The rescheduled City Council meeting to be held Wednesday evening on ZOOM has on its agenda two serious questions raised by two serous councilors regarding the city’s finances and integrity.
All roads on these two questions lead directly to the mayor. Councilor Gerly Adrien, immensely disliked by the mayor
for a variety of reasons – she’s a woman – she’s Black – she’s assertive – has asked the mayor to explain why he “stole” $471,000 from the School Department checking account.
More importantly, she will be asking him whether or not he is going to give the School Department the $471,000 as it was already spent.
In other words, will the mayor return what he took out of the account on a whim?
This remains to be seen.
In all likelihood, the mayor will have the city’s de facto mayor, CFO Eric Demas, answer for him about exactly why the mayor took back the money without first telling the School Department.
Demas will present himself like the mayor’s good soldier with his typical regurgitation of starched, bureaucratic gobble-dygook intended to first confuse, and then to convince those wondering that doing such a thing is absolutely perfect city money management.
The mayor and Demas will be up against Superintendent Priya Tahiliani and her crew of financial overseers and managers, who all agree – the $471,000 must be returned. The mayor cannot unilaterally decide to take money from speeding account of the School Department without proper notice, and furthermore, the money can’t and shouldn’t and won’t be replaced by taking it from another School Department account because the superintendent it isn’t the right thing to do. This is a moment for the City Council to show some spine instead of doing the mayor’s dirty work and having its reputation besmirched.
This won’t happen. The Council is the mayor’s as the School Committee is the mayors.
The second matter Wednesday night will be Councilor Fred Capone’s question asking the mayor and his underlings about who paid the $175,000 for the $800 wreaths and the $8,000 Christmas tree?
Capone will likely ask what account the money came from or who donated the wreaths and or the tree?
Will the mayor answer such questions, or will Demas again come to his rescue with an explanation that will sound like English but will be more like trying to understand and interpret ancient Greek.
This is what satisfies the mayor and so it will be done.
Capone is not against beautiful and timely Christmas decorations for the city, or for anyone, for that matter.
However, he wonders, as many residents are tending to wonder, about the reasoning behind spending so much money and where that money came from, and who approved it at a time when the city is in a state of emergency.
Let’s see what happens.