I was 25 when “Oldies 103.3″ went on the air in 1987. I grew up with a love for all types of music but I’ve always loved the music of the 50′s and 60′s.
Songs that were stories and singers like Frank Sinatra, Buddy Holley, The Big Bopper, Patsy Cline, Bobby Vinton, The Everly Brothers,Elvis, the Beatles, Peter,Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkel, Diane Ross and the Supremes, Janis Joplin, Mama’s and Papa’s , Frankie Valli ,etc.
Over the years they switched it up and 50′s and 60′s became 70′s and 80′s (music I grew up with are now the oldies) but it was still classic with Pat Benatar, Donna Summer, Aerosmith, the Bee Gee’s and such.
Barry Scott and the Lost 45′s – Seasons in the Sun, My Name is Michael, My Sharona, Lovin’ You
took the place of Little Walter’s Sunday Night Time Machine – Sink the Bismark, Battle of New Orleans,Monster Mash, Little Nash Rambler, etc. songs that were fun and told stories.
WODS also had the classic Boston voices – Dale Dorman, Karen Blake, JJ Wright, Paula Street, Paul Perry, Pete Falconi, Barry Scott and the Lost 45′s.
But times are changing and so is radio. The 50 and over crowd isn’t the demo advertisers want and so this older music is being replaced by AMP 103.3 a Top 40 station.
Has Bob Dylan Sang “The Times they are a changing” GoodBye to “Oldies 103.3″
Did Politics play a Part in Auditor NOT Auditing?
If you follow these bread crumbs, you have to wonder if the City Council played politics and chose to ignore Councilor Elliot’s wish for an Audit last year.
When he asked first in Sept.it was “referred to the Auditor” Then in November AFTER the election, they sent the Auditor’s report to the Finance Sub-Committee which apparently failed to meet or act in December or in January when it came back stacked with the Pro- Manager Councilors.
Was this done as a slap against Councilor Elliot? Was it done to show support of the Manager/Auditor?
In hindsight, the question is at least worth discussing.
1) Concerned about the theft in the Clerk’s office and wanting to ensure processes were in place to limit the possibility Councilor Elliot filed this motion on September 27 2011
BY C. ELLIOIT, seconded by C. Mercier
“Request the City Auditor direct independent auditor firm to audit all departments that accept cash”. In Council, Read and referred to the City Auditor. So Voted.
2) It took the Auditor 7 weeks to respond and it wasn’t addressed again until the November 22nd Council meeting and at that time her response (see pdf. Attached) included (Bold Mine)
I will be more than happy to proceed with this if this is what the Council desires, but considering that our new policy is to have each department turn over revenue immediately to the Treasurer’s office when the Department has collected $250 in cash or $500 in checks, those amounts alone are our exposure. I question the cost verses the return for such a contract. I should think the new procedures should be enough to limit our risk……Powers and Sullivan already review milk and lunch completely and one of the Student Activity Accounts, so if we have them do for example the other Student Activities Account and the entire Parking operation one year, we will have covered over 75% of any “cash” received in that year.
3) In His Cover Letter to the Council (because this was addressed under Manager’s Response to Council Motions) the City Manager in part stated:
New procedures have been implemented to address any exposure. In addition, the Auditor reviews all Department and quarterly reports on a regular basis.. Currently, Powers and Sullivan conduct a review of the Milk, Lunch and Student Activities Account and the Parking Operation.
Wait a second here he states in a letter on Nov. 18th for the 22nd meeting that Powers and Sullivan ALREADY conduct quarterly reviews yet the Auditors letter dated Nov. 17th says
“so if we have them do for example the other Student Activities Account and the entire Parking operation one year, we will have covered over 75% of any “cash” received in that year.
So which is it? Do they or don’t they? Do they do the Milk, Lunch and Student Activities Account and the Parking Operation yearly?
Apparently they don’t do it quarterly because if my math is correct December would have ended a quarter and March would have ended a quarter (based on the Fiscal year starting July 1) so why wasn’t the fact that the Parking Dept. and Supervising were not matching the ‘Software’ readouts from the Kiosk discovered then if we had in fact been already doing it has the Manager stated? or started doing it has the Auditor suggested?
