Our town manager will stick around for another two years

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Well, if you were shopping for a new suit to wear to the Dennis Piendak retirement party, it looks like you can save your money; he will be with us for two more years.

Selectmen had been moving forward with the search process, but when it was discovered that Piendak had an interest in two more years at the planned higher salary, they wisely asked him to say.

Piendak just might be the most respected manager in the region and certainly on balance, has the best record of performance over the years.

As is generally the case with high-profile issues, the board split 3-2 along predictable lines, but in the end, all five selectmen signed the contract and agreed to continue to work with their manager.

  • Fall Town Meeting voted to fund the construction of a new Town Hall, this time without a debt exemption (tax increase).

Several years ago when the project was first proposed, it required a tax increase and voters said no by a wide margin.

And speaking of tax increases, Town Meeting said no to a local option meals tax that would have raised another $275,000 annually.

It is amazing to me that so many folks in government can be eager to raise taxes during such a terrible economy.

Local governments get an annual 2.5 percent increase in their tax levy along with new-growth revenue to meet their needs, and although in a town like Dracut that won’t get you far, the reality is that we have a low per-capita income and the business economy in town is hurting as well.

Justifying a tax increase by saying “all the other towns are doing it” will never fly in Dracut.

  • My old political nemesis Mike McLaughlin, the Chelsea housing director, aka Joe Montana, has been taking quite the beating in the media lately since it was disclosed that he was likely the highest-paid housing director in the world at $360,000, and would have been in line for a retirement package in the $275,000 range.

For perspective, $275,000 is about the same amount of money that that would have been raised annually by a Dracut local option meals tax.

Nothing really surprised me here except the actions of Scott Harshbarger.

Calling the governor to try to broker a deal on McLaughlin’s pension has changed his public perception forever.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that ” Montana” wanted to be Dracut’s first town manager 25 years ago??

Fortunately, we got the real Joe Montana instead.

  • And finally a reminder to all of the friends of Fred Simon, we at the 980 WCAP radiothon, along with our partners from Team Micky (Micky Ward’s charity) will be hosting a 75th birthday party-roast for Fred right here in Dracut at Lenzi’s on Dec. 2.

Tickets are available at Shaw Farm, the Dracut town clerk’s office, the Owl Dinner and the Salvation Army on Appleton Street in Lowell.

All of the proceeds will go to the Salvation Army.

  • Warren Shaw is a former Dracut selectman who hosts a popular Saturday morning radio show on WCAP-AM from 6 to 10.