Collect Your Things …
By Josh Resnek
I am not sure many people in this city know who runs the Tax Collector’s office or much less cares.
We all go there to pay our parking tickets, excise taxes, and whatever else we have been billed by the city.
It doesn’t really matter who comes to the window. Everyone is taken care of.
The Tax Collector’s office is headed by Dominico D’Angelo. He is the treasurer and collector.
I don’t know Mr. D’Angelo.
Second in command is or rather, was, Scott Porter. Porter had worked for many years in that office.
I heard some bad news about Porter when I got to my office the other day.
“Did you hear? Scott Porter has been fired,” a source said to me.
At first, I had to ask who Scott Porter is? The source explained to me… “a nice guy. I heard he was fired.”
Tuesday morning I called over to the Treasurer’s office and asked to speak to Porter and got this reply:
“He is no longer working with us,” an employee in the office said to me.
“What happened?” I asked her.
She hesitated a moment. “He was let go,” she answered.
“Is there something I can do for you?” she asked me.
“Yes. I’d like to speak with Mr. D’Angelo,” I said.
“One moment please, I’ll transfer your call to the Treasurer’s office.”
Mr. D’Angelo was apparently in a meeting.
That was that.
Then I asked around a bit with folks who talk with me inside the DeMaria Citadel, the fortress on Broadway where his workers toil like worker bees inside a hive while the mayor himself is eating pounds of honey somewhere else.
“Mr. Demas fired him,” a woman employee told me in a whisper.
“When you see someone like Scott Porter going into Mr. Demas’s office as I saw the other day…well, that’s a very bad sign.”
Indeed it was.
Porter was terminated, his job snuffed out like the crushing of a bug with a heavy foot.
All his years working for this city came to a sudden or a not so sudden end.
So I wondered…how can you be fired just like that? What might cause such a sudden and complete ending to a long career at city hall?
“Was he stealing money?” I asked someone who claimed to know. “No. He is a straight up guy. A nice guy,” said the source.
“So what happened to him?” I asked. How does one go for years and years then just get red, I wondered.
The source said to me:
“The mayor didn’t like him. He wanted him gone…and so he has disappeared just like that, like the snap of a finger.”
I wondered if Mr. D’Angelo could disappear just like that?
Maybe Mr. D’Angelo thinks about this, too – or maybe he agreed that Porter should be gone.
The only thing not yet gone about Porter is his name as assistant Treasurer Collector on the city website.
Someone needs to take his name off the contact list.
I watched with interest the new intrigue unfolding before my eyes at the School Department when Monday night the mayor made his first substantial foray into the School Department at a meeting on Vine Street.
Without Fred Foresteire calling the shots anymore, the mayor is like a driver speeding down a highway with no limits to how fast he can go except for his own.
The meeting on Vine Street was highly orchestrated. Here is the translation of what happened.
A $5.1 million school breakfast and lunch program feeding some 7000 kids twice a day is being handed over to another contractor, presumably a friend of the mayor’s – but not before an RFP is designed to t who the mayor wants it awarded to. This is nothing against the mayor. It is how the system works at most city halls. RFP’s are designed for favored parties.
This scenario fits the mayor to a T. The mayor tends not to do anything that fails to enhance his own status or political and economic well being in some way.
In other words, if there is nothing in this expedition for him, he wouldn’t be making the effort.
The mayor made his presentation accompanied by Karen Avila, one of the more prominent members of the Wellness Center who, like the mayor, does most of her work at home or anywhere other than her office. Like the mayor, she is available 24/7. Just don’t expect them to be in their offices because this is the modern world.
Avila and the mayor there together professing the need for the city’s school children to eat better food was classic theater, Everett style.
The mayor was quite open and honest about his own weight and diet issues.
Self-deprecation, that is, poking fun at oneself is a powerful personality tool.
“I have been all over the place going up a hundred pounds or down 100 pounds all my life,” he said to everyone assembled in the conference room on Vine Street.
He explained without much passion the new food thing that would be going on.
Overall, it was effective.
Score one for the mayor during this period when he is taking over the public schools as part of his dominion here in Everett.
The mayor arrived at 6:30 without fanfare. He came into the conference room just after the School Committee voted to give Mrs. Gauthier $190,000 plus added expenses.
The cafeteria employees assembled in the hall quietly oohed and awed as the short discussion went on about giving Mrs. Gauthier a $50,000 raise for being the interim superintendent and the head of curriculum at the same time.
Most cafeteria employees don’t make near $50,000 a year, let alone $190,000. It was a sobering moment for them – and a reminder to me that this is a working-class city where the worry of keeping one’s job is more prominent in the day to day life of these employees than what raise, if any, one would receive for all the day to day drudgery and hard work they do.
Second Victim Rising From the Wellness Center
Another Everett woman making claims of mistreatment, insults hurled at her, derogatory talk and Draconian orders given angrily on a day to day basis at the Wellness Center are something folks there should be worried about.
This woman, who spoke confidentially with the Leader Herald this week, is a powerhouse of a woman.
She is articulate. She is passionate. She is hurt and she is disgusted.
Her experience at the Wellness Center has caused her a world of hurt but as she told me: “I won’t be bossed around by the mayor’s bullies.”
She is an assertive 42 year old single mother with a child in college and a homeowner here.
“I am not afraid of the mayor or his friends at the center. They mean nothing to me. I will stand up to all of them,” she said.
It is, I think, this type of woman who is unafraid that should make the mayor and his minions at the Wellness Center take notice.
Her narrative of her experience at the Wellness Center is shocking and disappointing at the same time.
Shocking because such a workplace of horrors is allowed to exist, disappointing because everyone who matters knows and yet nothing is done about it.
This is why motions put in before the city council by Councilor Mike McLaughlin taking the center to task – and taking Dr. Easy to task and the city’s Human Resources chief to task, asking them to come before the council to explain themselves is a bold ask.
Most of the councilors understood what McLaughlin is trying to do.
Even Councilor Rosa DeFlorio said she thought executive session wouldn’t be right when questions need to be asked by the council of the folks from the Wellness Center.
“If something private comes top, we can vote to go into executive session at the next meeting,” she said.
It was as if she had said: “What do we have to lose asking questions about the Wellness Center?”
What is there to lose when a rebrand is stirring about in our city claiming she was mistreated, insulted, degraded and ordered around like a piece of chattel?