Manager Murphy hires paid mostly under budgeted Salaries

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City Manager Kevin Murphy who was himself hired at less that what the former Manager was being paid,( at $175,00 with no previous experience, The previous Manager with 26 years experience was making $183,864.00) has hired some good people to fill important positions and in most cases has brought them in under the approved budgeted salary.

I found only two instances where he has brought in someone at slightly over what the position was approved for (In the case of the 3rd Asst. City Manager he created this eliminating Asst. to the City Manager pos). In one instance he brought someone in at the exact salary of his predecessor.

The only question I have is if he intends to use the Jr. Data Analysis position that is now vacant and the salary budgeted for that slot, to pay the Administrative Assistant Position in his office that he filled last week.

Since he has a bad habit of NOT announcing salaries when he informs the SUN of a new hire (He has NOT issued Press Releases on hirings) I thought I’d share with you what the 2015 budget was for that position and what the position is actually getting paid. (It is all public information)

If he had announced at the time of hiring or in one of his “media” appearances and let people know that while he is employing good, qualified people for these positions, he is doing so while saving the city some money in the process, I think many people would be happy and impressed with that strategy. It benefits the city.

As the Lowell Sun stated just last year Open and transparent government — there’s a lot to like about it, Mr. Manager.

B= Budget / CPP – Current Persons Pay

B- Asst. to City Manager $ 83,988
CPP – Assistant City Manager $87,310. ($3,322 Over Budget)

B- Data Analyst $ 65,853
CPP – Data Management Analyst $63,007 ($2,846.00 Under Budget)

B- Jr. Data Analyst $ 50,093
CPP – Jr. Data Management Analyst $0 Vacant

B – Chief Financial Officer $ 118,325
CPP – Chief Financial Officer (CFO) $102,831 ($15,484.00 Under Budget)

B – AssistantCity Manager/Director DPD $ 121,283
CPP – Assistant City Manager/Director DPD $114,494.64 ($6,789.00 Under Budget)

B-Dep. Dir.(Planning, Community & Economic Dev) $ 96,291
CPP – Deputy Director- Planning and Community Development $87,310 ($8,981 Under Budget)

B -Downtown/Special Events Coordinator $ 60,636
CPP -Special Events Coordinator $62,462 ($1,826 Over Budget)

B – WATER Executive Director $ 102,552
CPP – Executive Director Water Utility – $102,552

B – Administrative Assistant (City Manager’s Office) $0 NOT IN BUDGET
CPP -Administrative Assistant (City Manager’s Office) Filled 10/14 DOH still pending $40,516.32

Interim Financial Advisor Robert Healy $34,519.68/annual $66.3837/hour
(NO Ref to where / what line item this is charged to)

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Lincoln Date Night – Go and sign up

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Get down to Gervais Lincoln at the Mickey Ward Circle (near Outback and Lowell Cinema) take a test ride in the beautiful Lincoln MKC and then enter into the Lincoln Date Night for your chance to have the use of a Lincoln 2015 MKC for 24-48 hours and a $100 Visa Gift Card to take your spouse, girl (or boy) friend, that special 1st date or buy breakfast for the guys you do the Radio show with or take them to Maguires in Dracut for dinner (NOT!)

Go to the Gervais Site look at the list of great cars they have to offer and then head down to see Peter Gervais or Jon Martin and learn about Lincoln Motors and the MKC. Take a ride and then enter to win a Lincoln Date Night Package.

I entered back when we did the Driven to Give Event and last week was contacted by Lincoln Motors and got to celebrate my Wedding Anniversary driving and dining in style on Lincoln Motors. All you need to do is take a ride in a Lincoln MKC.

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2015_lincoln_mkc_4dr-suv_base_rqh_evox_1_300

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City Admin & Neighborhood Groups = Centralville Pride

PRIDE

If you left the Centralville Neighborhood on Friday via Bridge St. and drove back Sunday, you saw a remarkable change along the Bridge St. corridor.

The Centralville Neighborhood Action Group,Christian Hill Reservoir group, Friends of Gage Field, The Robinson School, Lowell High ROTC, Tom Bellgarde and the City Parks Department, Mike Demaris and the Neighborhood Services Dept., State Rep. Tom Golden, City Councilor Rita Mercier and I’m probably missing a few more all in cooperation with City Manager Murphy’s Administration and City Council support spent a good part of Saturday cleaning, painting and beautifying the Bridge St. area and the Reservoir.

