President Hanlon Leads the Council
By Josh Resnek
The second official meeting of the New Year for the city council brought together four new members in their first moments under fire in the city’s most influential elected body.
Councilors at Large Stephanie Smith and Irene Cardillo took seats next to Councilors Wayne Matewsky and Richard Dell Isola respectively.
Councilors Vivian Nguyen and Al Lattanzi sat next to Councilors Stephanie Martin and Anthony DiPierro respectively.
Councilor at Large Mike Marchese, who topped the ticket, has chosen to sit away from the group out of respect to the COVID-19 social distancing protocol.
Only Councilor Nguyen wore a mask among her colleagues.
A wide variety of issues were discussed and sent to committee – a questionable parliamentary procedure the council is now using rather than to debate issues on the floor as they come up.
A measure seeking to deal with the homeless living in tents in the vicinity of Santilli Circle was sent to committee for discussion and the comments of city officials from ISD.
A measure seeking to have the MBTA fix up the city’s many public bus stops was sent to committee and was referred to the administration for direct action with the MBTA in order to resolve the situation.
The mayor’s compensation is to be discussed at a committee of the whole where the compensation of the mayor now and in the future will be discussed, according to a measure sent to the council by Councilor Martin.
This discussion, according to Martin, will include the mayor’s $40,000 a year longevity payment which is not listed as a line item in the city budget.
“There is no issue about the mayor’s pay check. The problem is the abuse of the longevity. Let’s talk about that right here. Let’s eliminate the longevity. The mayor is well paid, what are we going to discuss at a meeting?” Marchese asked his colleagues.
Councilor Matewsky said he felt the same way about the longevity.
“We’ve kicked this issue around. It all has to do with longevity. You’re either in favor of it or not,” Matewsky said. “This longevity thing has been kicked around twice already. The result no recommendation after three times. The mayor’s salary is set. The election is over now. Let’s move forward. This issue has been kicked around so much it is even confusing to me. We can discuss it right now. What do you want to change? The longevity part is the issue,” Matewsky added.
“You are either in favor of longevity or you are not. I see no purpose in such a meeting.”
DiPierro said he wanted the discussion in committee. “That’s what should be done.”
Councilor Irene Cardillo suggested the discussion include the new members.
The Martin measure was referred to the committee of the whole.
Marchese and Matewsky voted against sending the measure to the committee.