Sunday Notes November 23 2014


School Committee member Dave Conway seems to have issues working with strong women. He has been a constant in the removal of three (3) female Superintendents. Starting with Karla Brooks Baehr then Chris Scott and now Jean Franco.

If you look at reports from the Lowell Sun you’ll remember Conway was after Baehr from the start : Baehr’s announcement came immediately after two of her most vocal critics won the top two spots in the School Committee election. The top vote-getter, challenger David Conway, ran on the platform of pushing for more local hiring in schools and administration, and improving communication between School Committee members and the superintendent.

Conway said he felt Baehr was losing the community in the past year. “Educators did not feel they had input and were being ignored,” Conway said. “There was a bit of a communication problem.”

Have you noticed that it’s always a communication problem when the School Committee gets rid of a Supt. Isn’t that the excuse Connie Martin used to get rid of Chris Scott and when she submarines Jean Franco’s two year contract?

Connie Martin seems to think she is the most qualified to run Lowell Schools and her and Conway are the constants for the past 3 turnover of Supt’s in Lowell.

Add in members Scott who doesn’t want qualified people if a relative breathes in the same district and KRS who wants a budget broken out like Cambridge and who were co conspirators in the hijacking of Jean Franco’s contract along with a Mayor who has been feeding off public taxpayer dollars for most of his career but doesn’t want to give out contracts and the Lowell job is no longer a highly sought after gig. Proof can be seen by the last batch of applicants to replace Scott. One was suing her district and another has made negative after negative headline.

Does anyone think that any qualified Supt. unless they were another political crony and “Big Brother’ of the Mayor would willingly subject themselves to the whims of such a dysfunctional School Committee without a contract?

Speaking of contracts, Lowell teachers will be negotiating one and the Committee will have to juggle that while searching for a new Superintendent. How many qualified people want to come to a City with possible labor unrest, a Mayor who wouldn’t give them a contract and a School Committee that has run out three quality woman?

Jack O’Brien the former LHS floor master was not only a great educator and teachers union representative but a guy who worked running his church’s Bingo for many years and helping to keep the parish school open by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. Jack and Nancy McHugh ran St. Michaels Bingo for many years. Jack gave me my first job and will be missed by many

It will be interesting to see if this City Council will vote to abandon the Fiscal discipline provided by Chapt. 17 and allow future Administrations to burn through reserves has have happened in the past without this $4.2 million dollar safety net. No matter what they try tosay to justify it, it is not in Lowell’s best interest to do.

The state may dip into its reserves to solve this budget shortfall and I’m concerned this Council will follow suit in 2015. This years budget was tough and used up one reserve fund already. In an election year do you really expect this Council to not vote to use reserves instead of approving another 2% – 3.5% tax increase or face authorizing layoffs or privatization?

The Irony I also see coming is that certain appointed and / or elected officials with support from local media,will blame the previous Administration for not pushing for tax increases in the past or find smaller issues that they will try to blame on the Lynch Administration and Tom Moses blaming them for leaving the city in what will be painted has financial trouble.

It was the City Council and especially the current Mayor who lobbied and ordered the Manager to not raise taxes.

To that I remind these hypocrites of the words written by the highly compensated, highly regarded financial Consultant, at the time Acting CFO and former Cambridge Manager Bob Healy, who wrote the following in this years budget presentation with one would assume the okay and support of City Manager Murphy:

“While both the state and national economies are improving, the budgetary challenges facing Lowell are actually greater than they have been over the course of last few years. 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.”

He correctly and clearly put the ownership of the 3.5% tax increase right where it belongs, the City Council. Many of who are still in office and will likely be running again.

1 thought on “Sunday Notes November 23 2014

  1. Mr Conway appears to be a bit of a misogynist and I have never really liked him- so there goes my vote for him. Ms Martin, I have watched a few times and I am most definitely not impressed, so there goes that vote. I would really like to see a good Cambodian candidate enter the fray. If any member of that School Committee thinks they are going to get a top quality administrator without offering a contract, they are mistaken. Would we really want one who could just be shoved out the door as the last three have been.

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