On the Right Lane: A window into failures?


“Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work, its progress stops.”
                                                   Thomas J. Watson, former chairman and CEO, IBM

I couldn’t have had better timing for this column as I have finally digested the so-called Opus report on the town of Windham as well as last week’s newspaper article about the happenings during the Sept. 25 Town Council meeting. 

Well, I say I digested the OPUS report, but a lot of vitamins and minerals were missing from it because of the rules and regulations that hide dubious government happenings from us common folk. I now believe that could very well be the reason things went south for more than one town department. Sadly, I must report that one town councilor’s remark about the buck stopping with them was not true, because they at one point were taken out of the chain of command.

It shouldn’t be me that has to correct missteps taken by Windham town councilors, but if no other person does, whether connected or not connected to government, then I definitely will as I always have. Does anyone remember just a few years ago when the Town Council policy was set that in order for councilors to talk to town employees they had to go through the town manager? How could the council be where the buck stopped when town employees could only stick out their necks and risk being fired if they came in front of the council and complained? That certainly isn’t the definition of a chain of command that I lived with for 20 years.

The Opus report confirms just what I suspected,  or else it would have ended up being another worthless study done by the town of Windham. Once again our own government rules keep us common folk in the dark as to the true workings within our government, even much more so if something devious, evil or corrupt happens. As long as it continues I will write about it. I firmly believe that in Windham such happenings have been increasing at a higher rate than anybody could consider normal. I have been studying and writing about Windham for close to a decade and a half and I am appalled at what I can find, which tells me it could be far worse. I am more than likely digressing here, but Windham has always been a town of rumors and innuendos. That was evident when some Windham town employees spoke in support of the Windham town manager during the same meeting I mentioned previously.

I could surmise that some people would read the Opus report and wonder why it was necessary in the first place, especially since it was paid for by taxpayer dollars. I agree with the town councilors approving the study, and please remember that every town councilor voted for it although comments from a couple of councilors would lead one to believe otherwise.

I am sorry to be very blunt in order to make my point, but the report states there is “not a single root cause to problems in the Public Works Department but rather a systematic breakdown in the effective chain of command” that led to the problems at the PWD. I suggest that means a lack of management, which many us know has existed in Windham for years.

I love this line in the report: “The role of the council should be to support the management when faced when operational barriers.” That really sounds great, but the town councilors should be informed when those barriers are reached. I have never seen such a conversation between town management and town councilors. Again, please remember councilors were not to engage in day-to-day operations of the town. Previously, there had been numerous complaints pertaining about a few town departments for years with no resolution in sight.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham believes the OPUS report is not about the management but rather the mismanagement of the town of Windham.