Lowell SUN 2013
In the last two years, Elliott filed motions to make sure there would be no local tax increases, he noted.
“I do my homework, am prepared for meetings, and I’m not a rubber stamp,” said Elliott. “That’s how I’m going to proceed with my ninth term, if reelected, to continue to make our city government more open and more transparent, reminding everyone our city manager works for us, not the other way around.
Now we will see if Mayor Elliot walks the walk or just talks the talk.
In his letter included in the Budget, Acting CFO Bob Healy (the much adored by many of these Councilors) former City Manager of Cambridge states:
The City Council’s policy to hold taxes to minimal, if any, increases in Fiscal Years 2012-2014, while maintaining service levels despite increasing operating expenses, created a Fiscal Year 2015 budget gap that needed to be bridged.
So what is the self-appointed “Fiscal Watchdog” to do? Follow his political strategy and spit on Mr. Healy and the new Manager for political self-preservation? or support this budget?
The Sun and Mr. Healy clearly show it was the Councils mandate for no tax increase and that Councilor Elliot was one of the most vocal leaders, so does he follow his political image as the “fiscal Watchdog” or does he do an about-face due to his friendship with this Manager who stated at a public event “It’s like my little brother got elected Mayor”.
Regardless of whether he supports Manager Murphy’s Budget or Not, Elliot will find himself in a tough position come the next Election cycle.
If he supports the Manager’s budget, it can be pointed out that he voted against the previous Manager’s budgets and that he’s just supporting his “big brothers” budget. After years of grandstanding as the Fiscal watchdog, he does an about-face and votes for the largest tax increase in 7 years! It will be pointed out, that while he voted against every Union contract that has come before the City Council, he votes to give this City Manager a top of the line salary with ZERO experience has a City Manager and gave him a salary that was more than DOUBLE what he made as a State Rep. while telling a DPW street cleaner that he isn’t worth a 6% raise after serving the city for 20 years.
If he opposes the budget, he can be criticized for grandstanding for the Sun and berating the former Manager for not meeting the Net School Spending and saying we as a city must do all we can. Saying we need more police on the street and yet NOT supporting these goals outlined in this budget. If he suggests eliminating Parks and Recreation programs or cutting services, he gives opponents and taxpayers more items to be critical of, especially when many people count on these services.
Maybe he will just ask for a 5% cut as he did in 2011 when then Councilor Broderick reminded him how ridiculous that was because you can’t cut negotiated contracts, gas, electric or health care cost.
Does he support his Manager? (he did support Cox and Lynch when they first were hired). Does he go on a “witch hunt” and try to change reality by blaming the former Administration for NOT raising taxes? Does he throw several of his Council colleagues who supported pay increases for city workers under the bus and tell the public it’s their fault for approving contracts that the City has to now raise taxes?
It will be interesting to watch how the “Mayor” handles this issue.