Town Administrator to Depart

By S.D. Plissken | January 18, 2019

Milton’s Town Administrator is leaving us. Let us wish her Godspeed and all the best in her new endeavors.

That leaves Milton with no Town Administrator. Is that really such a bad thing?

One might bet any amount of money – even as much as a Town Budget increase – that there was a time when Milton had no Town Administrator (and that time was within living memory). And you would win that bet. Having a Town Administrator is a relatively recent “innovation.” How is that working out for us?

Mr. Elder informs us that we have had eight Town Administrators in the last ten years. And that there have been gaps of a month or more between them. That works out, roughly, to an average tenure of 14 months per Town Administrator, of which he further informs us that 6 months of that time is spent learning the ropes. Therefore, by his own accounting, we have paid (in just over a decade) for 4 years of getting up to speed and less than 6 years of town administration. (And 8 months of gaps between them).

Obviously, we have not received value for tax money in this whole Town Administrator venture. In the real world, we might now just cancel our subscription and take our business elsewhere. Or just give it up as being a “bad business.” But this is government.

Failed government innovations and interventions are rarely, if ever, “backed out” like the buggy software that they are. Government always doubles down: it “fixes” its failures with more tax money and increased regulations. (They are mired in the Calculation Problem). Cast your mind back, if you will, to Daylight Savings Time, farm subsidies, government cheese, Fannie Mae, the food pyramid (related to the farm subsidies), Dot-com bubbles, housing bubbles, student loan guarantee bubbles, health care market interventions, etc. etc.. The list is lengthy. It has always been thus.

In that same doubling-down spirit, some have suggested that Milton “solve” its perceived administration problems by “upgrading” to a Town Manager instead of a Town Administrator.

No, thanks. That would have us paying double – likely more – for even less satisfactory results. Selectmen are bad enough. (If they had to do their own administration, as they formerly did, they might have less time for mischief).

The Milton Town government’s ever-increasing budget problems are beyond level funding. They need cutting badly. (It’s a very deep hole with very steep sides). This current vacancy, in a non-constitutional position, presents a perfect opportunity to reduce staff through simple attrition. Do not fill the position, just eliminate it.

Lather, rinse, repeat. And never create any new positions. That would violate the Law of Holes: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.


McEvoy, Eleanor. (1996). Trapped Inside. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, November 15). Law of Holes. Retrieved from

Author: S.D. Plissken

I thought he'd be taller.

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