Covering up a name before court decides

By Josh Resnek

It is a rather bold action by someone who should know better than to act as judge and jury about anything besides his own life.

In some quarters where fairness remains an instrument of municipal government, there were many questions about the action of covering up a name on an outdoor sign outside the high school unilaterally ordered by the mayor, and allowed by the School Committee without complaint.

Even if you loath and hate the defendant – and many do – even if you believe he will be found guilty and convicted or found innocent of the sexual harassment charges lodged against him by three women who worked with him at the School Department’s Vine Street headquarters, there is the matter of the mayor ordering a sign to be covered.

What makes the action even more difficult to comprehend, is that the mayor ordering the removal of anyone’s name is especially unfair and more than a bit ironic and down right comical considering his own documented history with sexual harassment.

The mayor, the Boston Globe has reported in detail, has escaped prosecution for at least four major incidents of sexual harassment against women who either worked for him at his donut shop or at city hall.

In comments made last week the mayor said he had received complaints about the name on the high school sign from women’s rights groups.

The mayor’s reputation is poor as a supporter of womens’ rights and his escape from the #MeToo generation of women is inexplicable given his behavior, which has been, allegedly, deplorable when it comes to treating women as sexual objects when no one is looking on.

The mayor, in other words, is the last among Everett city officials who should be leading the charge against covering up anyone’s name before that person or any person has his or her day in court.

The signage with the name on it at the high school was covered during a two hour period on January 16.

George Lane himself was there to direct the operation. He owns

the company that maintains the high school and other Everett public facilities. According to the mayor, a member of the DPW did the cover-up.

Who sent him there? What pretext was used other than for the mayor to say to himself, “I hate the guy.”

According to several of those who attended the School Committee’s executive session about covering the sign claim the mayor said the sign had been placed there illegally and that there was no permit for it.

That’s at bit of fake reasoning by the mayor considering the sign has been up for more than a decade, and was voted on and approved by the School Committee.

Only the School Committee can approve such signage and dedication of names to school department sites.

Only the school Committee can decide to cover them or to take them down.

The mayor ordering the School Committee to do his business is wrong.

The mayor placing his name on plaques all over the city given his track record with sexual harassment should be seriously questioned by women’s groups.

School Committee Chair Thomas Abruzzese told his colleagues he was outraged by the sign being covered without his approval or that of the School Committee.

He got that right.

But he won’t have a word to say about it, we can be sure.

He said he was going to the police unless he got answers. Unbeknownst to all of us the School Committee may have voted privately to have the name covered.

Who knows?

No one seems to care…certainly not any of the members of the School Committee who are pleased to do the mayor’s bidding whenever asked. Considering the mayor has been accused of at least four instances of sexual harassment, he had the audacity to lead this charge against a former fellow public official – a guy the mayor once called his mentor in Everett politics.

It is a bankrupt moment for city politics here, for the School Committee and another instance of the mayor’s vindictiveness and his utter lack of decency when using hate instead of common sense.

Rather than acting as judge and jury removing any name, the mayor should investigate himself and remove his name from the plaques and those etched in granite throughout the city that celebrate a sexual harasser – an alleged sexual harasser that is.

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