Being from Centralville the change in the area is wonderful and adds a lot of warmth and welcome,
THANK YOU to all who took part and to the Manager, his staff and the Council for their support.

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CNP

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Olympic Rowing on the River?

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For something that wasn’t supposed to be widely talked about or even a possibility, now we have two (2) reports that not only is the push to bring the Olympics to Boston real but LOWELL could be hosting the Rowing Events on the Merrimack.

Today’s Boston Business Journal sites Partnership president Dan O’Connell listing Lowell has a possible site.

Outside Route 128: There are some events that the Partnership could not locate in or close to Boston. That includes rowing, which would take place on the Merrimack River in Lowell. (The Charles River’s bridges would get in the way, per Olympics guidelines.)

Yesterday in the Focus Section of the Sun Editor Jim Campanini wrote:

The commission has been meeting privately with municipal and university officials for months, engaging them to support the proposal and seeking their participation in the Games. Donoghue, who was appointed to the commission by Senate President Therese Murray, has played an integral part in these discussions. Recently, a closed-door meeting was held at UMass Lowell with Chancellor Marty Meehan, members of Lowell’s Statehouse delegation and other university officials in attendance. Few details have leaked out. But it’s obvious Massachusetts is all-in for presenting a qualified bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, vying with Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. (The U.S. Olympic Committee will select the best proposal by the end of 2015, and submit it to the International Olympic Committee for consideration against other global competitors. The IOC will make its final selection in 2017, seven years ahead of the 2024 Summer Games.) Lowell, according to sources, is being considered for a key role in the Boston plan. Commission members are eyeing the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell for basketball games and boxing matches. They also want to use the university’s dormitories to house athletes, game officials, workers and media members.

The commission is excited about restoring baseball as an Olympic sport, which would bring fabled Fenway Park into the mix for championship round games. This would be a boon to Lowell and LeLacheur Park, which has been identified as a potential venue to host preliminary-round games, along with McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I.

But Lowell’s biggest asset — and one that is essential to the Olympic effort — is the Merrimack River. According to sources, the mighty Merrimack is the lone waterway in eastern Massachusetts that can be upgraded to the stringent Olympic competitive rowing standards. It also offers a clear, unobstructed straightaway for rowers and ample space on both riverbanks to build viewing stands for spectators.

So what do you think? Will the Olympics be “Rowing on the River”?

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Control Issues or Staff Inexperience ? Why does Manager want to cancel 11/25 meeting?

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VOTES FROM THE CITY MANAGER
Vote-Cancel Council Meetings 11/11 and 11/25/14

I can understand canceling the Veterans Day City Council Meeting but I can’t understand the reason (and there has been none given publicly) to cancel the November 25th meeting aside from the fact it is the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.

Maybe City Manager Murphy is more of a control guy than people accused Manager Lynch of being? Rumors around Lynch said that the Manager didn’t want Dept. heads responding to Councilors and had to inform him before talking to a Councilor or media person.

Rumors about Manager Murphy say Asst. Manager Mike McGovern must clear everything first. Maybe Murphy doesn’t want the Council to meet without him being there less someone says something he doesn’t want said?

Maybe he plans to be away that week and due to the inexperience of his staff in Municipal Gov’t, he wants to protect them and just cancel the meeting. New Asst. City Manager Tradd who has worked for the City for years but is not part of the usual Tuesday meeting and hasn’t had to respond to the Council. Mike McGovern who until July was employed as Greater Lowell Technical High School’s coordinator of school information/school foundation is new to the Tuesday meetings. Conner Baldwin the CFO has only been in place for a few months but based on his performance during the budget hearings, could probably handle any questions from the Council.

Ralph Snow the DPW Director / Asst City Manager has held that position longer than Tradd or McGovern but isn’t really a Murphy insider and even under Lynch never served as Acting Manager.

Control Issues or Inexperience, why else should the meeting be cancelled?

Explanation Please!

Here’s a look at what the 2014 Budget for the Manager’s Office was:

CITY MANAGER $ 183,864 Asst. to City Manager $ 79,760 Executive Assistant $ 51,524
Data Analyst $ 62,541 Jr. Data Analyst $ 48,858 Neighborhood Coordinator $ 66,679
Administrative Assistant $ 42,593

Now here’s a look at the 2015 Budget submitted for the Manager’s Office:

CITY MANAGER $ 175,000 Asst. to City Manager $ 83,988 Executive Assistant $55,710
Data Analyst $ 65,853 Jr. Data Analyst $ 50,093 Neighborhood Coordinator $ 68,346

Notice there is no Line Item in the submitted budget for the Administrative Assistant Position and yet we know that the job was at least advertised. Is someone doing the job? If so where are the funds coming from?