Was the whole thing ignored because of the Councilor who asked for it?
4) Anyway back to the Council meeting the minutes reflect that instead of going with the requested audit suggested by Councilor Elliot, the members sent it to the Finance Sub- Committee and placed on file:
Councilors’ then discussed the communication from the City Auditor regarding having an audit performed on the departments that accept cash. Motion to send report from the City Auditor regarding having a 3rd party come in and do an audit on the departments that receive cash to the Finance Sub/ Committee by C. Mendonca, seconded by C. Broderick. Motion by C. Mercier. seconded by C. Martin. to accept the communication and place it on file. So Voted .
This meeting was held after a grueling election where Councilor Elliot campaigned by saying he was the ONLY councilor who voted to not raise taxes and campaigned as the anti-Manager candidate and scored a high finished with a low turnout.
Had any of the Councilors including Elliot picked up the discrepancy between the Manager and the Auditor regarding Powers and Sullivan and asked it to be explained or clarified or if the Finance
subcommittee had met in December and acted on this motion then maybe the theft would have been discovered sooner. What happened in January? Did that subcommittee address this issue at all?
I have to wonder if the Councilors had reached a point where they were so unhappy with Councilor Elliot and his campaign style that they just would not support or listen to him any longer and because of the politics of the time they just sent the Audit request to die in committee and the city ended up suffering a theft.
A Couple of observations from last nights meeting:
1) Councilor Elliot was level headed and did not grandstand and is correct in reminding the Auditor she should report to them not the Manager.
2) IF the Kiosk contain a ‘Vault” that this employee was NOT supposed to have a key for, how and why did he have one? If he didn’t have one, how could he get at the cash? Is the money actually from the coin operated meters?
3) How can the Auditor state that “$250 in cash or $500 in checks, those amounts alone are our exposure according to the new processes put in place and yet an employee was able to steal almost $40,000.
4) What will be put in place to ensure that the Parking Supervisor or his designee isn’t the only people seeing this software printout?
5) The Mayor isn’t going to be happy the Council in his absence created a sub-committee he had wiped out
6) In case you are wondering the Council Rules allow that committee to be formed
RULE 37 (Bold again mine)
The City Council shall have such committees as may be established from time to time by the Mayor or a majority of the members. All members shall be notified by the City Clerk of any meeting to be held by a Committee of which they are or are not members.
The creation of the sub-committee doesn’t guarantee that Councilor Elliot, Kennedy or Mercier will get appointed to it.
Congratulations to Mayor Patrick Murphy who is getting married July 6th in Ireland to the lovely Allegra Williams who is a neighborhood planner for the City of Lowell.
Congrats also to WCAP’s Ted Panos who tweeted the information correctly while the Lowell Sun on its breaking news section claimed it was this weekend.
City Life on Comcast Channel 8 from 6 AM until 8 AM (repeated weekday afternoons from 4-6PM)
with John McDonough at the controls George Anthes hosts.
This Week’s Line-Up:
Monday: City Councilor Rodney Elliott and Cliff Krieger
Tuesday: City Councilor Joe Mendonca, and School Committee Woman Connie Martin
Wednesday: School Committeeman Bob Gignac and Tyngsborough’s Linda Bown
Thursday: Regional School Superintendent Mary Jo Santoro, Chelmsford Host and School Committeewoman Evelyn Thoren
Friday: Dracut’s Charlie Braley
Saturday: (repeat of Monday) City Councilor Rodney Elliott and Cliff Krieger
Sunday: (repeat of Tuesday) City Councilor Joe Mendonca, and School Committee Woman Connie Martin
“Parking Gate” isn’t going away anytime soon.
Once the “criminal” investigation is over and more comes out about Mr. Carney and his hiding of information we may all have a better understanding of how and maybe why he did what he did. The Manager can’t or shouldn’t be blamed for a Dept. head cover-up.
The bigger political issue isn’t going to be Bill Martin and his support of the Manager or Mr. Carney. Bill stands by his friend the same way Rita stood by Rick Johnson. He and Mr. Carney go back a lot further than he and the Manager so people should not be surprised he is giving Mr. Carney the benefit of the doubt and questioning the Manager for firing him. Bill supports professional management so he will continue to support Manager Lynch once this episode passes.
