Sunday Notes ! Sunday Notes ! Sunday Notes !

I’m BACK..sort of!

I’m not really a Curmudgeon (a bad-tempered person, especially an old one.) I’m more of a practical – No BS tolerated person who likes to opine on Lowell’s events, people and politics. I’ve followed the finances and issues with the City of Lowell and the Lowell School Dept. for many years while blogging and contributing to Saturday Morning Live! After serving 1 term on the School Committee and not actually posting ALL MY THOUGHTS on CURRENT EVENTS! I am back Looking at Lowell and offering my view on the events, people and politics of Lowell.

City needs Financial Help..are Bob Healy, Tom Moses or Barbara Haag available?

I’ve stated (endlessly according to some) that the City is in tough financial shape. The CFO I believe intentionally tried to mislead the public, stating at a public meeting the schools finished with a $855,000 surplus when we finished with under $54,000 and approx. $52,000 of that was in invoices that hadn’t been presented to the school dept. in time. The City side constantly tries to focus attention on imaginary school issues NOT being honest and transparent regarding the city’s financial issues.

Before the Election the CFO presented the Councilor’s with a letter stating that Free Cash for 2019 would be “on par or in excess than it was in 2018”..close to $5,000,000

However the FACT is the State verified it at $2,300,000 LESS than 2018…slightly over $2.5 Million compared to $4.8 Million in 2018!

The city went without an Auditor for months, now we have a CFO who doesn’t know or mis-states the amount of funding left in the School Dept. budget and misses the free cash estimate by MILLIONS? and people think the school finances were a mess??

Do we do ANY Planning?

The city is going to spend another $3,000,000 in rent over the next ten years leasing more downtown property when the District, Juvenile and Superior Courts are all going to be empty within a year, to move more City Employees downtown.
Moving the Health, Human Services and Recreation Department.

Doesn’t DPD do any LONG TERM PLANNING?? Did we learn NOTHING when we let the bank across from LHS go and let a dorm get built where a NEW ANNEX could have gone and not divided the City?

John Leahy for Mayor!

Having a strong Mayor who will back up the Supt. is going to be critical, not just in negotiations but in day to day dealings. In my view the UTL Leadership will be gunning to drive out this Supt.!

John Leahy would be my choice and I believe the choice of a majority of the School Committee for Mayor. I think John would be a great representative for the City. He is very knowledgeable with the school dept., he tries to work with EVERYONE on the council and school committee .

Interesting that according to rumors Dave Conway won’t support John. Conway was a former school committee member like John. John has served longer and is far more active in all neighborhoods of the city and was a far superior school committee member than Conway.

Rumors say Conway is supporting Rodney. I think Rodney was a very good Mayor and represented Lowell very well. I remember when Conway filled in has Rodney’s Administrative Assistant briefly.

In my view John who was shafted by Samaras and Kennedy in 2018 deserves to serve in 2020! Rodney had his turn!

John Drinkwater will be the Key for the Mayoral race. If rumors are true Vesna has Samaras – Rodney has Conway and John has the rest. Drinkwater can end the guessing by supporting Leahy or he can be the broker that gets Rodney or Rita or Vesna the position if he refuses to support John.

Drinkwater has been looked at as playing “all sides” of Lowell politics in the Council race, holding out for Vesna would declare “his side” according to some and that will cause him issues. I like Vesna, he may make a good Mayor but the fact is, some in the Lowell police still resent his lawsuit against the city and unions, at least one, who Drinkwater represents already let us know how they feel about Vesna.

I’d say that at least 2- 3 of the current school committee would oppose the selection of Vesna because A) He’s viewed has someone who would want to make a settlement with former Supt. K because allegedly Vesna “owes” him for something that happened “before Nutter got here” according to one School Committee member and B) Vesna’s previous public support for Charter Schools.

Drinkwater’s political career could be determined by this Mayoral vote!

UTL Leadership will be in opposition not cooperative

The biggest issue that the Supt. faces going forward is that the existing UTL leadership lives by the “We’ve always done it this way” motto and are NOT used to having a Supt. who encourages and welcomes new ideas and changes and who isn’t in their pocket especially one who doesn’t turtle every time a grievance is threatened! That bothers the hell out of them. That’s why they also hated Jay Lang!

The Union Leaderships disdain for the new Supt. started with Paul Georges lobbying for either one of the other 2 candidates not Supt. Boyd and has continued on so much that some of the rank and file have already started to mention to some of us on the SC that Georges is targeting the Supt. and will fight him at every opportunity.

Remember the Union Leadership isn’t worried about the students, it’s about the $$$.

According to teachers at several different schools, the following has already occurred:

One School who was given some of the additional money that allows them to decide how to use it wants to hire a part-time teacher. The Union is fighting it threatening a grievance because although there is no specific language in the contract forbidden part time, there is no specific language allowing it. Think about that…the teachers and staff want a part-time position for the benefit of the students but the Union Leadership opposes it!

Funny how the UTL okay-ed a “Part-Time” position when it’s to their Benefit:

E. Leave for U.T.L. President
After ratification by the Union, the UTL President will be allowed Full-time leave for the remainder of the 2011/2012 school year only with the UTL paying the full cost as in the 2010/2011 school year. However, effective June 30, 2012, the President shall thereafter receive half-time leave with half-time pay and full benefits. Upon returning to a full-time teaching position, the President shall be placed on the salary schedule as if he/she had been a full-time teacher during this leave period and shall be placed in his/her original position or one substantially equal.

Contracts should be handled by Professionals NOT Part-Time ELECTED Officials!

After serving 1 term, being slightly part of contract talks and having to vote on them, I believe part time elected officials should not be handling these critical contracts. Had I been re-elected I would have (and do) propose having Supt. Boyd, the City Solicitor and the City Manager negotiating the next UTL contact !

The thought of that will send shivers down the UTL Leaderships back!

Dr. Jim Hall has moved into a new position and should not be used in contract talks. He has many new and additional duties. Let the City Solicitor take the lead with the Supt. and City Manager ! Let the 3 of them do the face to face bargaining.

Elected Officials who don’t normally deal with contracts and who don’t understand municipal finance should not negotiate contracts. It’s not something they are qualified to do. I would not have wanted to be on that committee and I have more understanding of finance and contracts than anyone else on the existing or incoming committee!

The Manager and Solicitor negotiate many contracts and the Supt. has done so in his previous positions. Paul Georges is a PROFESSIONAL Negotiator NOT EDUCATOR ..he retired from that years ago.

By having this team do the contracts, the Council and media can’t blame the School Committee who have no real experience. Would you let Bob Hoey negotiate after stating publicly many times Teachers deserve $100,000? Even if he has a point , the Committee starts from a point of weakness. Leave contracts to the professionals not Hoey and company!