By Josh Resnek
Last week, the big news about Everett was the lawsuit filed by embattled Superintendent of School Priya Tahiliani in federal court against the mayor, several school committee members and the city itself.
The claims: racism, sexism and discrimination with a dash of retaliation claims as well.
Her lawsuit alleges the mayor and others want her gone – and not because of incompetence, but rather, because of racism.
As a woman of color, she is fighting back after the city refused to discuss renewing her contract which runs out in 2024.
At a city council committee meeting last week, the chief and only matter up for discussion keyed in on the federal probe against the city into racism now ongoing by the US Attorney’s office and the Justice Department.
Witnesses will shortly be interviewed by the government, it was learned. Those witnesses will be present and former members of the government and city officials.
The city was seeking another $250,000 for funding to pay for legal fees being accrued as a result of the federal probe. By all appearances, those fees stood at $500,000 already paid and another bill for $98,000 due, and as much as $50,000 a month in new legal fees to likely be generated until June.
In other words, by June, the money paid for legal fees for the federal probe will total $250,000.
Paying the $98,000 bill was put off by the city council until a two week period passes.
During that time, Councilors Stephanie Smith and Darren Costa, wanted to be provided more information about what exactly the city is paying for, how it is being billed and where this probe is heading.
To that end, the council asked for updates and or more information on all of the above from the US Attorney’s office and the law firm of Greenberg Traurig and the from the city as well as a condition to paying the legal bill that is due.
The motion for the $250,000 the city was seeking from the council was tabled to effect that outcome.
At Monday’s city council meeting, as tepid as city council meetings can be, a succession of public speakers again complained bitterly about, among other issues, the refusal of the mayor to rehabilitate the empty Pope John school facility in North Everett to mitigate overcrowding in the city’s public schools.
Outspoken residents Maria Bussell, Peggy Serino, David Fortin and Wendy Poste, among others, complained bitterly that the mayor did not keep his word regarding Pope John.
She decried the overcrowding of the public schools.
“Everett is turning into a dictatorship,” Bussell told the city council.
At the end of her comments, the Everett Fire Department’s Administrative assistant finished off her comments expressing the hope she will not be retaliated against for speaking out.
Wendy Poste continued her battle with the city for justice wondering how and why sexual predators have been allowed to serve as firefighters.
Poste alleges she was raped by a former Everett firefighter while he was a firefighter and on the sexual predator list for another offense.
To date, the city has shown no interest in moving on the issue. For the past two years she has been taking her fight to the public for the city to create a new regulation forbidding sexual offenders on the state’s sexual predator list to serve as fire fighters of police officers.
Poste also asked, as did others during the public speaking round, about the long awaited estimates coming from the city regarding the cost of modular school units apparently being scrutinized for price, total cost and efficacy as a measure to remove school overcrowding.