I would want Bill Martin to be my friend because like Rita, Pangy and Kevin Murphy, Bill puts politics aside and he stands beside his friends even in tough times. (Unlike Dave Conway and Bud who bailed on a longtime friend when the FBI was around).
The bigger issue will be the Auditor and her relationship with the Council. When the theft in the City Clerk department was exposed and the council was searching for a new Clerk the Sun in an Aug. 2011 Column noted:
The clerk and auditor both work for the council, not the Manager and the some Councilors want to insure that whoever is hired for the full time post isn’t someone close to the Manager. Some feel that the council hired a FOB when they hired Auditor Sheryl Wright who used to work for Lynch in Chelmsford and is known to report back to Lynch any questions councilors ask her or reports they request.
It appears this episode with the Parking Supervisor highlights that exact fact and several councilors are justifiably very upset with that. The Auditor under Plan E works directly for the Council and she should inform them EVERY time before she informs the Manager ANYTIME!
It does appear that this auditor reports more often to the Manager then she does to the Council and I’ve noticed when a councilor ask for a report from the Auditor the Manager usually gets involved somehow. Look at the Manager’s response to the Sun’s article, he is defending the Auditor more so than the Treasurer and the Auditor doesn’t (or isn’t supposed to) work for him. Even Cliff points out in response to the Manager’s Press release “Since this includes the Auditor, shouldn’t this be a joint press release with the Mayor/Vice Mayor?”
The City Council took a beating by myself and the Sun last year for not properly supervising the Clerks Dept and have put quarterly reviews of each of the 3 depts. they oversee onto their agenda. The Auditor had such a session at the end of April on the 24th after she had met with the Treasurer and Mr. Carney, she chose NOT to mention any irregularities or changes that she had suggested and in fact with the treasurer implemented in that dept. to her bosses. This may be enough to if not fire her now, then not to give her a new contract when hers expires.
I’m told by those in the know that Kim Saltmarch leaving WCAP just came up this week and that it is nothing but pure coincidence that Chris Scott in a past Sun Blog hit it correctly and I shouldn’t “Give the Sun or Chris Scott any credit for this.” Sorry but he was correct either by luck or knowledge and deserves the kudos.
Remember sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.
The City Manager needs to stop playing politics. He often says he doesn’t but time and time again we hear from Councilor’s who are seen as being in “opposition” complaining about not being informed 100% on issues. This surfaced again this week with Councilor Kennedy noting he wasn’t informed that the Asst. Parking Clerk was placed on Administrative leave while other more friendly Councilors were notified on Monday.
Councilor Kevin Broderick isn’t doing himself any favors by constantly being the Manager’s biggest defender (next to my friend Jack Mitchell) and was made to look stupid by the SUN when apparently told of Councilor’s Kennedy’s frustration with the Manager’s communication was quoted as saying:
“The difficulty in his position is that he has nine bosses and we are all different, and some of us find certain information of interest and others don’t,”
Really Councilor? You don’t think Councilor Kennedy would have found the fact that the 2nd in command of Parking was placed on leave interesting? Please, it’s great to be supportive but not informing Councilor Kennedy was wrong and inexcusable and you look foolish trying to protect him for not telling his other bosses what he tells you and others.
Condolences to the family and friends of Dave Harrigan who passed away after a long and hard fought battle with leukemia. Dave was a postal carrier for many years and had one of the biggest hearts and smiles. Also to the family of Walter Bennett who was a school custodian for many years.
This Tuesday the Law Offices of Gallagher and Cavanaugh are hosting a fundraiser for Congresswoman Tsongas on their newly remodeled deck at their offices located in the Gaslight Building 22 Shattuck St. here in Lowell. If you haven’t had the chance to see the tremendous renovations and investment they made in restoring this building, you need to stop by and also donate to the Congresswoman’s re-election.
I am 100% convinced that in this day and age being Mayor of Lowell is a detriment not an advantage for anyone having political ambitions or interest in serving another term. Jim Milinazzo lost the last election because of how he appeared on television during the Council and School Committee meetings. You could see his anger, frustration and short temperament many times.
