Sunday Notes October 19th 2014

“The people of the city pay his salary and they are entitled to know what is going on at City Hall. Anything less is a disservice to the people of the city.” Rodney Elliott 2011 talking about the City Manager

I for one believe the public has every right to know what is going on at City Hall and that “Open Govt” means the public has to be informed just as the Council does,

We find out in this week’s City Council Agenda through a motion by Councilor Leary that the City doesn’t have a Traffic (Transportation) Engineer

9.3. C. Leahy – Req. City Mgr. explore possibility of using outside contract or service to fill the vacant position of Traffic Engineer.

Eric Eby left the City in Sept. for the private sector and the position is now posted. (for 10 days)

I had emailed and asked all 9 City Councilors – Do you agree with Mayor Elliot’s statement that “The people of the city pay the Manager’s salary and they are entitled to know what is going on at City Hall? Is Anything less a disservice to the people of the city.”?

Only 2 Councilors responded. Jim Milinazzo

Hi Gerry,

How are you doing?
Yes-I agree with Mayor Elliot’s statement. Let me ask you-did he make this statement as Mayor?


Dan Rourke:

Hey Gerry,
I would both agree w the mayor’s statement and also stress that I believe that City Hall has been transparent. Since asst city manager Mike McGovern has been in place, the administration has released numerous press releases relating to upcoming events, personnel decisions, as well as public safety and economic updates. With regards to the treasurer situation, I believe Manager Murphy was ready to announce Mr Lumbra’s hiring but as we now know, he chose not to accept the position at the last-minute.

Take care,

If Councilor Rourke is correct, then why hasn’t the City Manager’s Office replied to a Public Records request I submitted on October 8th asking for any/all press releases sent out by the City Manager’s Office, Mayor’s Office, City Council and any City Department (with the exception of the Lowell School Committee) since April 11th of this year?

In the private sector, many of us work Columbus Day to get the day after Thanksgiving off. So why is the City Manager asking the Council to cancel the Council meeting on Tuesday November 25th? Is the Manager going to give the entire city staff Wednesday or Friday off? Or just himself and the 9 Councilors an extra vacation day?

Chris Scott returned to post his Column Blog this past Thursday (but didn’t include it in today’s Political Column.) He reported that the Water Dept. phone that sent text messages to Erik Gitschier’s mom is missing and can’t be found but since everyone seems to now be playing nice, the Manager’s Office is dropping the search but now has a record of every city owned phone.

Scary that since becoming Mayor the self proclaimed Fiscal Watchdog is having trouble with numbers. I posted on Tuesday that Manager Murphy seemed to be doing a good job keeping the Council informed on legal cases involving the City, meeting approx. once (1) a month with the entire Council in Executive session.

One of the knocks against former Manager Lynch, was that he didn’t keep the Council aware of sensitive information (like the status of lawsuits) but during the review of this Council’s Agenda’s so far this year, it appears Manager Murphy and the Council have an Executive Session at least once a month (twice in April, none in May)

On WCAP with Teddy on Wednesday, the Mayor was being very defensive because it was me stating they had meetings and said that these meetings weren’t once a month. (Teddy didn’t seem to be able to comprehend that I wasn’t attacking these sessions, just noting them and asking about releasing minutes, but he plays to the anti-Gerry -anti-blogger crowd anyway)

Now I know his ego the Mayor hates anything I say, but even HE and Teddy should be able to COUNT to 7, especially when the numbers come from the City Council Agenda. Manager Murphy started in April it is now October – that equals 7 Month. My Friend the COUNT will help the Mayor and Teddy by counting the number of Executive Sessions posted since April…

Rodney, Follow along with me...starting with 1

Rodney, Follow along with me…starting with 1

1) APRIL 1st 12.1. 2014 / 237 – Executive Session regarding pending litigation, public discussion of which could have a detrimental effect on the City’s position.
2) April 8th 2014 Executive Session – Review negotiations with City Manager-Elect;
3) JUN 24th 2014 CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION 11.1. 2014 / 471 – Executive session, pursuant to “Exemption 3”, to discuss strategy with respect to potential litigation regarding the Greater Lowell Technic al High School
4) July 8th 2014 CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION Executive Session, pursuant to “Exemption 4”, relative to the deployment of security personnel and strategies relating to their deployment
5) Aug 26th 2014 3.1. 2014 / 588 – Executive Session regarding matters of pending litigation relative to the GLRVS, worker compensation cases, other injured on-duty cases,
6) Sept 9th 2014 CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION 10.1. Executive Session – Pursuant to “Exemption 4″
7)TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2014Executive Session – Regarding pending litigation, public discussion of which could have a detrimental effect on the City’s position.

