Sunday Notes June 22nd 2014


Gone but not forgotten. Where was Marty?

When I saw this picture in the Sun this week, I was looking for former Councilor Marty Lorrey who I believe brought up this renovation project while serving as a City Councilor. Marty was the lead councilor on a lot of recreation and summer programs. Apparently he wasn’t invited for this photo op.

When I saw this motion, I also thought of Councilor Lorrey. C. MARTIN-“Request the City Manager have Parks/Recreation Department introduce pickle ball to this year’s summer recreation program”

He wanted a skating rink, snow gun and splash pad, always looking to expand the Recreation programs, I could see him filing this motion instead of Bill Martin.

What a difference a Man / Mayor makes.

Lowell politics is very quiet for the most part. Everyone seems to be playing nice and working together, on the same page and all the other clichés you can think of.

Looking back at the last council compared to this council and the two things (or in this case two people) who jump out at me and the chaos and infighting of the last Council are the former Mayor Patrick Murphy and the current Mayor Rodney Elliot.

To say these two disliked each other is an understatement. Once the 2012 Council voted in Patrick Murphy over Rodney to serve in the Mayors role, the fuse was lit and both contributed to a chaotic council.

Murphy was stubborn, idealistic, in some instances rude and insensitive and did whatever he wanted,which often meant he hurt not only himself but the councilors who supported him and the former Manager.

Rodney was bitter, hurt and blamed the former Manager for Murphy (or anyone other than himself) getting selected Mayor and went after the Mayor and former Manager with support from Ed Kennedy and (against the Mayor) Rita Mercier on what seemed like a daily basis. Things got so bad that the council meeting Tuesday nights were the equivalent of tuning into NASCAR just to watch the wreck, You didn’t know when but you knew it would happen.

Rodney was rude, belligerent and disruptive. He found every loose thread, carried the water for every disgruntled former or present employee and developer and made mountains out of any molehill he could find.

Things got so bad, that the normally controlled Manager Lynch made a comment under his breath but into an open mic suggesting that when Rodney said he wanted to make a good decision, the Manager said it would be the first one!

Since January Rodney’s been Mayor and in April, his hand-picked, long time friend Kevin Murphy became Manager. Mayor Elliot for the most part has been a new man. Not so bitter and battling against the administration but still attacking people and depts. he sees has loyal to the past administration.

Manager Murphy has been very good to date, he is fair, appointing solid people on boards who don’t bring personal agendas with them (Hello Mr. McMahon) and dealt with issues head-on and straight forward without placing blame on the former administration.

No Councilor on the floor in this term to date has come anywhere near being the belligerent, rude,obnoxious councilor Rodney Elliot has been the past two years. That has made Murphy’s job that much easier.

It’s easy for everyone to get along when you don’t have a councilor busting balls for the sake of busting every week. How would things be playing out if instead of Mayor Elliot and Manager Murphy we had Councilor Elliot and Manager Lynch? If the Council had select anyone else as Manager, one has to wonder how Mayor Elliot would be handling that?

Rodney also had a lot of support in his constant negativity from an equally bitter Wine Novice and a publisher whose business wizardry resulted in the SUN selling its office space at a reported loss of $790,000 . So far they have been cordial and positive to the new Manager and his administration, lets see how long that last.

If you doubt me that Rodney is playing favorites and supporting his friend the Manager, just look at this past week’s meeting on a budget with a 3.5% Tax increase.

Can you imagine the verbal thrashing that Councilor Elliot along with the Sun would have rained down on former Manager Lynch? Yet this week and the weeks leading up to the budget hearing, all was quiet.

Look at Rodney’s history (just google) and offer any other explanation for Rodney’s votes, other than the fact his buddy of over 30 years is Manager:

2006….City Councilor Rodney Elliot initially moved to slash $1.3 million to ensure a shortfall in state aid wouldn’t mean a tax increase for Lowell residents.

2011 … During budget deliberations, Elliott suggested an across-the-board cut of 2.5 percent to every line item.

In 2013 his Public Relations Firm I mean The Sun wrote this about Councilor Elliot: Elliott prides himself in being “a numbers person, who wants to continue to keep the fight up to hold the line on tax increases,” he said. In the last two years, Elliott filed motions to make sure there would be no local tax increases

This year MAYOR Elliot made 1 motion. To cut $25,000 from the Law Dept.Professional Service in a bid to settle a personal issue he has with the City Solicitor.

He supported the largest tax increase in the past 7 years with his buddy in the Manager’s Office.

Supt. Franco and the School Committee

One thing that hasn’t changed is the fact Rodney is a hypocrite! He votes against every union contract for people trying to make a living working for the city, yet he votes to give this Manager (his friend) a $200,000 Salary with ZERO experience and more than doubles what Murphy received in his State Rep. position.

To further prove my point of playing favorites, the Mayor is quoted in the Sun yesterday saying that “he was already against Franco’s contract because of the “financial implications” of it, including the potential merit raises.”

Supt. Jean Franco has served this City for 18 years and has worked her way up from teacher to Supt. and makes $175,992, Her contract would make her eligible for a 1 percent cost-of-living increase and merit raises of up to 3 percent a year. She has experience and has been a long time employee but only his “big brother” deserves a top of the line salary?

The move to not vote on the contract was totally disrespectful and unprofessional by Connie Martin and this School Committee. I don’t care what your so called concerns are. It is a FACT you offered and she excepted a 2 year deal. It is a fact that it was on this week’s agenda for ratification and it is a Fact, you blindsided her and took it off the table without informing her before the meeting, you were even considering this.

We will hear all sorts of half-baked excuses, her budget presentation wasn’t well done, she didn’t give us reports we have requested, she doesn’t communicate, we have concerns etc.

If you were so “CONCERNED” why did you agree to a contract in the first place? The absolute fact is YOU six members and the Mayor agreed with Supt.Franco on a contract and then publicly disrespected her and pulled it off the agenda to have a private meeting. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

What’s going on and why don’t the Neighbors or Neighborhood group know?

There has been work being done at and around the former St. Jean D’Arc Church and Rectory. Rumors are some program for trouble youth run by the State or a private agency may be wanting to move in. Neighbors are upset they have not been informed and neither has the Pawt. Citizens Council.

Some possible relief for those facing Flood Insurance?
.C. ROURKE – “Req. City Mgr. explore possibility of Lowell joining FEMA’s Community Rating System.”

I mentioned former Councilor Mart Lorrey above, one of the other issues Marty worked on was the new flood maps that resulted in many residents getting put into flood zones and having to pay huge insurance cost.He was looking for ways to help reduce those cost. New Councilor Dan Rourke has picked up that concern and has a motion on this weeks Agenda that could result in savings for flood insurance for city residents goes away and the end of this week, Bookmark this new address:

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