Poor record of posting meetings minutes, information
By JOSH RESNEK
The late Charles Krauthammer – one of America’s great news commentators – once famously said that “whenever you’re faced with an explanation of what’s going on in Washington, the choice between incompetence and conspiracy, always choose incompetence.”
He might have said it this way about Everett.
“Whatever is going on at Everett City Hall in the corner office is a choice between incompetence and conspiracy.
“As a rule, always choose incompetence,” he might have said.
When it comes to transparency, the administration continues to lower the bar for allowing the public to access information.
Is there a conspiracy on behalf of the administration to deprive the people of Everett of information about the way their city is being run, or is it mere incompetence?
Records of city council and school committee meetings must be made available, and in a timely manner, for the public.
But this is Everett.
The DeMaria Crime Family will not let this happen.
Thus far in calendar 2020, the City Council has met on 18 occasions, yet there are only minutes posted for 5 of those 18 meetings (27.78%).
Not a very impressive record.
If I publish the Leader Herald with only 29.41% of the pages filled, I will not have a very successful newspaper.
The opaque transparency doesn’t stop there.
The Board of the Everett Redevelopment Authority has not met since November 7, 2019. No meetings in calendar 2020. They did have seven meetings in calendar 2019, but only posted minutes for one of those meetings (14.28%).
Our favorite bit of obfuscation is the Everett School Committee.
So far, records indicate in calendar 2020, the School Committee has met 26 times, yet no meeting minutes for the school committee have been posted (0%).
This is not an example of transparency at its finest, not to mention the total lack of compliance with the Commonwealth’s Open Meeting Law.
In calendar 2019, the School Committee met on 33 occasions and have posted zero minutes to the City of Everett website (they are batting a thousand in terms of Open Meeting Law compliance).
In calendar 2018 the School Committee met on 36 occasions and managed to post the meeting minutes for ONE single meeting, which occurred on December 27, 2018 (2.77%). In fact, in three calendar years, the School Committee met on 95 occasions and has posted only one set of meeting minutes. That is a whopping 1.05% posting rate.
2020 is a presidential election year, as well as congressional elections and Massachusetts house and senate elections.
And in the Era of COVID, how we conduct elections should be of primary importance.
The Election Commission has met on five occasions in this calendar year and no meeting minutes have been posted to the City’s webpage. Another perfect score for noncompliance with the open meeting law.
In 2019, the Election Commission met on 12 occasions, but only two sets of meeting minutes have been posted for a 16.67% compliance rate.
In calendar 2018, the Election Commission held 12 public meetings and posted 12 sets of minutes. However, no minutes have been posted since the March 4, 2019 meeting.
The lack of, the absence of, the seeming disinterest with transparency does not end there.
The administration’s Minister of Financial Propaganda, Eric Demas, has not posted audited financial statements since FY2017.
We are now in FY2020.
What is the administration hiding?
Something? Nothing? Everything?
It appears no effort by the administration is too great to deprive the voting public of information about the way the city is run.
Ironically, the live stream for the City Council Budget hearings on September 16th experienced technical difficulties which prevented most residents and taxpayers from viewing the first two hours of the hearing.
The City of Everett posts its City Council meetings video archives on Youtube.
The last City Council Meeting posted to the City’s Youtube channel was the February 24, 2020 meeting.
Is it a conspiracy or incompetence causing the administration to deprive the people of Everett of important public government information?