The same is holding true for Mayor Murphy. Often the camera is fixed on him and you can see his facial expressions when dealing with specific councilors/ just look at the budget hearings and notice his expressions. He like Mayor Milinazzo wears his emotions on his face and being on camera more than anyone it shows. The look he gave Councilor Lorrey when he brought back the Police Overtime budget was one of pure anger and disgust. It showed to a point that even my wife who was just walking into the room asked what he looked so angry about.
I hope Mike Lenzi decides to keep the Dracut house, sell the Lowell one and resigns from the Technical School Committee. Mike’s recent health issue should be a warning that he needs to slow down and start spending time with his lovely wife Sandy and family. The Tech. board is nothing but tension with at least 2 members having an agenda to replace the Supt. regardless of the fact the schools testing grades have improved tremendously since she has been in charge and regardless of what she does that improves the school. No Pay, No Insurance, No appreciation for the time and energy spent in service to the students and most of all No Respect from these members who think they are the all knowing ones who are more interested in telling you and other committee members what you are doing wrong instead of working WITH you to make certain everything gets done right.
Life is to short my friend, you and Sandy and your Dad have contributed much time, energy, dollars and service to the community and the aggravation on the Tech. board isn’t worth your health. Thank You for your service but it is time to step away and enjoy your family and grandkids. All you can do is hope that whoever the Lowell School Committee / City Council appoints to fill out the 1 year before the 2013 elections is someone who looks at the real facts and is really about the kids not a predetermined agenda.
LOWELL CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY JUNE 26, 2012
CITY HALL, CITY COUNCIL CHAMBER
TIME 6:30 PM
1. Minutes of City Council Meeting June 12th.
2. EXECUTIVE SESSION – For purpose of discussing the kiosk parking meter theft and the charges of criminal conduct resulting from the theft.
UTILITY PUBLIC HEARINGS (Scheduled for 7PM)
3. Comcast of Southern NE, Inc. – Request placing conduit along Merrimack Street.
4. National Grid and Verizon NE, Inc. – Request pole location on Tenth Street.
5. National Grid – Request to install two (2) poles on Edwards Street.
6. Communication – From City Manager Responses to City Council Motions and Requests.
7. Communication – From City Manager request approval of Out of State Travel (1) LPD
8. Resolution in support of equity and transparency in state energy efficiency programs.
9. Vote-Apply/Accept/Expend Grant ($499,000) to support City’s Receivership Program.
10. Order-60 day trials (various).
11. Vote-ratify MOU MVEA (Wastewater Unit I, Unit II, Unit IIP) for period 7/1/10-6/30/12.
12. Vote-ratify MOU (Local 1705A) for period 7/1/10-6/30/12.
13. Vote-Execute Limited Access Agreement 44-55 Rock St. (Habitat for Community).
14. Vote- transfer ($117,987) to cover invoices for outside counsel
15. Vote-transfer ($184,000) to cover shortfalls in various accounts
16. Vote-transfer ($128,100) to clear up year-end payroll deficits.
17. Vote-Execute License Agreement 5 Whiting St (Community Garden)
REPORTS (Sub/Committee, if any)
18. Rules SC 6-26-12.
19. Pole Location – National Grid request to set new pole at 135 Fourth Avenue.
20. C. Lorrey – Request City Mgr. consider entering into discussions with UML regarding leasing Ayotte Garage to UML during Arena events.
21. C. Lorrey – Request City Mgr. or proper subcommittee consider entering into discussions with UML regarding use of wastewater facilities as a source of energy.
22. C. Lorrey – Request City Mgr. consider placing collection of money from parking kiosks under LPD supervision.
23. C. Lorrey – Request City Mgr. have proper department explore changing the pools at O’Donnell and Avenue C into water recreation parks.
24. C. Lorrey – Request Mayor and/or Vice Chair call special meeting to include Manager, Auditor, and Treasurer regarding steps to be taken to ensure proper recording of cash in the City.
25. C. Kennedy – Request City Mgr. provide City Council with weekly reports of intradepartmental transfers that are above $20,000.00.
26. C. Elliott – Request City Mgr. enforce noise ordinance relative to car/portable stereos.
27. C. Mercier – Request City Mgr. provide a report on what steps will be taken regarding oversight and monitoring of monies in the parking garages, kiosks and in fines.