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Should Attleboro Appeal ARA Court Decision?

Should the city/Attleboro Redevelopment Authority continue to put up a fight, or is it time to call it quits and accept the decision?

Word came out late Friday afternoon that a Bristol County Superior Court judge had sided with the state Civil Service Commission's 2011 decision and ruled the Attleboro Redevelopment Authority had wrongfully fired two staff members nearly three years ago. The judge ordered the employees be rehired and receive back pay, including benefits and interest (a total their attorney says is at least $600,000).

If you take the weekend off from local news and need to catch up, go to read the article about the ruling and all the relevant documents.

City Solicitor Robert Mangiaratti says the judge's decision includes "several legal issues" that would be the basis for an appeal. The employees' attorney says any objective person is going to reach the same conclusion as the judge did.

What do you think? Is this something worth appealing? Vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments section.

Laura Dolan July 23, 2012 at 07:39 PM
@Ari, you're absolutely right we can't win this. We broke the law and now we're fighting a losing battle at our expense. (because big egos never give in) MM and Meg could have been he worst, but it doesn't matter. We will never win this and be able to stick them with the cost, ever. Insutrial park, lawsuit, after lawsuit, how much more can we possibly pay for?
Gretchen Robinson July 23, 2012 at 07:47 PM
oh, the hopelessness; oh, the defeatism
Reason July 23, 2012 at 08:01 PM
All thanks to Kevin Dumas and his poor strategy in getting the ARA under control. He is responsible for this defeat. Competence really has nothing to do with the case. They were removed due to falsely constructed lack of funds. Dumas should have consulted with Mangiaratti about coming up with a legal method of removing Milanoski.
Gretchen Robinson July 23, 2012 at 08:03 PM
How do you know Dumas didn't consult Mangiaratti??
Laura Dolan July 23, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Whether it was Dumas or Mangiaratti doesn't matter.So us having a positive attitude is going to make this all better? I guess you do feel a little "hopelessness" we as a city we keep doing the wrong thing and being sued for it. So we can be cheerleaders all we want, doesn't change the facts.
Gretchen Robinson July 23, 2012 at 08:41 PM
"cheerleader" --gee, no one ever accused me of that before. Look, no one in City hall is going to read this (I doubt). So let's talk about what needs to be done? This is extortion, playing the game, political revenge and the City gets stuck with the bill. Why not take it to a higher court. That's 'just' my opinion.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) July 23, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Gretchen, I assure you plenty of, if not all, the people at City Hall are reading this. Some people who work there are among our most loyal readers.
Laura Dolan July 23, 2012 at 08:47 PM
This is not the first go around with this case. I wish I had figures to quote of what this has cost the city (maybe I can get those somehow). I just simply disagree with you. Regardless, I do not believe it to be extortion, revenge? maybe. But again, the facts are the facts, it was proven they were unjustly fired. I do not know either of them. It's all about the power and the ego, maybe even on both sides. Doesn't change what has happened. All that had to happen was, if Dumas wanted them gone, he should have gone about it the legal way and we wouldn't even be discussing this.
Gretchen Robinson July 23, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Sorry Jonathan. Laura, you make good points. Thank you. It seemed to me at the time that Dumas was playing power politics and I didn't like it so you may be right.
Jerry Chase July 23, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Yeah, maybe Dumas did consult with R. Mangiaratti. Maybe he also consulted with B. LaCasse. But the decision was made by K. Dumas. Evidence strongly suggests that the methods he used were quite injudicious and inadvisable. Let's think about why the other judge, in 2010, in the Anderson & Cullaz case, refused to remove the City from the short list of defendants which included the ARA. This was the second suit by these two women. In the first suit, in 2005, the City was NOT included in the short list of defendants: only the ARA. There is a very strong reason as to "why". And the bottom-line for this reason was the very poor judgment by the current mayor in piercing the designed "wall" between cities and redevelopment authorities, by which the law protects both the cities and the redevelopment authorities. Once Dumas pierced this "wall", it permitted "travel" through said "wall" in the other direction; meaning that creditors could then proceed against the City of Attleboro. Formerly, creditors were limited to just the ARA. City officials in the past promised that the voters would never be dunned for ARA debts. It now looks like they will be. Whose fault is it? November, '13 is coming.
Steven Scott July 23, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Give them their jobs back, then give them a broom and make them sweep all the empty lots in the city. See how long it takes them to quit on their own.
Gretchen Robinson July 23, 2012 at 11:36 PM
When I voted for Kevin Dumas in the last election, I did so saying I plan not to vote for him again. The only way I would do so was if his opponent was not up to the job, in my assessment. I was uneasy his handling of ARA. It was not Dumas' finest hour, not then and not since. Again I think it was Dumas' attempt at power politics. I think the City needs change. I wonder who will run. Time will tell.
Sandy Miller July 24, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Come on Jerry Chase, we all know why you don't like the mayor. It has nothing to do with his fiscal policy. In fact, if it were based on that, he scores an A+. Don't make me drudge up old letters to the editor to prove your agenda... You should tend your garden and stay out of others. We all know you did not score well with the public.
Ari Sharon July 24, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Sorry Gretchen, It's not my opinion. It is the Judgement handed down by Thomas F. McGuire, Jr. Justice of the Superior Court. Please read the decision.
Ari Sharon July 24, 2012 at 01:49 AM
I am sorry, I dont mean to keep this going, but you stated earlier that MM has the City "over a barrell" guess who put him in that percieved position of "power"? You tune seemed to have changed during this thread. I hope it is because you took the time to read the decision.
Gretchen Robinson July 24, 2012 at 01:49 AM
well said, Sandy. Some councillors, past and present, automatically dislike everything about Mayor Dumas and his leadership. I think they are jealous or put out because he's been a highly effective leader overall. Those who lose, again and again, can only stir up trouble. JC and others who lost in past council elections failed the "plays well with others" test. Thanks for calling him on this.
Sandy Miller July 24, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Gretchen - I'm surprised at your comments. You seem to be a well informed resident. Look back into the archives and see that Dumas put the ARA on notice that they would not be receiving any more block grant money after 18-months. I think that was in '05 or '06. He told them they had to be self-sustainable after that. They publicly whined and moaned until they got about 36-months of funding. More than double they promised to ask for. Dumas rightfully cut them off. The grants that were and still are in place cannot fund salaries. Even if they could, they were and are intended for projects and not feeding the heavy salary line items in a budget. We also seem to forget that it was the ARA board that made this decision to lay off the workers - not Dumas’. He simply didn’t fund them anymore.
Gretchen Robinson July 24, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Sandy, I represent the voter who doesn't study everything about the City and doesn't remember all the ins-and-outs. I simply don't have the time or the interest. I have followed Kevin Dumas, people like Rick Conti, (who I disagree with often!) discussions on the School Committee, and have tangled often with Jerry Chase. Maybe the SC and Patch should give a timeline and detail all the chess moves here for those of us who need a brush up. Here's what I think, "Everything that can be thought of can be thought of clearly. Everything that can be said can be said clearly." (philosopher, L. Wittgenstein) I'm not saying that I meet that standard of excellence in terms of clarity, but I offer this quote for readers on Patch to consider. Think clearly, reflect, ponder, question everything and everyone, including yourself and your own positions. Forums like this often deteriorate into a blow-by-blow slugfest. That's why I don't write letters to the editor. I come here to have a discussion (and often don't get it). At my worst/at first I participated some of that acrimony, but am now mostly reformed. My comments are like thinking out loud. Throwing out ideas as I think of them, or remember details of what I thought in the past. If I am inconsistent, so what. That's what I thought then--and this is what I think now.
Sandy Miller July 24, 2012 at 02:29 AM
I respect and understand your explanation. I didn't feel like getting into this conversation earlier but felt it important to remind some of those commenting on this thread of what transpired in the past. I guess I flocked to your comment because you have always appeared to be even keeled and open to other's opinions. I appreciate your willingness to discuss issues rather than sling mud.
