Sunday Notes July 27th 2014

That was Then….This is NOW! or Everything Old is New Again

Murph

Former Sen. Phil Shea can stop by City Hall and see a lot of his former staff – Mayor Elliott, Manager Murphy, DPD Deputy Kevin Coughlin…..Well there is a ” Friends of Kevin Network and we are apparently seeing it in action.(Not exactly the same one)

Personally I think the Manager has done a terrible job rolling out his team, he hasn’t released salaries when making these appointments (Today’s SUN says Coughlin/McGovern will both make $87,000) and hasn’t said what is happening to Henri Marchand and hasn’t explained what the exact responsibilities McGovern/Coughlin have. It is clear he wanted both Mike McGovern and Kevin Coughlin on his team.

In Today’s Sun Column,Murphy admits he did not actively search for any others to fill those two roles, as both positions were posted for a short time period and Murphy did not conduct any interviews. Murphy said it would have been “a charade” to conduct interviews, but he posted the positions to comply with city requirements. The Sun says about Coughlin the new DPD Deputy “There is not much urban planning and development experience there.”

The bottom line is, this is HIS team and now we have to give him/them some time and see what they can accomplish. Connor Baldwin is very talented, Mike McGovern is a team player and hard worker and Kevin Coughlin has many years of business knowledge working in the area, so while not having the experience of the previous administration, lets give them some time before we predict doom and gloom or complain about them. I have no issues with the people hired, just with the lack of transparency and the way the Manager has handled forming and announcing his team. Let’s hope that’s the biggest complaint we have about this Manager.

(Old Chinese Proverb.)
Is it better to keep your mouth shut and seem a fool, or to open your mouth and remove all doubt?

This past Tuesday Councilor Belanger while supporting a motion made by Mayor Elliot said some things that have those in the political bubble buzzing. Dick Howe even posted the transcript on his website, you can read it here. Part of what the councilor said that seemed to rankle a few people is this:

“But we got a problem that’s serious and it’s going to get far worse, of refugees, undocumented or illegal aliens, which ever term you choose to use, are pegged for Lowell. We are on that list. Many of which are unskilled and uneducated. And they’re on their way.” – C.Belanger

Look we all know that Councilor Belanger is no wordsmith and often he speaks without first getting any true facts, background information or intelligently. At times you swear he talks just to hear himself speak (tutored by Uncle Bud in that regard) but in this case, while his wording may not have been the most articulate, his meaning was pretty clear and many people including myself agree with the point he was trying to make.

I sum up what he was trying to say this way:

The working class families in this city cannot afford to keep paying higher and higher taxes, state, federal or municipal and everyone from the President, Congress, the Governor right down to local officials have to figure out a way to STOP ILLEGAL Immigration and ensure that those who were born here and have worked hard to go through the correct process to get here, have what they deserve and need to get an education and to thrive in this country!

There is nothing wrong with his NOT wanting the residents/taxpayers of Lowell from having to pay for UNDOCUMENTED / ILLEGAL people to receive services paid for by those that came here legally or were born here , while services or programs get cut because of budget constraints to attend to these non-legal residents.

Lord knows I beat this Councilor up for many reasons , but on this particular issue, I say cut him some slack. He may sound like Norm Crosby but on this point he and his intentions were well intended if not well presented.

Keystone Cops/Home is were the Checks get Mailed!

I am watching with interest the chaos in the Lowell Police Department in regards to the promotional exam and promotions in general. In case you missed it, the SUN had this story Friday:

A police sergeant has obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the city from promoting to lieutenant a sergeant who lives in New Hampshire.

On Tuesday, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kenneth Desmond issued the order in response to Sgt. Steven O’Neill’s request that the city and Lowell Police Superintendent William Taylor be prevented from promoting Sgt. Donald Crawford to lieutenant.

Desmond found that O’Neill, who alleged Crawford does not comply with the local and state requirements that he live in Massachusetts, had shown a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of his request and could suffer irreparable harm if the requested relief was not granted.

A hearing on a preliminary injunction prohibiting Crawford’s promotion for a longer time period was scheduled to be heard Tuesday in Lowell Superior Court.

Just last week, I had written: The subject of a residency requirement pops up from time to time and interestingly enough, while not mandating living in the City, there is a City requirement to live in the State.

A) All officers and employees of the City now in the employ of or hereafter to be employed by the City are hereby required as a condition of the continued employment to have their place of domicile within the commonwealth and to be bona fide residents therein, except as otherwise provided by this article. A bona fide resident, for the purpose of this section, is a person having a permanent domicile within the commonwealth and one which has not been adopted with the intention of again taking up or claiming a previous residence acquired outside of the commonwealth.

B. All officers and employees hereinafter employed by the City shall become bona fide residents of the commonwealth within six months from the dates of their appointment or employment by the City.

