Was a secret deal reached? Who knows? Dracut residents certainly have no idea as to what is really going on with the Dracut Housing Authority’s search for a new executive director.
But one thing they can be sure of — the process has been, and continues to be, a political mess.
The commission has been clearly divided with charges and countercharges in recent weeks. Three members — James Gookin, Thomas Salem and Robert Audet — claimed the chairman unilaterally selected the screening committee and usurped their authority. Recently, the three commissioners called a meeting, voting to remove Kenneth Martin as chairman and replace him with Audet. Fifth member Gerard Suprenant said the meeting violated the authority’s own bylaws and refused to attend.
Meanwhile, four finalists for the executive director post were selected by the screening committee that Gookin, Salem and Audet were protesting.
With all this turmoil, it was expected that the commission meeting held Aug. 20 would be a raucous affair. About 40 people showed up to watch the expected fireworks but ended up seeing something entirely different.
The meeting ran much like any other, with Martin at the helm and regular business conducted.
However, after the four finalists recommended by the screening committee were unanimously accepted, Gookin submitted a fifth finalist — Mary Karabatsos, who has been with the Lowell Housing Authority for 21 years.
So, was there an agreement that the fighting would end if Karabatsos was accepted as a finalist? If she is hired, won’t her selection be tainted? We think so.
The political game-playing by commissioners is embarrassing and a disservice to the community.