Who Will Be Taking Over? Does Anyone Care?
By Josh Resnek
Longtime Everett City Solicitor Colleen Mejia has taken a position at Teamsters Local 25 in Charlestown.
With a wink and yawn and without expressing much passion for her service, the mayor has wished her well.
Mejia has been for many years one of Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s most trusted local mouthpieces and a legal voice who never rebuffed him no matter how outrageous his efforts were to use the system to enhance his own position.
Exactly who the mayor will appoint to fill the position remains unknown.
The mayor may have made his choice but he has not yet announced it, and certainly not to the Leader Herald, with whom he refuses to communicate.
Sources have confirmed to the Leader Herald that Assistant City Solicitor Keith Slattery is likely being considered as Mejia’s replacement.
Mejia and Slattery are close associates. They formed a real estate company together that is registered in Massachusetts.
Slattery is not just a lawyer. He is a Certified Public Accountant as well.
It is believed Mejia’s insistence that the mayor deserved a whopping longevity payment led to her public advocacy for the questionable $40,000 a year payment with the DeMaria controlled city council.
Former councilor and attorney Fred Capone has called that payment a fraud and a theft.
He has demanded that the mayor pay back the $180,000 that DeMaria was paid, and which he accepted during the past five years.
The payments did not appear in the city budget by name.
Mejia pushed for the payment with repeated visits before the city council for her rendering of the ordinance with unwitting city councilors unable to read the plain language of the ordinance which provides a payment of $2,500 a year – not the $40,000 the mayor was receiving.
Mejia insisted the ordinance was subject to different interpretations.
Her reasoning seemed to imply that the color green might actually be the color blue, and that red might be yellow, and that white and black are the same.The council believed her until an outcry sprang up by outraged residents declaring that the longevity never should have been paid, that a simple reading of the ordinance caused no confusion.
The mayor has been stripped of the $40,000 longevity payment by the city council.
He is now receiving a yearly department head $1,700 as stipulated by the council.
The mayor sent Mejia off last week with a tepid farewell on his Facebook page.
Mejia was first hired by former mayor David Ragucci, a point made by DeMaria in his Facebook post most likely written by his chief of staff, Erin Deveney.
Mejia’s leaving what Councilor Anthony DiPierro refers to as the mayor’s “nest” is perceived as a loss for the mayor.
However, the mayor is so well lawyered up that one less lawyer in the group doesn’t tend to have much meaning.
Mejia taking the new position with the Teamsters has led to a spate of thoughts coming from the public here.
Some believe she left to make more money.
A position with the Teamsters such as she is taking should provide her with substantially more salary and a better benefits package.
Mejia is at the point in her life where going before the Everett City Council to shill for the mayor had grown tiresome and repetitive.
On the other hand, Mejia is likely to miss the derision and disgust she held for the membership of the city council. She will long for those moments when the council asked her for her lawyer’s opinion and she sent them on a wild goose chase from nothing to nowhere in support of whatever the mayor was asking for. Her treatment of the council as second class, brainless public officials whenever she spoke to the council is not the way to success with her new colleagues at the Teamsters.
“She may be wanting to buy a better home or have more money around to send kids to college,” said a city hall watcher who wished to remain unnamed.
“Maybe she is sensing the ship is sinking and wants to get out while getting out remains an option,” said another city hall watcher who requested anonymity.
Another informed local voice put it this way: “Wherever she goes. Whatever she does. She takes her secrets about Carlo with her and will never divulge them. Never. Not unless she one day must appear before a grand jury. That’s a moment when loyalty collides with reality.”
Mejia did not answer the Leader Herald’s request for comments.