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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

...And the Revolving Door Keeps Spinning. Goodbye, Tom, again.


It seems to be deja vu up at City Hall as Tom Champion, Executive Director of Communications, has handed in his second resignation in two years. His first resignation came in 2010, paving the way for Mike Meehan to take the helm. Champion would return after Meehan's departure.

Best known for his "golden voice" on City Connect calls, Tom (once again) joins a long list of notable resignations from City Hall including Monica Lamboy, Rob May and Mike Lambert.

Champion's resignation, published in the Somerville Journal, states February 28th as his last day.



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

His resignation does not surprise me at all.

When he came back after his first resignation I told anyone who would listen his "come-back" would only be a stop-gap measure until such time as he found another position more to his liking.
That has turned out to be "right-on."

With his more recent "come-back" he, Tom, expounded on how much he wanted to work back in Somerville with all his reasons for wanting to "come-back." Mayor Joe also expounded on how much he and the city wanted him back, surely with the expectation Tom was back for good!

Got to remember his "come-back" was out of necessity for a pay-check, as he did not leave the job he initially left for volantarily. He was out of a job for reasons beyond his control. Coming back to his job in Somerville was a quick fix for a paycheck. [$95,000 a year was there waiting for him--not bad]

Only a matter of time before he moved on again!
Coming back to his job in Somerville was a "band-aid" fix at best.

Shades of when Mayor Joe hired the former Patriots player "Hog" Hannah as a SHS football coach.
No way was Hannah going to be a "fixture" in Somerville.

Anonymous said...

Nice to know when necessary there is always a $95,000 salary, with health benefits, waiting for you in Somerville.
Beats filing for unemployment benefits.

I wonder how much on the clock city job time he burned interviewing with potential job propects resulting in both resignations.

Bigger question: Will there be a third return?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say this because I always liked Mayor Curtatone and supported him from day-1; but, in my opinion, he was and is being played like a fiddle by Tom Champion; as was all the other city pols who sang his praises with a big welcome back after his first resignation.

No question Champion is a talented person----but, loyalty is not one of his strong suits, leaving many bodies behind as he has no problem screwing with the mayor, other city pols, and the taxpayers of Somerville to ensure a paycheck and benefits while busily looking elsewhere for enhanced opportunities.

Sooner or later, and bettter sooner, the Mayor has got to turn the welcoming light off at city hall for Tom Champion.

Thomas Champion said...

To "Anonymous:"

1. The average tenure of Communications Directors in Somerville is only about two years, and I held the job for four years before coming back for my follow-up stint of 16 months. With the exception of the legendary Paul Trane, Communications Directors have a short shelf life.
2. I did not ask the mayor to rehire me in the fall of 2011: he approached me. The situation was the same in 2005.
3. My work, by its very nature, is highly visible: the mayor, the aldermen and my fellow residents can see it happen in real time.
4. I have never taken health benefits from the City. I am insured through my wife's employer.
4. Anybody who actually knows Joe knows that NOBODY plays him "like a fiddle." ;-)

Ward Five said...

I have to agree with Tom on #4 which should be #5.

~Courtney O'Keefe

Anonymous said...

Okay, so three points have been cleared up by Mr. Champion's response:

1)---City health benefits were not part and parcel as an inducement for him to come back as a re-hire in the position he had previously re-signed; but certainly the yearly salary precluded a void in his income while his continuing to seek enhamced employment elsewhere that being an inducement to accept the mayor's offer.

2)---He did not ask to be rehired, but was asked (approached, sic) by the mayor to return and fill the position again.

3)---Mayor Curtatone is not easily played like a fiddle by ANYBODY!
RIGHT!
But there exists a saying that goes something like this:
"Fool me once, shame on you."
"Fool me twice, shame on me."

Re:#1---I know the mayor well enough to know he is a tough negotiater, and is an honorable person, when he makes an offer, or finalizes whatever, he does so in good faith. Surely that good faith was shattered by way of Mr. Champion tendering his second resignation after accepting the position again, knowing full well the position, and its ninety-five thousand dollar salary, would be nothing but a staging-area and a pay check, while seeking enhanced employment elsewhere. As opposed to being unemployed, absent a paycheck.

In other words, he, unknowing by the mayor, accepted the job in bad faith. He talks of average shelf-life (two years) for that position as somewhat supporting his decisions to resign twice.
Shelf-life for any position is not pre-written in stone. That stat is a result of the comings and goings of individuals; and not a rationale
for supporting one's coming and going---in his case twice.

If Mr. Champion can tell us that when accepting the mayor's offer he did so with explaining to the mayor that he would take the position again until such time as he successfully found an enhanced position elsewhere, then all above can be ignored. Otherwise as stated above, he accepted the offer in bad faith.

Let's just hope the welcome light at city hall, as noted in another post above, has been turned off in regard to any future city hirings affecting Mr. Champion.





Ward Five said...

I don't think he accepted it in bad faith. Should a better opportunity come along, for anyone, they must think of themselves first and (as selfish as it sounds) do what's best for them.If the Mayor approached him and asked for his return and Mr. Champion found himself the recipient of a better offer, I don't think he should be faulted for it.

Anonymous said...


Ordinarily, under 99.99% of such circumstances, I would agree whole-heartily with your last post statement, Ward 5.

However, given the two principals involved here, and the fact that the mayor took the initiative to offer Mr. Champion his old job back apparently when Mr. Champion was in need of a job; plus the fact, in my opinion, an historical relationship existed between the two that went beyond employee/employer; more friends than all else... after all, Mr. Champion, at times, was the spokesperson for the mayor with the media; and Mr. Champion being a resident and homeowner in Somerville was, in my opinion, a plus in the mayor's mind when dealing with Mr. Champion. I would truly want to believe, and do think, Mr. Champion could of been more "upfront" with the mayor from the get-go when the offer for re-hiring was presented; and absent, in my opinion, blindsiding the mayor with his second resignation.
At least that's what it appears to be.

Most severed employee/employer relationships, given distance and time, result in both principals fading into obscurity. In my opinion, not so with the mayor and Mr. Champion. Hence, the job offering by the mayor.

All that said, given what we know, and what may have said between the two behind closed doors unknown to us; the mayor deserved better than a "surprise" second resignation.

A job holder re-signing for a better opportunity elsewhere, in my mind, is not the issue here....a common occurence.

But, read again what I said above about what I believe the situation could of, and should of, been handled, (at least by Mr. Champion) between "friends"...and yes, neighbors!

Anonymous said...

I just know Mayor Joe is taking the "high road" with Champion's second resignation because he, Mayor Joe, is a class guy; but rest assure, he, Mayor Joe, is not happy with his choice of allowing Champion the opportunity to resign a second time, and there will not ever be a third time.

Just pray the Board of Alderman does not see fit to invite Champion to a board meeting to award him a plaque for his "dedicated" service.