Chapter 43 Section 100: The mayor shall be recognized as the official head of the city for all ceremonial purposes and shall be recognized by the courts for the purpose of serving civil process and by the governor for military purposes. In time of public danger or emergency, as determined by the city council, he may, with its consent, take command of the police, maintain order and enforce the laws; and he shall have all the authority and powers conferred upon mayors by sections eighteen and nineteen of chapter thirty-three.
There has been a lengthy discussion on the Lowell Live Feed Facebook site about whether it was proper or political posturing for Mayor Elliot to be front and center at a press conference dealing with the shooting on Midland St.
Like a lot of what happens in “The Bubble”, I guess it depends on your like or dislike for the man.
I can make the case based on Section 100 listed above, that a seemingly random shooting of 5 people qualifies as a “time of public danger” and that Mayor Elliot was justified playing the lead role in the press conference and being quoted in the Sun and Boston Globe as saying ““We will hunt them down and hold them accountable,”.
The fact that 3 other City Councilors were present at the press conference, can imply that he did indeed have the consent of a Council majority to step up and take the lead. He was trying to alleviate fears that some people may have had.
I think he truly wants people to feel safe but also wants to look the part of a strong mayor so as not to panic people or discourage people from attending events in Lowell. It is a tightrope to not come across has a political opportunist.
Until I looked at the Charter and section 100 I assumed he was grandstanding and showboating. Now I’m willing to give him the benefit of doubt, that he was responding in a positive way allowed by the Charter to try and minimize the damage to Lowell’s reputation.
True it is usually not the Mayor who has the lead but after the antics of the last Mayor, many people are happy this Mayor seems to be a leader who is in control.
I believe many of these present Councilors much like the Mayor, ran a campaign based on public safety and that the random shooting of 5 people at a barbecue certainly isn’t the headlines these councilors want. Especially when you also campaigned on Economic development and this type of negative publicity hurts the city badly.
Those that oppose the behavior of Mayor Elliot when he was Councilor Elliot and the biggest disrespectful self serving / self promoting Councilor in the history of the City the past few years will accuse him of
Grandstanding and distorting the publics understanding of the form of govt
Will say A shooting isn’t an emergency…and where’s the declaration?
Will talk about our weak mayor trying to look in charge.
Will say Elliott has pandered and fear mongered himself into a box. Having spent months bashing Lynch over public safety issues, Elliott is trapped. He has to look responsive or be exposed for the fraud that he is.
They will even say it is because the shooting was in the Highlands that a Press Conference was held. If it happened in Centraville or the Acre it would not have taken place.
On the last item especially, I disagree. Anytime people are shot, there is a press conference, especially when it is multiple people. regardless of where the shooting takes place.
In the past Councilor Elliot has done more to stir up negativity than Ted Panos can accuse anyone else of doing. (only then Ted never complained about those attacks on Lynch).
On this occasion and under these circumstances, I am willing to give the Mayor props for the manner in which he has acted and re-acted along with the Manager and Police Chief. He tried to put the best spin on for the sake of Lowell’s reputation and try to bring some positives to a terrible negative that happened in the city.
Hopefully we will never have to see another press conference dealing with shootings of multiple
or even one person for a very long time.