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Questions raised over GCET commissioner hire

  • LUNT

  • Karen ‘Rudy’ Renaud

  • FARRELL

  • Greenfield town councilman, Isaac Mass. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt Matt Burkhartt



Recorder Staff
Thursday, March 08, 2018

GREENFIELD — Although there are no reports of illegal activity, questions have arisen about the process used in hiring John Lunt as Greenfield Community Energy and Technology general manager, according to City Council President Karen “Rudy” Renaud.

The Greenfield City Council is expected to question GCET commissioners on the process they used to choose Lunt as general manager during city council’s next meeting on March 21, Renaud said. According to Renaud and others, however, the appointment of Lunt does not appear to be illegal.

Renaud said that questions began to come from councilors and residents after it was announced that Lunt was named general manager for GCET by its board of commissioners in February.

According to Renaud, Lunt was appointed to the position without a process that included cultivation of applications, an advertisement process of the position or an extensive search.

“Not posting the job and not letting the general public apply means that we did nothing to encourage women and minorities to apply for the job,” Renaud said. “I think that concerns me.”

According to At-Large Councilor Isaac Mass, he is unsure what process was used to choose Lunt, though it appears it was not an open one. He said that he was not aware of any advertisement for the position, no interviews appeared to have occurred, as well as no encouragement of minority and female candidates.

Mass said that he is not aware of any law that requires a search for candidates but it would be a best practice for the GCET Board of Commissioners to advertise for the position, as well as review resumes and do interviews.

Renaud claimed that the situation is similar to how the last hiring process went for the position, when the city hired Daniel Kelley to head the quasi-municipal entity.

According to Mayor William Martin, though, Kelley’s hiring was done before the GCET Board of Commissioners was created, thus he was appointing authority for the general manager position.

From there, City Council had to approve the contract, which was debated for a period of time before they OK’d it, Martin said.

Kelley was fired in September of last year by Martin, during an investigation by the City Council into alleged financial mismanagement, as well as criticism that Kelley had reportedly bullied others in city government. Martin appointed Lunt as liaison for GCET in October 2017.

That position eventually morphed into Lunt becoming acting general manager.

Between the time of Kelley’s hiring and Lunt’s appointment, the GCET Board of Commissioners was created in July 2017, resulting in appointment and contract negotiation power being transferred from the mayor and City Council to the board, Martin said.

The board’s creation, according to Martin, was OK’d by local and state legislators.

According to GCET board Chairman Tim Farrell, with this authority the board decided to appoint Lunt as general manager “for stability purposes and to keep moving forward,” and due to his familiarity with the role through his time as acting general manager.

Farrell said that he checked if he and the board had to go through any additional process to appoint Lunt as general manager, and it was determined that they had the authority to appoint him.

“We felt the best decision was to move forward with John (Lunt),” he said, adding that he is “the best person for the job.”

According to Farrell, Lunt’s contract is for an annual salary of $57,750, which began on March 1 and will extend until June 30, 2020. The annual salary does not begin until July 1 though, and instead a prorated amount will be paid for March 1 to June 30, Farrell noted.

Farrell said that there is also an ability to renegotiate the salary for the second year of the contract, running from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.

Farrell said that the city is an equal opportunity employer and that hiring policies and procedures are important, but the key focus for the board was to strengthen and move forward GCET.

“I know in the future we will be in a better position, we will go through a different process for hiring, but this is an extreme circumstance,” he said.

For Renaud and Mass, though, the situation should at least be questioned — and is expected to be during the next council meeting.

“I don’t think anyone did anything illegal or unlawful. It’s really the optics of this, We already had one fallout of GCET,” Renaud said.

You can reach
Dan Desrochers at:

ddesrochers@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 257