1) The conclusion to the Water Department Investigation – Can you take scrap metal if there isn’t a policy saying you can’t? Was this past practice in that (and other) City Depts. and in place up until 2010 /2011? Can Mr. Lahiff stay on as dept. head and should he? All these will be answered in the first quarter of 2013
2) A Contract extension for the City Manager – With 1% tax increase last year and 0% this year will a move be made before this budget season to extend the City Manager’s contract? Will his contract be an election year issue? We know he isn’t Cambridge bound.
3) Does Superintendent Mary Jo Santoro get a new contract and does she want one? She is only the 2nd female Superintendent of that school and the first of any superintendent to get a major renovation project passed. However the constant bickering and fighting with a couple of the Lowell School Committee members and her recent comment that “I don’t work for the School Committee,” puts into serious question if she should or would ask for a new contract.
4) A new Dracut Town Manager Search and Selection – Dennis Piendak is set to retire in November so a search and how it is conducted will be monitored closely has will the final selection.
5) A New Tyngsboro Police Chief – Today’s Sun has a story on Deputy Police Chief Richard Bur-rows resigning to go to Acton and a recent health issue suffered by Chief William Mulli¬gan has many speculating that he will be retiring soon. Possible replacements – Tyngsboro’s own Christopher C. Chronopoulos , Lowell Officer and former Tyngsboro Tech School Committee member Steve O’Neil and Lowell Police Lieutenant Timothy Crowley who got his start in Tyngsboro.
6) The Lowell Licensing Board / Downtown Issues – At least 1 new member will be appointed in January and then the question is what if any of the regulation suggestions submitted by the City Council /Administration will be enacted? Does the board get expanded to 5 members?
7) The 2013 City Elections – Every sitting Council member is expected to run, same for the School Committee. Who will be the opposition and what will the main issue of both races be? Will Jim Milinazzo, Jackie Doherty and / or Allison Laraba attempt a comeback?
8) Do we Change the form of Elected Government in Lowell? – John MacDonald has kept this issue alive since the end of the last election. Ray Weicker who was removed from the License Board by the Manager has chimed in with his support and last Friday on City Life Councilor Rodney Elliot favored the idea of a strong Mayor. Will they try to get a binding or non binding referendum on the ballot or is this all a verily thin anti-Bernie Lynch campaign?
9) Lowell High and the City’s Master Plan update – Lowell School Committeeman Jim Leary is leading the charge to get Lowell High School looked at and included in the city’s Master Plan. The Plan is open for review coming up in early 2013 and the renovations and upgrades are essential if Lowell is truly committed to quality education.
10) The Political Climate of Lowell – The turnout in this city’s election will be telling. While many object to my ‘old Lowell’ versus “new Lowell’ comparison this year’s election will be very telling. If as many predict Mayor Murphy and Vesna Nuon are in the top 4 and the turnout in the heavily populated immigrant wards are high then we have reached a turning point in the city and in the political circle. They are the new leaders in Lowell politics and will bring along those who believe and support their direction.