There’s also the question of where the extra $3,100 that was not in the budget for the New Asst. City Manager position is coming from. The budget line for the Asst. to the Manager was $83,988 not the $87,000 the SUN reported that the new position pays.

Job Elimination?

Is the City eliminating the junior data analyst position? Since promoting Rodney Conley to become the data-management analyst August 1st have they advertised or hired for this position? There is no person listed in the City directory with this title.

That job was budgeted for $50,093 which would cover the Administrative Assistant Position along with the Extra $3,100 that was not in the budget for the New Asst. City Manager and still leave a surplus in the payroll budget for the Manager’s Office.

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Sunday Notes October 19th 2014

“The people of the city pay his salary and they are entitled to know what is going on at City Hall. Anything less is a disservice to the people of the city.” Rodney Elliott 2011 talking about the City Manager

I for one believe the public has every right to know what is going on at City Hall and that “Open Govt” means the public has to be informed just as the Council does,

We find out in this week’s City Council Agenda through a motion by Councilor Leary that the City doesn’t have a Traffic (Transportation) Engineer

9.3. C. Leahy – Req. City Mgr. explore possibility of using outside contract or service to fill the vacant position of Traffic Engineer.

Eric Eby left the City in Sept. for the private sector and the position is now posted. (for 10 days)

I had emailed and asked all 9 City Councilors – Do you agree with Mayor Elliot’s statement that “The people of the city pay the Manager’s salary and they are entitled to know what is going on at City Hall? Is Anything less a disservice to the people of the city.”?

Only 2 Councilors responded. Jim Milinazzo

Hi Gerry,

How are you doing?
Yes-I agree with Mayor Elliot’s statement. Let me ask you-did he make this statement as Mayor?

Jim

Dan Rourke:

Hey Gerry,
I would both agree w the mayor’s statement and also stress that I believe that City Hall has been transparent. Since asst city manager Mike McGovern has been in place, the administration has released numerous press releases relating to upcoming events, personnel decisions, as well as public safety and economic updates. With regards to the treasurer situation, I believe Manager Murphy was ready to announce Mr Lumbra’s hiring but as we now know, he chose not to accept the position at the last-minute.

Take care,
Danny

If Councilor Rourke is correct, then why hasn’t the City Manager’s Office replied to a Public Records request I submitted on October 8th asking for any/all press releases sent out by the City Manager’s Office, Mayor’s Office, City Council and any City Department (with the exception of the Lowell School Committee) since April 11th of this year?

In the private sector, many of us work Columbus Day to get the day after Thanksgiving off. So why is the City Manager asking the Council to cancel the Council meeting on Tuesday November 25th? Is the Manager going to give the entire city staff Wednesday or Friday off? Or just himself and the 9 Councilors an extra vacation day?

Chris Scott returned to post his Column Blog this past Thursday (but didn’t include it in today’s Political Column.) He reported that the Water Dept. phone that sent text messages to Erik Gitschier’s mom is missing and can’t be found but since everyone seems to now be playing nice, the Manager’s Office is dropping the search but now has a record of every city owned phone.

Scary that since becoming Mayor the self proclaimed Fiscal Watchdog is having trouble with numbers. I posted on Tuesday that Manager Murphy seemed to be doing a good job keeping the Council informed on legal cases involving the City, meeting approx. once (1) a month with the entire Council in Executive session.

One of the knocks against former Manager Lynch, was that he didn’t keep the Council aware of sensitive information (like the status of lawsuits) but during the review of this Council’s Agenda’s so far this year, it appears Manager Murphy and the Council have an Executive Session at least once a month (twice in April, none in May)

On WCAP with Teddy on Wednesday, the Mayor was being very defensive because it was me stating they had meetings and said that these meetings weren’t once a month. (Teddy didn’t seem to be able to comprehend that I wasn’t attacking these sessions, just noting them and asking about releasing minutes, but he plays to the anti-Gerry -anti-blogger crowd anyway)

Now I know his ego the Mayor hates anything I say, but even HE and Teddy should be able to COUNT to 7, especially when the numbers come from the City Council Agenda. Manager Murphy started in April it is now October – that equals 7 Month. My Friend the COUNT will help the Mayor and Teddy by counting the number of Executive Sessions posted since April…