WERE YOU ABLE TO COUNT TO 7 MR. MAYOR? If Manager Murphy has been here 7 months and the Council has had 7 Executive Sessions in that time period, than the AVERAGE = ONCE A MONTH! even a fiscal watchdog and talk radio host ,should be able to count to 7.

It must really upset the Mayor , Jim Campy and the SUN that the LHA gets such a positive rating by HUD after the relentless attacks on the LHA over the past year.The Good news out of LHA this week may be only the beginning and another announcement with more good news may be coming in the next few weeks.

Yesterday in the Saturday chat and today in the Column Blog is a rumor that has been floating around since June concerning Bill Martin and Jim Milinazzo. Martin is said to be considering ending his political career.While I think Mr. Martin is a nice guy, he hasn’t been a leader that I had hoped he would be and it may be time to step aside.

The other vacancy might be created by Councilor James Milinazzo. Anxious to erase a bitter loss in 2011, Milinazzo wanted to leave the council on his own terms. Jim Milinazzo. on City Life in the past few weeks addressed the rumor saying he intends at this point to run again. So far he has been one of the only Councilors to put in motions that challenge other councilors. Hopefully he starts asking the Manager for more accountability and stays on. He has a wealth of knowledge from his DPD days and his time as Ex. Director at the LHA along with his banking background. The Council needs his knowledge and expertise.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery (again) to Lowell Good Guy Jack Baldwin, your voice and laughter will be missed from the WCAP airwaves. Looking forward to your return.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Notes October 19th 2014

  1. When mayor Elliott delivered his Executive Session excuses to Teddy’s kid gloves, he brushed the ‘bloggers’ criticisms aside. He offhandedly assured the listeners that everything is on the up ‘n up. That Executive Sessions were only held when they were in order and that Executive Sessions minutes were released in a timely manner. #poppycock

    About a year ago, I spoke with the City Clerk about Executive Session minutes. He informed me that Executive Session minutes could only be reviewed and accepted during an Executive Session.

    We see regular meeting minutes appear on the agenda EVERY week. Here’s this week’s example:

    2.1 Minutes of City Council Meeting October 14th; Downtown Redevelopment SC October 14th; Education Partnerships SC October 7th; City Council Special Meeting October 7th, for acceptance.

    I follow the City Council, like you do Gerry. Have you EVER noticed the acceptance of Executive Session meeting minutes posted, as an agenda item and the Executive Session minutes included in the subsequent packet? I haven’t. Oddly, I do recall an instance or two where School Committee Executive Session minutes have been made public with the due public notice.

    So, either, the City Council accepts Executive Session minutes without public notice, to then whisk them away to some shady archive, OR the mayor is full of it. (Meaning, the Council simply drops the ball.)

    Is there a process I haven’t accounted for? Anyone?

    • This Council has voted only once to release minutes and that was before Manager Murphy took over, If the reasons for the EX. Sessions are still “open” ex: the Tech Issue or a Lawsuit than the information isn’t yet allowed to be released. In the event it is about law enforcement deployment than is doesn’t have to be released at all.

      Here is what was voted to be released: In Jan and Feb. when the Council met in Executive Session regarding City Manager Lynch and the Methadone Clinic, after a few delays (meeting cancelled, meeting ended at 10:00 pm) the Council Voted in March to release those minutes and any other prior minutes that should be designated to be made public from executive sessions

      10.1. 2014 / 125 – Executive Session to discuss and release minutes of Executive Session meeting on January 21, 2014 and any other minutes that should be designated to be made public from executive sessions.

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