Sunday Notes April 3rd 2016


“That white girl has no capacity to live with diverse people . . . she’s prejudiced.”

On Thursday March 31st 2016 Cambodian Government official Phay Siphan made an insulting, sexist, racist, petty, and undiplomatic remark towards Lowell City Councillor Rita Mercier. Ed Shoemaker started a petition asking Congresswoman Tsongas and others to demand an apology, he now has 43 supporters. If you’re interested in signing click on the link.

State Rep Rady Mom didn’t do himself any favors within his community by not showing up on Tuesday and neither did Cheth Khim. Cheth missed debates when he ran for council and regardless of the reason people do not forget when you don’t show up at important events like the rally on Tuesday.

Paul Ratha Yem could be a big winner here. The community is looking for a new candidate and Paul is welled liked and could be a serious challenger if he decides to submit papers. Dave Oullette was at the meeting and is working with many in the community. If Paul doesn’t get into the race Dave could get a lot of support.

I reached out to Rep. Mom late Saturday (around 7:00 pm) for his thoughts on the statement about Councilor Mercier and whether he regrets not at least showing up on Tuesday to support the community he proudly proclaims to be the first Mass elected state official from but he hadn’t had the chance to respond. If and when he does I will publish his response and invite him in to WCAP Saturday Morning Live next week to let people hear directly from him.

the school department should “learn to live within its means, just like we do.”

What might have been missed at this past week’s Council meeting was the statement above from the City Manager when asked by Councilor Leary about the size of the school department deficit. Murphy says the amount proposed for the school department is $1 mil more than is required to provide to the schools yet on his monthly WCAP appearance Supt. Khelfaoui indicated that the million is what the state mandates because they are increasing their funding by $3 million.

The message from the Manager has been clear, here is what the City can afford, don’t come looking for more.

New Police and DPW Facilities?

In this week’s Council Packet is a presentation outlining the feasibility of BOTH a new Police Headquarters and a DPW facility in South Lowell off Tanner St (in that area) The estimated cost of the Police Headquarters is $55,481,098 and isn’t by any means an extravagant design.

The DPW facility is projected to cost $41,884,336 and includes DPW & Fleet Maintenance , Parks, Electrical ,Streets and Admin offices along with a Salt shed and materials / recycling areas.

It will be an interesting presentation from the Manager explaining how and if the City could afford this but if possible the revitalization of the entrance way to Lowell from the Connector through the Thorndike street area would be spectacular.

Contracts Settled!

The Manager has votes to approve MOU for 4 of the 15 Unions he negotiates with. In the packet he outlines what he refers to has consolidated agreements with all unions. Basically it means no one Union will get more than another and if they do the contract can be re-opened.

The 4 MOU give a ZERO % increase in this the 2016 fiscal year and a 3% increase in 2017 and 2018. The four unions are the Police Patrolman and Superior Officers, the City Engineer’s and AFSCME 2532 (MIS and Nurses among others)

The Manager notes these agreements include no other step increases , allowances or any incentives.

Attending the 3rd District Day in Washington

Two items on the School Committee Agenda to allow both the Supt. and School Committee member attend Congresswoman Tsongas’s “District Day” where she host elected and invited members from her district to go to Washington and meet with various people to share their concerns and needs for their communities. I was honored to receive an invitation but due to work and family obligations I’m not able to attend.

Superintendent Khelfaoui respectfully requests permission to attend the Annual Third District Day to be held in Washington, D.C. from Wednesday, April 13 through Thursday, April 14, 2016. The cost of the trip is approximately $1,500 and will be paid by the District’s Professional Developing funds.

23. 2016 / 141 Superintendent Khelfaoui respectfully requests permission for School Committee member Robert Gignac, to attend the Annual Third District Day to be held in Washington, D.C. from Wednesday, April 13 through
Thursday, April 14, 2016. The cost of the trip is approximately $1,500 and will be paid by the School Committee expense account.

Listening to the Bear George Z

Apparently fellow class of 1980 member Steve Gendron listens to the Bear like I do. He has this motion on the School Committee Agenda: [by Steve Gendron]: Request the Superintendent contact the Franco American School about the possibility of acquiring their building for use by Lowell Public Schools.


Published by Lowell School Committeeman Gerry Nutter

I've been interested in Schools since I worked at the Greater Lowell Tech and substitute taught in Dracut. I've followed the finances and issues with the Lowell School for the past 8 years while blogging and contributing to Saturday Morning Live! Currently serving my 1st term.

Join the Conversation


  1. Someone needs to remind the School Department that they just got raises for their employees , while the rest of the city will probably get a lot less. This is not the first time this has happened – but it should be the last. The City Manager is correct, the S D does need to learn within it’s means.
    I am all in favor of a new police headquarters. The one on JFK Plaza is a disgrace and was outdated a long time. The same for the DPW. Putting all their different locations into one is much more efficient and probably cheaper in the long run.

  2. The school department has received so many students with severe needs that it really is not fair to hold that cost against our employees raises. Some of the lucrative raises of the School Admin. were actually negotiated by the manager himself. We all know that when one group gets a certain raise then they all expect it. There is also no way prisoners should get funding before students.

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