By Josh Resnek
The mayor’s recent move giving 19 inspectional services employees free automobiles has outraged Councilor Peter Simonelli and has led to vigorous debate among a number of councilors and city hall observers.
At Monday night’s council meeting, Simonelli decried the mayor’s decision giving 19 city employees free automobiles and gasoline.
“Thanks for nothing Mr. Mayor,” Simonelli said through his translator, former councilor Nick Saia.
Simonelli, who has been battling throat cancer for several years finds it difficult to speak. He had asked the mayor to come before the council to discuss parking issues in the Norwood Street area where residents were complaining that city vehicles parked in the public lots were taking up too many space making it hard to find one.
At that hearing where the matter was discussed, the mayor said he’d fix the problem as if to say to Simonelli, “Here’s what you get for bothering me.”
The mayor assigned the automobiles to the inspectors, 19 of them.
According to one local prominent businessman, the added on value of this giveaway by the mayor is about $300 a week per vehicle or approximately a cost to the city of $312,000 a year as well as committing the city to added liability issues.
City employees using the cars as their own to shop or to travel around while they are not working raises insurance issues, according to the prominent local businessman.
“I think its ridiculous,” said Marchese. Many of his colleagues agreed.
Simonelli told the Leader Herald he was outraged by the mayor’s indifference to his request and that he never intended for the parking situation to be resolved by giving 19 city employees late model vehicles to use as their own.
Councilor Mike McLaughlin said he was utterly opposed to the giveaway.
The mayor was unavailable for comment.
He is vacationing in Aruba, again.