Sunday Notes – December 11th 2016

Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in!

I tried to stay away but what I see coming up over the next year I feel needs to be discussed. At least on Sunday so Sunday notes are back.


Mayors revenge costly to taxpayers

The Sun Political Column points out that the Mayor may call a Special Meeting to give the Supt. of Schools a 3 year contract with a 2.5% salary increase built-in. He tries to justify it be saying he believes it will lead to School Department stability, better performing schools and higher property values.

He said more schools are moving toward Level 1, and more recently Khelfaoui delivered a strategic plan.

What he has ignored is the fiscal ineptness, not understanding Mass Law on Circuit breaker money and having to postpone budget hearings and only televising one budget meeting live after a School committee meeting or manipulating the budget charging $80,000 of the Supt. salary to food service only so the School Dept could make a cash grab to avoid returning Free Cash to the City side of the budget. An accounting nightmare that resulted in two months of unraveling that has contributed to the delay in the Certification of Free Cash since it had to be fixed before end of year reports could be submitted to the state DOR.

I expect the Supt and his Administration will be forced by outside auditors to remove any of his salary being charged against the food service account and that an audit will point out the shoddy practices we saw at the end of the last fiscal year by the School Dept.

What Kennedy is really doing according to many in the political bubble is extracting revenge against City Manager Murphy and Councilor Elliott for not supporting Kennedy for Mayor has promised when Kennedy supported Murphy for Manager.

Kennedy was furious! Remember in his inauguration speech he singled out Bill Samaras, Dan Rourke, Jim Milinazzo and John Leahy for qualities they have brought to the Council of the last term and then lumped Mercier, Elliott and Belanger together and thank them for also contributing.

He won’t support a contract for the Manager but now wants one for a Supt. who doesn’t get along with the Manager and refuses to work with the Administration.

Kennedy hates the fact Elliott is still adored by the Cambodian Community and that people say compared to Elliott, Kennedy hasn’t been the leader Rodney was nor has he been out in the community the way Elliott was. The fact Elliot got the Supt. to AGREE to work without a contract only make giving him one sweeter for Kennedy.

Giving a contract before the new budget season were even a person like myself that has a minimal understanding of municipal finances can see budget cuts and layoffs ahead based on the financial situation of the State is just another slap against Kennedy’s critics and political foes.

In my view Ed Kennedy has brought back old time get even politics and the next year which will be tough financially will only get worse with shenanigans like this. He is fostering an us against them mentality that will pit city versus schools and that shouldn’t be allowed to happen but the actions of the Mayor seem to be heading the city in that direction.

Step up or Step Out !

It appears that at least Mayor Kennedy and Councilor Belanger are getting scared about the cost involved of a new or new/renovated High School and after supporting it up until now want to do a survey in the form of a non-binding referendum to gauge the public feelings.

Something that if really needed should have been done at the beginning of the project not at the stage where a presentation of the choices suggested by the MSBA is due in May. On top of that what the heck are you going to ask?

Do you support spending a yet unknown about of money to build and renovate , to build new or to just renovate LHS
A) where it is now. B) at Cawley Stadium. C) in Pawtucketville

That’s a clear question and making it non binding protects them if the vote is close one way or another because the could do whatever they wanted knowing the community has different opinions on where it should go.

Why other than to gauge the political winds with your reelection coming up is there a need to now ask for a referendum? Especially when nothing is set and no final options have been presented?

Never mind that for every delay you are opening yourself up for cost increases. It is time to either step up and follow through on the support to bring a better High School to Lowell or step out and let someone with a stronger backbone have the seat.

Lowell has an opportunity to get 74% – 80% reimbursement from the State for this project. Any attempt to stall or not continue this threatens the amount of reimbursement and only adds more cost. The MSBA won’t continue forever and won’t be funded this way forever based on the current fiscal situation in the state. This isn’t the time for politicians to panic and want to protect their seat over doing what is right for the future of Lowell.

In Dracut in 2009 political payback and fighting cost the town over three million dollars in State funding to build elderly housing. To this day they have yet to be able to build and cannot get State money to help them.

Lowell and political bias real or imagined can’t play any role to delay the opportunity to build or renovate this School. The City can’t afford to pay $60000-$90,000 to take a survey of 12,000-15,000 people in a city of over 130,000 to test the political wind.

It will be very tough to explain that in 2018 programs will have to be cut, layoffs will be required in the school district, taxes will need to rise at least 3% – 4% over the next two to three years to cover the city’s portion of a better/newer LHS but these things have to take place and we need elected officials who are willing to stand up and defend this and can stand the daily radio attacks to do what is right for Lowell’s future and not halfway through the process wilt and ask for a non binding referendum to gauge their political situation.


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.

Leave a comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: