Oxford Hires Selectman as Public Works Employee

Dave McKane was hired to the town job Wednesday; he will remain a selectman.


Oxford officials voted Wednesday night to hire longtime Selectman Dave McKane as a town employee.

McKane, 59, was hired as a laborer at the Oxford Department of Public Works. He will start in the unionized position on Monday at a rate of $20.71 an hour, which at 40 hours a week equates to $43,076 a year. He will also be eligible for overtime.

The vote to hire McKane, a Democrat, was 2-0 with First Selectman George Temple and Selectman Jeff Haney, both Republicans, casting the ‘yes’ votes. McKane recused himself from the vote and left the room when the vote was cast.

“It is pretty controversial, but not from my point of view,” Temple said. “Dave has done an awful lot for this town. He wants the the job, and I know he’s going to do a good job.”

McKane, who has served in some form of local government for 29 years, is in his fourth consecutive term as a selectman and plans to remain in his seat. He acknowledged that some may take issue with his hiring.

“I can’t change people’s minds if they want to look at it as something being controversial,” he said. “The fact is, I knew there was going to be some openings. I applied like everyone else. I need a job.”

McKane, who is married and has three adult daughters, has worked in manufacturing for several years. Prior to that, he said he worked in all phases of construction, where he learned how to operate machines, such as large trucks and backhoes, which he may be called upon to operate at DPW.

“In fact, when they built Carriage Drive in Oxford, I was the guy picking the rocks off the side of the road and backfilling the curbs and raking the aprons and everything,” he said, adding that he recently obtained a commercial driver’s license. “I’m a hands-on type of guy; I helped build my own home. …I suspect from both sides of the aisle, I will receive some backlash. But I think I have what it takes to do the job.”

McKane said he discussed the issue with town counsel and learned there are no regulations stating he has to step down as selectman. If there were, McKane said he would not have applied. “The people elected me to be a selectman, and I wouldn’t turn my back on that responsibility and opportunity," he said.

McKane, whose wife, Linda, is an assistant in the Oxford town clerk’s office, has recused himself from discussions or votes involving that office while selectman. He expects to do the same when discussions arise about public works.

Following Wednesday's selectmen meeting, Temple praised McKane, with whom he often finds himself at odds with politically.

“Aside from the fact that I obviously don’t always agree with Dave McKane, I never doubted his motivation, his dedication to the town," Temple said. "That is worth something to me; that is worth a lot."

Temple said there were three candidates for the position and that he believes McKane was the most qualified.

“I think the most important qualification to work for the town is commitment, and Dave McKane has the commitment," Temple said.

Still, not everyone was pleased over the hiring.

A clearly frustrated David Stocker, chair of the Republican Town Committe, stormed out of the room when the vote was cast, yelling “adios” as he opened the door. Prior to that, he tried to block the vote, saying that the board was not following Robert’s Rules of Order because it had tabled the discussion of DPW employee hiring at its last meeting and never amended the agenda to have that item removed.

And Republican Board of Finance Vice Chairman Jack Kiley took issue with the hiring process for town employees, one which he described as being wrought with cronyism, nepotism and favoritism.

“Right now, we just hire F.R.O. employees – friends and relatives only,” he said. Kiley, however, did not mention McKane and his discussion was presented before the vote to hire the selectman to DPW.

Kiley suggested the town implement a new hiring procedure that calls for written tests, screenings and background checks, on top of interviews. He also wants extra points given to Oxford residents and American military veterans.

“We should have a fair hiring process like most towns do,” he said. “It’s time for Oxford to start being more professional and stop giving jobs to friends and relatives.”

kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 03:04 AM
also lisa dave is the father of a downs syndrome child.
Ruby September 23, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Mrs. Johnson, Since you were sleeping while acting as First Selectman The Administrative Assistant is the First Selectman's choice and that person usually serves at the pleasure of the First Selectman. You comparing a appointed position to a union job in the Public Works Dept is laughable. The fact is this was an inside deal cut between First Selectman Temple his running mate Selectman Haney, W. Watt and Selectman David McKane. Other qualified applicants were over-looked to hire an elected, sitting Selectman David McKane. It would be wrong not to have the job posted and other applicants have the right to file a complaint. Those were had seniority within Oxford and were in the union can also file a complaint with the union. Very simple Kathy. R.
Jessie September 23, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Sorry Kathy Johnson, You like Jimmy Carter. So as First Selectman you were like the James Buchanan of Oxford.
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 04:15 AM
ruby of couse i know that the adminitrative assitant is chosen by the first selectman my point is that augie picked a politicos wife i do not falt him for that anymore than i falt any other hire by the town. jessie please make up your mind who you want me to be.
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 04:18 AM
ruby have any other applicants filed a complaint?
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 05:02 AM
jessie thanks for another compliment. As I recall James Buchanan was part of the Reagan administration. When he ran for president he was concerned that our nation was loosing its sovernty. I admired his courage to be able to speak his mind knowing that he probably would not win but maybe he would get the attention of the nation . I believe his motive was not derived for political gain but in fact to help his country. Thanks again
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 05:19 AM
Jessie are you listening to all the talking heads on all the cable shows or are you actually doing your homework and thinking for yourself.? You can attack me all you want and try to insult me . I intend to continue to defend my "buddy" Dave and continue to point out how i feel about your's and others inappropriate and insulting comments. If i have insulted or angered you Oh Well.
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 06:11 AM
ruby I have asked you a couple of questions that you have not answered. You seem to be full of insults and accusations and speak as if you have a wide knowledge of the town charter and how oxford government functions but I have yet to hear you back up any of your statements. Although there are many people who choose to post comments on this blog their are many more who read them. When you make serious accusations you are obligated to back them up. I am obligated to challenge you as a fellow citizen if you do not. back them up. Insulting me does not give you any credability it only prooves you have nothing else of substance to offer.
Fed Up September 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM
I can see a court case coming from this one.Where and when was the job posted.Nothing in local papers.Inside deal.Sham from the start.
Jessie September 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM
James Buchanan was the 15h President of the United States Kathy.
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Town cpuncil would have strongly advised the board of selectman not to vote to hire if the town could be taken to court especially if the town could loose. George is himself a lawyer.
Vinny Yacovelli September 23, 2012 at 01:37 PM
For the love of God, has anyone ever heard of " spellcheck"
Fed Up September 23, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Last comment.Mr.McKane used his position as selectman to gain employment with public works.Had the position been properly advertised the BOS and Mr.Watt would have hired a more qualified person.This whole thing was a sham from the very start.End of story.
Ed Smith September 23, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Mr. Welch and Mr. Fed Up have demonstrated their strong abilities to detect slackers who lean on the shovel and are not qualified for their jobs. I suggest they donate their time applying their strengths, they could volunteer to be the Town Overseer to make sure Mr. McKane earns the money he will be paid. I suggest each of them donate 5% of the time Mr. McKane has given to this town for free.
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 06:48 PM
oops wrong Buchanan. You got me! Thanks anyway at least he got elected. Now enlighten me as to why you chose him. when i wrote that late last night i did question if ihad the right Buchanan but was too tired to check it out. That going back a long way and i am not a huge histery buff concerning all the presidents. touche!
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Bravo ED wells said.
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 06:55 PM
vinny i agree iam the worlds worst speller and computer challenged. my ipad is a rotten piece of junk. every time itry spell chech i loose my entry. you are right to call us all to task as you can tell i'm still not litening.
Pearl September 23, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Just wondering how could other more qualified applicants have been overlooked if the job was never posted
Vinny Yacovelli September 23, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I'm not that great either Kath, if the computer did'nt check for me I would be in big trouble. LOL. You're all good sports!
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Vinny,( by the way I have a brother vinny) Iwas blessed with the ability to think on my feet and have great communication skills. when I start hunting and pecking my mind is going a mile a minute and I just can not stop for anything. You sound like a real nice guy who is not wrapped up in his ego. Now before you all think i'm bragging i am sure all of you out there in blog land were blessed with a talent or two too.
kathy johnson September 23, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Pearl, You made me chuckle. Thanks the pearl of wisdom.
kathy johnson September 24, 2012 at 01:44 PM
This thread seems to be coming to an end and well it should but there is one more comment I would like to ad. I am personally saddened and disappointed in many of the leaders in the past administration who have chosen to remain silent. Dave stood by the last administration and all its leaders through thick and thin. I know that many of you I am speaking of read this blog. I view most of you as takers ,users and fair weather friends.
Ruby September 25, 2012 at 08:13 PM
I understand a private investigation is being conducted on how very qualified people were over looked and the process was flawed with fellow politicians giving their counterparts a job. McKane should be ashamed of himself along with the First Selectman and Selectman Haney who I am very surprised with. Haney does seem however to be the puppet and shadow of Mr. George Temple.
Ron Loves Oxford September 25, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Very Intresting and quite suspicious. Who has the applications of others that applied? Who interviewed these people? Where was this Union job posted? Many questions, but doubt you will get an answer. Let's keep this going until there is a press conference. We deserve to know!
Oxford for 60 years September 25, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Ron, not sure who has the applications of all that applied but know for a fact not all that applied were ever interviewed.
Pearl September 25, 2012 at 10:00 PM
To the best of my knowledge most employers take all applications then choose from them which applicants to interview, then who to give the job to. Maybe all the talk about how much Dave has given to the town is more to showcase his work ethic than to say he deserves a paid position now. I'm sure as an employer one would want an employee with a little less expertise who you know firsthand will put everything he has into what hes doing than someone with more doing just what needs to be done. Maybe I'm naive but I always give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Ron Loves Oxford September 27, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Oxford for 60 years.............It didn't matter who applied. You could have been the best qualified candidate for the job. The guy at public works has mixed politics and work for years. What was he when the First Selectman said YOU, I want Selectman McKane to get the job..... Ahhhhhh OK. Yes Sir, don't worry....and then hide back in the office.
Ruby September 27, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I do hope the democratic party can find someone to replace McKane during the next election Cycle? Enough is enough and he got what he always wanted....A town job. So time to move on David. Kathy Johnson, you can have a going away party and work on getting someone new and fresh to run as Selectman.
Scott April 17, 2013 at 01:46 PM
I just read all these comments and am shocked that the town didn't advertise it! Sure it got handed to him on a "silver platter"! Isn't that George's way of hiring people...it's called the buddy system! Dave is not qualified. He doesn't even have his CDL for crying out loud! I am not impressed with him at all! I have been to many meetings and can tell you he lacks knowledge!! Time for a change Dave! Stick to your PW job!
Janis Hardy April 17, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Scott, I think you are 7 months behind the times. Have you been out of the country? Anyway, how can it be the buddy system when Temple/Haney are Repubs and Dave is a Dem? Besides, Dave is qualified and he DOES have his CDL. Didn't you even read the entire article?


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