Mayor warns employees to stay quiet on cuts
By JOSH RESNEK
The mayor is showing the leadership qualities of a Donald Trump taking a $14,000 pay raise, telling those who question him that he was forced to take it, and then warning those who have been laid off by him from city employment or had their salaries cut drastically, to keep their mouths shut.
The layoffs and salary cuts over the past two weeks have caused a tidal wave of bad feeling among those affected.
Despite the mayor’s admonition that no one laid off or whose salary has been cut should speak publicly about their plight, that has not stopped most of them from doing so.
“The morale is as low as I’ve experienced it in twelve years,” said a city hall official who told the Leader “I’m not afraid of the mayor or of what he might do to me. I’m heading elsewhere,” he said.
Several businessmen told the Leader Herald they were surprised the city was so short of cash that so many salaries had to be cut and so many had to be laid off.
“This reveals how little he really knows about running the city,” said a prominent businessman of the mayor. “It should be an embarrassment to him and to everyone working for the city that the city is left with so little in financial resources that the only way to save money is to cut city services drastically.”
During the past two years the mayor has spent nearly every penny of the $30 million given by Wynn Resorts to the city as the first payment to the city.
Without much thought about a rainy day, the mayor spent another $15 million or so paid by Wynn Resorts in lieu of taxes.
Wynn Resorts now owes the city more than $13 million and has shown a bit of unsteadiness in paying its commitment to the city when it is due.
Nearly all Wynn Resorts in lieu of tax payments have been late since opening in June 2019.
And now comes unsettling news out of Springfield, where MGM, the casino giant that developed a casino in that city, is now apparently seeking better terms of payment to reflect on the fact nothing has come in for the past four months.
In fact, it was reported in the Springfield press last week that MGM wants to renegotiate the host agreement.
The entire city government here finds it hard to believe Wynn Resorts might want to renegotiate their host agreement, which some casino analysts say, is a real possibility.
City leaders here, including the mayor, believe Wynn Resort’s guarantee is absolute.
“But it isn’t,” said a city hall expert familiar with the city’s finances.
“The mayor is ready to toss Eric Demas, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, under the bus. He was supposed to be the sharpest mind in the administration. All the layoffs and pay cuts are his. He owns them. The mayor is beside himself.”
Add to this the mayor has been telling his confidants and closest supporters that he was forced to take the raise. He insists the law forces him to accept it.
“That’s a lie,” said Councilor at Large Mike Marchese. I’ll give up my council salary if he gives up his raise. How’s that!”
The mayor’s chief of staff Kevin O’Donnell had his salary cut in half, a rather bold move perceived as unfair by many of those working for the mayor.
“Kevin actually works,” said one city employee. “The mayor rarely if ever comes in. All those days the mayor was on vacation last year, Kevin was right there filling in for him. And look what he’s gotten in return!”
Bottom line, according to city hall employees, morale has crumbled overnight.
“You never know who’s next with Carlo. Friendship doesn’t mean much to him. Everything is about money,” said a local businessman.