Amid controversy, Greenfield mayor fires GCET interim general manager


Recorder Staff
Published: 9/19/2017 11:08:06 PM

GREENFIELD — The interim general manager of Greenfield’s new quasi-municipal internet provider has been fired in the midst of a Town Council investigation into the management of the organization.

Daniel Kelley, who has been the acting general manager of Greenfield Community Energy and Technology since July 2016, confirmed that he had been dismissed by Mayor William Martin Tuesday. The decision precedes a Town Council meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, during which subpoenaed witnesses are expected to testify about alleged conflicts between the town and GCET.

“There’s an issue going on with GCET and the town, and I’m under contract as the interim general manager — an employee at-will — so they decided to go in another direction,” Kelley said.

Martin could not be reached for comment early Tuesday afternoon.

The council is scheduled to hear from the three people — Martin, Town Accountant Elizabeth Braccia and Treasurer-Collector Kelly Varner — during its meeting Wednesday. Last month, councilors unanimously voted to subpoena a slew of documents, including all written communication between GCET and current and former town employees; a number of financial records, including bills; memorandums of understanding between GCET and the town.

The decision was made after a number of concerns about GCET came to light, including conflicts with town officials, alleged money mismanagement; fear by town employees of retaliation by the mayor; salary disputes involving Kelley; and the organization’s financial stability.

The council is also scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to formally request that the Office of the State Auditor initiate an investigation into the financial administration of GCET.

Kelley said he was given notice of his dismissal by the mayor early Tuesday afternoon, but said Martin did not indicate why the decision was made, other than the town decided to “go in another direction.”

“It’s been about half an hour (since talking to the mayor) and I’m not clear on what the rationale was behind this, so I can’t judge what was in his mind,” Kelley said after being asked whether he thought the decision was fair.

Before being hired as interim general manager, Kelley worked as a consultant for the town on the creation of GCET.

Established last summer, the internet provider is in the midst of a townwide fiber optic build-out that will leave Greenfield bathed in a Wi-Fi network. Last year, Town Council approved a $5 million bond that was appropriated to GCET for the creation of the municipal broadband network, under the belief it would become a financially self-staining entity governed by a board of directors chosen by the mayor.

“Mayor Martin and I worked on this for six years and it’s coming together, and truly everyone that works at GCET does work for the citizens,” Kelley said. “We believe that — that’s our culture — so I’m just saddened for GCET now not having direction, and that bothers me personally.”

Kelley said he still plans to attend today’s council meeting.


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