By Josh Resnek
The mayor made a surprise public appearance at city hall after being largely absent from public life for nearly a month.
The mayor read from what is believed to be a prepared lawyer’s text detailing how the $180,000 of longevity payments made to him during the past four years was a matter of interpretation – and that it is the Capones of the world who have it wrong and it is the mayor who has it right.
“I have not been hiding from this issue,” the mayor told the city council.
“I have done nothing wrong,” he said sternly in attempting to answer Councilor Mike Marchese’s questions.
“Nothing was hidden or concealed,” he told Marchese and the council.
What the mayor failed to mention is why in the budget that did not detail last year’s twin $20,000 paydowns given to him for vacation days and sick days that amounted to $40,000 and were then distributed to him without his name mentioned in the city’s award winning budget as longevity.
The mayor’s numerous and lengthy vacations to Aruba, Arizona, Cape Cod, Nevada and elsewhere during the past five years would appear to make the notion of vacation day payback for him a moot point.
How can he claim to take payment for vacation days when he is so often on vacation?
The Everett city council had no questions to ask the mayor.
For all intents and purposes, the payments to the mayor of $40,000 yearly when he was supposed to receive $2,500 yearly for time served were payments made to deflect from public notice that he had been given the equivalent of a $40,000 a year raise in salary.
The mayor said he did not speak previously about this issue because he was being exceptionally careful not to speak “publicly about my compensation.”
The $40,000 “fraudulent” longevity payment made him the highest paid mayor in the state.
Sitting next to him last night while speaking to the council was City Solicitor Colleen Mejia, believed to be one of the architects and supporters of the mayor’s $40,000 windfall.
She maintained a ghost like appearance and remained quiet throughout his presentation. Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas was not called upon to detail his responsibility or lack of it in the matter.
It is believed Demas made the payments possible to the mayor without noting them in the city budget, a key factor he refuses to take responsibility for.
Not one city councilor other than Marchese asked the mayor a question – living proof of his power and control over the machinations of the hapless, voiceless, ineffective council.
Following the mayor’s performance, which he believed was convincing as if he had said the last word on the matter, he was confronted by a group of angry residents.
Council President John Hanlon banged his gavel several times.
“Beat him up outside,” he shouted.
He asked those who were confronting the mayor and who were shouting, which included the mayor, “to take it outside or you will be removed.”
The mayor and the residents yelled at one another holding up the council meeting until the angry voices quieted down and the council chamber returned to order and decorum.