Rodney, Follow along with me...starting with 1

Rodney, Follow along with me…starting with 1


1) APRIL 1st 12.1. 2014 / 237 – Executive Session regarding pending litigation, public discussion of which could have a detrimental effect on the City’s position.
2) April 8th 2014 Executive Session – Review negotiations with City Manager-Elect;
3) JUN 24th 2014 CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION 11.1. 2014 / 471 – Executive session, pursuant to “Exemption 3”, to discuss strategy with respect to potential litigation regarding the Greater Lowell Technic al High School
4) July 8th 2014 CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION Executive Session, pursuant to “Exemption 4”, relative to the deployment of security personnel and strategies relating to their deployment
5) Aug 26th 2014 3.1. 2014 / 588 – Executive Session regarding matters of pending litigation relative to the GLRVS, worker compensation cases, other injured on-duty cases,
6) Sept 9th 2014 CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION 10.1. Executive Session – Pursuant to “Exemption 4″
7)TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2014Executive Session – Regarding pending litigation, public discussion of which could have a detrimental effect on the City’s position.

WERE YOU ABLE TO COUNT TO 7 MR. MAYOR? If Manager Murphy has been here 7 months and the Council has had 7 Executive Sessions in that time period, than the AVERAGE = ONCE A MONTH! even a fiscal watchdog and talk radio host ,should be able to count to 7.

It must really upset the Mayor , Jim Campy and the SUN that the LHA gets such a positive rating by HUD after the relentless attacks on the LHA over the past year.The Good news out of LHA this week may be only the beginning and another announcement with more good news may be coming in the next few weeks.

Yesterday in the Saturday chat and today in the Column Blog is a rumor that has been floating around since June concerning Bill Martin and Jim Milinazzo. Martin is said to be considering ending his political career.While I think Mr. Martin is a nice guy, he hasn’t been a leader that I had hoped he would be and it may be time to step aside.

The other vacancy might be created by Councilor James Milinazzo. Anxious to erase a bitter loss in 2011, Milinazzo wanted to leave the council on his own terms. Jim Milinazzo. on City Life in the past few weeks addressed the rumor saying he intends at this point to run again. So far he has been one of the only Councilors to put in motions that challenge other councilors. Hopefully he starts asking the Manager for more accountability and stays on. He has a wealth of knowledge from his DPD days and his time as Ex. Director at the LHA along with his banking background. The Council needs his knowledge and expertise.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery (again) to Lowell Good Guy Jack Baldwin, your voice and laughter will be missed from the WCAP airwaves. Looking forward to your return.

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Lowell City Council Agenda Oct. 21 2014

Here’s the Link to this week’s Council Agenda.

A couple of Items that caught my attention:

VOTES FROM THE CITY MANAGER
Vote-Cancel Council Meetings 11/11 and 11/25/14

I understand Canceling the Veterans Day meeting but why the Tuesday before Thanksgiving? Most of us in the private sector work.

Councilor motions:

This one should get John McDonough fired up!

C. Leahy/C. Kennedy – Req. City Mgr. update City Council on report on police vehicles dated July 10, 2013; as well as requesting Supt. of LPD explore possibility of allowing Lowell officers living in the City be able to take cruisers home after shifts.

A Good Idea from Councilor Belanger to help the downtown businesses during the Holidays:C. Belanger – Req. City Council approve a program which would allow two free weekends of parking (November 28 and 29; December 19 and 20) in downtown garages.

Here is the complete list of Councilor Motions:

9.1. C. Leahy/C. Kennedy – Req. City Mgr. update City Council on report on police vehicles dated July 10, 2013; as well as requesting Supt. of LPD explore possibility of allowing Lowell officers living in the City be able to take cruisers home after shifts.

9.2. C. Leahy – Req. City Mgr. prepare a report outlining the use of private contracts as well as the use of city and private equipment for 2014/2015 snow removal; in addition explore new strategy regarding snow removal in the downtown and the neighborhoods.

9.3. C. Leahy – Req. City Mgr. explore possibility of using outside contract or service to fill the vacant position of Traffic Engineer.

9.4. C. Belanger – Req. City Council approve a program which would allow two free weekends of parking (November 28 and 29; December 19 and 20) in downtown garages.

9.5. C. Belanger – Req. City Mgr. establish Neighborhood Crime Watch throughout the City including installation of proper signage along gateways.

9.6. C. Belanger – Req. City Council discuss potential parking ordinance changes and refer to Economic Development SC for further discussion.

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