed out that It may go into personal issues.”
     Select Board member john Giger said that the Board had a “lot on its plate right now” and suggested waiting until after Town Meeting to address it.
     Degen pointed out that issuing an “RFP doesn’t preclude our Town Counsel.” Manugian said that it will be on the Board’s agenda after Town Meeting.
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