C. All officers and employees, once their residence in the commonwealth is established, shall be required to maintain such residence during their employment. Failure to do so shall be determined to be a voluntary termination of employment.

IF a judge rules that this is enforceable, I would expect a City Council and a School Committee member to get a full list of city employees who live outside of MA. Why have an ordinance if you aren’t going to enforce it?

Q: What’s the difference between a good lawyer and a bad lawyer?
A: A bad lawyer can let a case drag out for several years. A good lawyer can make it last even longer.

This has NOT been a good week for the City’s Law Dept. They look inept and to some degree incompetent. First the issue with the License Commission and Finns/Brian Ivy Hall. Go back and watch the meeting, the two Asst. Solicitors appear to me to be coaxing, prodding, pushing for the License Commission to take away the Licenses and when the Chair ask if there was any Legal reason this could not be done, Mutt and Jeff (the Asst. Solicitors) say NO!

Very telling that Ray Weicker a former member of the License Commission and lawyer for Kevin Hayhurst apparently knows Mass State Law better than these two! Mr. Weicker made a point at the License Commission that I’m sure we are all going to hear more about in the coming weeks that again make the City Law dept. look like a bunch of bumbling fools.

According to him, the City – NOT THE LICENSE COMMISSION made a “deal” with him and his client that Mr. Hayhurt would resign and sell his interest in both businesses ASAP and drop the Injunction against the city in exchange for all the License Challenges / Charges against both establishments being dropped.

If this turns out to be correct, it would appear these two Asst. Solicitors then tried to backdoor the deal by finding the loophole about the Dissolution/ Dissolvement of the Corporation and tried to shut them down anyway and in the process violate their rights and make the License Commission look bad.

Then you hear about documents that have white out on them being presented in the hearing of a Lowell Police Superior Officer who is fighting for his job and you reflect upon the high cost the city has incurred in legal fights (that they have lost over the past few years) it hasn’t been a good few weeks for them.

Finally they release the news that 11 of 20 voting locations are being changed at 3:00 on a Friday when no one is paying attention and only a few bloggers even bother to mention it. To be clear 11 DID NOT HAVE TO CHANGE TO MEET STATE LAWS, only those precincts at the VFW, PAV and Elks had to move. The others were the decision of the Election Office Manager and the Commissioners and I’m not convinced the moves make it any easier for voters or parking.

Time for Councilors to show Support

State Rep Tom Golden mentioned that he and others would like to see a Regional Lock-Up included in plans for the new Courthouse. The Corrections Dept. would staff it and it would help to elevate cities and towns from having to house/transport/monitor those waiting arraignment. Several Councilors have been pushing the public safety button and waving the we need enforcement flag for the gun law. Let’s see if they stand behind the State Rep. and support this. In light of the tragedy that is playing out with the death of a women in custody here in Lowell, you would hope this Council would support the effort to open a regional lock up in a new courthouse.

Support Local Theater:

CHICAGO presented by the Greater Lowell Music Theatre performances on Friday, Aug. 1, at 7.30 pm; Saturday, Aug 2, at 7.30 pm; and Sunday, Aug 3, at 2 pm in Durgin Concert Hall at UMass Lowell, 35 Wilder Street. Parking available in the lot at Wilder and Broadway on the University’s South Campus. For tickets and other details, visit www.glmt.org

Stop! then Shop anywhere but Market Basket
I’m the 4th oldest of 11 and we lived close to the Bridge St. Market Basket. I’ve been a customer for 40 years and have NEVER seen the parking lot has empty as I did Saturday. Not even during the days following the blizzard of 78. I shopped at Hannaford in Dracut today for my complete order. Not the I want to choose a side in the family fight but to support the staff of the store, many including Manager Andy Haggerty and others have been there for a long time. I stopped by Market Basket to support the workers but didn’t go in to shop there.

I also didn’t realize the effect this was having on other grocery stores like Hannaford. I was speaking to an associate there who was asked to work in the Dracut store for a few weeks. He came from one of the New York stores. This Dracut store has been so busy, that they needed reinforcements to give their staff a break.

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One thought on “Sunday Notes July 27th 2014

  1. Averell

    A multitude issues are presented here – I would lime to comment on a few. The Manager- I am taking a wait and see attitude. was left a plateful of trouble and it all needs time to be sorted out.
    I totally agree with what Councilor Belanger had to to say however poorly presented it may have been. We have many people born here who could that money to help them.
    The police situation – so much to say – in a nutshell, the rules/ordinance/law says they need to live in Massachusetts and within 10 miles of Lowell. I say if they want my taxpayer dollars, they need to comply. The whiteout issue appears to be someone trying to cover up not giving out the needed information. training. Who and why. Was it before of more likely, after the fact?

    Reply

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