Mayor’s Empty Seat at School Committee Speaks Volumes

Mayor DeMaria did not show to a key school committee meeting. (Photo by Josh Resnek)

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

By Josh Resnek

The mayor’s empty chair at last week’s School Committee meeting did not come as a surprise.

His empty chair expressed the mayor’s true interest in not appearing to be part of the meeting with his colleagues.

The meeting was intended as the first shot in a public engagement aimed at running Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani out of the city.

The mayor likely designed the attack but then never planned to show up to run it.

Tahiliani has taken the mayor to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination by filing a 31 page complaint making claims of racism and sexism against the mayor, and his cohorts.

The mayor has now been placed in a position to explain himself, and his actions, when it comes to racism and sexism against Tahiliani.

Last Tuesday night could have been a big moment in the mayor’s attempt to take over the School Department – but it wasn’t.

His acolytes on the School Committee couldn’t get out of their way. They took back or put off the egregious anti-superintendent measures that had been concocted before the meeting.

We can be sure they will be back. With 8 votes in his control, the mayor feels like Superman.

Last Tuesday’s onslaught of ridiculous agenda items were all about grabbing too much power.

No finesse whatsoever was used.

School Committee members Samantha Lambert and Marcony Almeida Barros performed with the artistry of figure skaters in a doubles championship performance.

They repeatedly told their colleagues they were going too far into areas where they did not belong.

When the agenda item seek- ing to place a hiring freeze was suggested, Almeida Barros told his colleagues: “How do you place a hiring freeze on new personnel when we can’t fill job openings that exist right now?”

When a School Department audit was suggested as an agenda item, all things might have been made easier suggesting that the members carefully read the budget.

Do they really believe that Tahiliani is squirreling away thousands with secret expenditures to fund long vacations or to pay for the redoing of her home? Is that what the audit would show?

Former councilor and now School Committeeman Mike McLaughlin took the lead in this concerted effort by the mayor and his supporters on the School Committee to tie up Tahiliani and to reduce her position to that of a hostage kept in captivity.

McLaughlin backtracked on several of his agenda requests. This indubitably caused the mayor to experience a wave of enragement.

I understand that McLaughlin has been replaces by Mike Mangan as the leader of the effort to return Everett jobs to Everett people.

Mangan claims to be fair. He told the Leader Herald last week: “I make my own decisions. The mayor can’t tell me what to do.”

Other discrepant requests were sent to committee last week, guaranteeing they will be back with a revision for a vote.

The mayor’s penchant for threatening retaliation and carrying it out will have to be carefully controlled from now on lest Tahiliani’s MCAD filing becomes a Superior Court case seeking damages.

That might happen anyway.

The mayor is now conducting several lawsuits in Superior Court and is beset with the MCAD filing made by the superintendent of schools.

Now comes the Monday night action at the city council where two newly elected members were looking to be told everything is OK for each of them to receive two city salaries.

From Tahiliani’s point of view, the two members ran because the mayor asked them to run to get rid of her.

I am told the mayor promised them they’d be paid both salaries.

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