In this week’s Council Packet we find out from the Auditor that the City Council missed taking a vote by July 15 to cover the cost of the over-run to the snow and Ice removal for 2014. The Auditor interestingly writes “We” when explaining why the error occurred.
In the past, Auditor Cheryl Wright was criticized for being to close to Manager Lynch, yet this Auditor writes a letter to her bosses using the we like she is representing the Administration.
The last time this Administration missed a Financial responsibility they blamed the former treasurer, who will they blame this time? The State or MEME for not approving reimbursement until August? It is a small easily correctable incident but again in my mind, shows the Municipal Finances inexperience of this Administration.
In the next few weeks we should see a motion to allocate the funds to clear that deficit and to see if the Council will vote to abandon Ch. 17 and not have to repay what was used last year and not have a safety net for reserves. I’m hoping they do the right and fiscal prudent thing and make the Manager keep this safety net.
If they do not and vote to eliminate it, they are supplying a great focal point of Financial Responsibility for the Upcoming Council Race. History shows what happens when a State Rep or former Politician becomes Manager. In 1992, Lowell lost control of its budget to the state finance commission due to its unstable financial condition. It regained control in 1995 and has had Chapt. 17 in place since. Even when Manager COX was draining reserves Lowell had that 4.5 Million dollars that saved us from another period of State Control
This week’s Council Agenda is loaded with follow up reports, many involving the Lowell Police.
A) Police Supt. Taylor doesn’t appear to be in favor of allowing officers to take cruisers home, citing many potential issues.
B) The McDonough Report (how come Lowell has so many Police Vehicles) is updated to show Lowell has 125 “Police Vehicles” NOT including 8 motorcycles, a boat, a trailer and 3 message boards. The Supt. explains how that number will be reduced.
C) There is a Report on the Matrix Study Group and their recommendations on the entire Dept. and some suggestions and the status of those.
D) Good news about a new Centralville Police sub-station that will also house the Crime Analysis Unit, Volunteer Coordinator and Sector Captain and Lt. The building is brand new and the Council will need to approve a transfer to do this but it should be a boon for the police and the Centralville community.
E) While the Supt. would like more officers, he seems to want to do this in increments rather than the grandstanding politically motivated way of Mayor Elliott (MY wording NOT the SUPT’s)
There is a response to a COUNCIL MOTION OF 10/15/13 by C. Leahy/ C. Kennedy – Req. City Mgr. provide a quarterly report to Council on motion responses that shows During Quarter 2, there were 73 Motions as well as 48 Responses. The Average Response Time was 19 days per motion. For Quarter 3, there were 38 Motions and 38 Responses with an
Average Response Time of 24 days. It is worth noting that all of Quarter 3 coincided with summer scheduling which contributed to the slight increase in response time.
City Solicitor Chris O’Connor has a response to Mayor Elliott and Kristen Ross Sitawich motions to change the way replacement Committee members are selected or appointed to the Greater Lowell Tech. Basically it says things will stay the same unless we get 10% of registered voters to sign a petition, the Council request and gets 2/3 of the Tech School Committee to approve and then get the other 3 towns to agree, nothing will change because this was written into the charter when the school was created and all communities follow the same guidelines.
The Agenda contains a report on the Snow and Ice removal plans for the City and the downtown titled Winter Operations Program.
It also has a request to over-spend the Snow -Ice account in 2015 which has to be done each year I believe.
Since Council Election season is upcoming this one makes sense to see what areas of the City turn out and what areas Councilors should work on: C. Rourke – Req. City Mgr. review voting locations across the City and how they performed during the last election season.
I forget that Bill Martin is a Lawyer sometimes until he files a motion like this and reminds me: C. Martin – Req. City Mgr. have the police department report on the protocols for cruisers responding to calls without sirens and the number of accidents involving cruisers responding to calls when sirens were not activated.
In the land of Lowell Politics, more bubble fodder….The hottest rumor goes like this, Dave Nangle becomes the Deputy Secretary of Transportation in the Baker Administration for the next 2-3 years giving him the background to become the next LRTA Executive Director. Bill Martin runs and get’s elected to replace Nangle, resigns from the Council and Marty Lorrey gets to run as an incumbent.
Isn’t Dave Conway just Bill Samaras lite? Both retired School Administrators (Samaras was Conway’s boss) with limited financial, Economic Development or public safety expertise and mostly sharing the same background. Why would we need two? Does Conway’s announcement indicate perhaps his former boss has told him he isn’t running as some have suggested?
With the growth of Mill City Grows, a new baby and a busy workload, the buzz is Derek Mitchell will not be running for Council. It also wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Mike Gallagher to run. He’s got a great business, is a major fundraiser for candidates and has been involved on both sides in several city cases. An ideal candidate who would be IMHO a great Councilor and a huge plus for the City but he’s smart enough to know being a Councilor isn’t good for business.
Is there a better chance of Ted Panos running now that there is an open seat? I don’t think it matters. He’s got more say behind the mic at WCAP then he would behind a mic at city hall. Fred Bahou may consider running since he has thought about it in the past but after just finishing a State Rep race he may want a break (in his case brake may be more accurate). Allison Lareba showed up to slap the Council earlier this year then disappeared. Rumors say she isn’t interested in running.
With the lack of any real Economic Development in the city, I’m thinking John MacDonald has a solid background and understanding of how to get something done so he would bring a lot to the Council. (someone check on Mitchell, I may have just sickened him). Say what you want about JMAC but I think we’re be better off with him and his expertise in this field on the council than a Conway, Samaras or if the whispers are true another round of BUD!
I don’t believe Steve Gendron is going to run for Council or that his seeking to extend Jean Franco is somehow “protecting” or “Paving the way” for Jay Lang. I belive he supports Jean Franco and wants her to stay another year.
Jay Lang is a bright guy who clearly got the message during the last Supt. search that he doesn’t have the votes to get past the first round let alone the support of Conway, KRS or Kim Scott to be the Lowell Supt. If he wants to reach that position he’ll have to leave Lowell to take the position somewhere else.
Maybe Gendons motion is as simple has why let Conway, KRS or Jim Leary have a say in selecting a Supt. when they may bail to run for Council? Before any vote is taken committee members should state their intentions publicly. I think Dave Conway should recuse himself from any vote on a Supt. since he’s already announced he is leaving. My guess is his ego won’t let him and he’ll insist on voting.
Could Lowell’s own Mary Burns be up for either a job in the Baker State House or a LHA appointment? She’s been a tireless worker for him. Speculation is that KRS will be replaced on the LHA by Baker when her term is up and that isn’t good news for Gary Wallace.
Wanna bet that Brian Bond gets a quick hook from the Dracut Housing Authority? George Anthes of the McLaughlin Group won’t have to whine and wonder who did this? Cathy Richardson was a huge Baker supporter and payback is overdue and will come quickly.