AN INSIDE LOOK - Commentary and opinions on local politics and life in general in Southeastern Massachusetts! Featuring the writings of Bill Gouveia, newspaper columnist for the Sun Chronicle and local cable TV talk show host. Feel free to read, comment and enjoy!
Monday, June 3, 2013
Foxboro and Paicos Part - It Was Time
This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, June 3, 2013
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
and its often controversial town manager Kevin Paicos are officially parting
ways.This comes as no great surprise to
anyone, including Paicos and the Board of Selectmen.Simply put – it was time.
over the last several years Paicos has guided Foxboro through a turbulent and
important portion of its long and proud history.His contributions to the community should not
be completely overshadowed by the times he became the issue, as opposed to just
working on them.
Manager hirings often reflect the prevailing political mood of the town and the
selectmen at the time.Their selection
is also seriously affected by the performance and personality of their
immediate predecessor.When making a
change, selectmen tend to compare the potential new appointees to who they are
replacing.They look to expand on the
traits they like and reverse the ones they don’t.
was hired to replace Andrew Gala, a reserved and unpretentious leader who was
at the helm for some thirty years.At
the time of Paicos’s appointment, it was generally assumed selectmen were
looking for a more aggressive manager, someone with experience at helping towns
certainly got that in Paicos, who was town administrator in Easton for 15 years
before leaving after some particularly nasty political battles with selectmen
and town activists.He was about as far
removed in style from Gala as you could get, while his management technique was
much more “hands on” than the former chief executive.It was believed by many at the time – your
truly included – this was an excellent choice and would help give Foxboro’s
town government more and better structure.
in many ways, it was and it did.Paicos
helped make some necessary changes in Foxboro.He created some badly needed professional positions and brought some
highly skilled (and highly paid by local standards) personnel to fill
them.He modernized many of the
procedures in town hall.He better
centralized purchasing and made it more efficient.He reorganized some of the duties and
responsibilities of existing personnel.He helped lower health insurance costs and pushed an unpopular meals tax
the town needed to implement.
can’t do all that without ruffling a few feathers, but Paicos seemed more
intent on plucking the whole bird.He
often projected the attitude he was always right, and others needed to be
helped to understand that inescapable fact.Some of the very same attributes that make him a strong executive manager
also make him difficult to deal with on a political basis.And in local government, politics is no small
tended to talk down occasionally to his selectmen.He was known to do things he knew they did
not favor, and deal with the consequences afterwards.He was sometimes short with citizens who
disagreed with him.He injected his own
personal opinions into situations where they were neither relevant nor necessary,
such as the debate over the casino issue.He used the media as a tool to achieve his personal and professional
seemed to enjoy antagonizing the town’s largest source of taxpayer revenue, as
evidenced by his needless battles with the Kraft Group.His comments to the Boston Globe saying “I’m
standing up for a town called Foxboro, not Kraftsville” were unprofessional and
designed to protect his job, not the community he was serving.You won’t see any sign of it publicly, but
you can bet there will be smiles around Gillette Stadium when Paicos vacates
Still, Paicos will be leaving a town in better
shape than we he got there.Some of the
things he made happen in Foxboro were unpopular but necessary.Whoever becomes the next town manager will
have the benefit of a solid internal organization and a sound financial
didn’t have to end this way, at least not this soon.But Paicos demonstrated a lack of patience in
Foxboro, and seemed to be simply tiring of the politics
of his chosen profession.Make no
mistake about it – this was a decision manipulated by Paicos.In the end, he got what he really wanted.
must move forward.The Paicos era is
coming to an end.It was time.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and
can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at