Gretchen Robinson July 24, 2012 at 02:34 AM
thanks. I am just saying what I think. I am retired and don't care what people think about me or what I say. I try to be respectful but have a lot of resentment about people who are sly or try to push their views. I was on the thread where a School Committee member was, I thought, being bashed unfairly. That got hot and heavy. If you want my email, I can post it. The Editor can give it to you. I also write a column for the Sun Chr. and my email is always there. Keep up the truth-telling. Thanks for clarifying the history on this issue. It's important.
Jerry Chase July 24, 2012 at 02:43 AM
One of the four (4) folks terminated at the ARA quickly got a 'gig' at City Hall, in the Department of Public Works . . . by the name of Ron Dubuc. Why is Bonnie Cruff left out?
Jerry Chase July 24, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Sandy, You might be right; you might be incorrect. At least I have the courage to critique pols publicly, if deserved. And, maybe, sometimes I was not totally correct, right, or fair. I don't claim total or perfect knowledge. But it's clear that you think that K D is the greatest thing since sliced bread. He's talented, to be very sure. And he does speak gentlemanly when we happen to meet, which is more than I can say for one or two others. 'Bye. Hopefully I make your day.
blueskies July 24, 2012 at 01:00 PM
If I remember correctly, not only did the city cut off the funding, the FEDS also refused to give any more AND wanted nearly 1 million dollars back. I also have a hard time believing that anyone could say with a straight face that Judy Robbins is one of the Mayor's inside buddies...plus the governor appointed Her to the ARA not Mayor Dumas'
Gretchen Robinson July 24, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Thanks Jerry, for the honesty and grace. We don't have to be perfect her or have "perfect knowledge" ("for we know in part and understand in part" and "see through a glass dimly" I Corinthians, 13). I'm hoping we can all be a more collaborative and share info here without acrimony or slamming those who post so much. It's been a learning process here for me, finding a way to disagree but put forth my ideas. The harder part is, as always for any writing, is to stane your thoughts clearly, and do so in a way that doesn't attack the other person, personally.
Jerry Chase July 24, 2012 at 06:55 PM
And may I say, Gretchen, that while we commonly disagree, you never descend into attacking a person: you focus on the issues. Would that all critics do the same. BTW, Gretchen, what is "stane"? Yes, sometimes my writing isn't clear, usually because I am thinking of two or three things at one time. Peace.
Gretchen Robinson July 24, 2012 at 07:06 PM
"stane" was supposed to be "state" as in "state your thoughts clearly." Glad for the chance to make that correction. I have had my days of attacking the person but I'm learning. It's counterproductive plus it's not how I want to represent myself here, because I'm not argumentative by nature. I'm a peacemaker by nature. I think we'd do well to stick to the issues. The person is not the problem and doesn't deserve to be attacked. If you are uncertain, admit it. If you change your opinion during a discussion, even a couple times as I did earlier, admit it. This is a medium where it's very easy to take or give offense and get people's backs up.
Dolly July 25, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Dumas, LaCasse, Kirby, Cook and Blais broke the law. It was not the citizens of Attleboro. No matter if MM was competent or not, there's a right way and a wrong way to terminate someone. They choose the illegal way. Vote them out! And fire LaCasse. Get one of these 5 to get you the dollar amount the city (taxpayers) have spent defending lawbreakers.
paul July 25, 2012 at 11:47 AM
The City should settle this mess once and for all. Another judge is not going to overturn this conclusion. Make them an offer with a severance package so we don't have to re-visit this saga again. On the same day, file bankruptcy protection for the ARA to protect the taxpayers from anymore future claims.
Daniel F. Devine July 30, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Kirby has his eye on the Mayors position, (ain't going to happen)
Jerry Chase July 31, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Blueskies, The Bowman Report (Civil Service Comm.) details how that it was K. Dumas who approached J. Robbins with the idea of being appointed to the ARA Board, after the former governor's appointment, Maguire Heath, refused to agree to the mayor's plan(s) and thus refused a re-appointment to the ARA Board. So while it might seem to be "a stretch", Mrs. Robbins was indeed appointed by the governor PER THE MAYOR'S REQUEST. This is per the Bowman report that has unrefuted testimony on this and other related matters.

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