A WILD NIGHT AT CITY HALL

Ups and Downs, Twists and Turns, and an Anti-Climax

By Josh Resnek

There is an old saying that when your uncle puts $5 million on the table and tells you to take it, you take it and run.

Feb 15_City Hall
Monday’s City Council meeting attracted an overflow crowd of students, parents, and educators. The portion of the meeting dealing with the school department’s budget lasted approximately three hours. Below, Superintendent of Schools Frederick F. Foresteire talks to reporters.

That’s what happened finally after three hours of endless wrangling, passionate testimonies, city council jockeying and mayoral oversight.

When 10:30 p.m. arrived, the city council finally voted for the $5 million the school department needed to stave off more than 100 layoffs – and even though the layoffs have not been averted permanently, the vast majority of them have been put off…until the next crisis, that is, when the money runs out again. Continue reading A WILD NIGHT AT CITY HALL

[ANALYSIS] Councilor Mike McLaughlin Steals the Show with Passion and Intensity

By Josh Resnek

No councilor stood out quite like Mike McLaughlin did Monday evening at the budget hearing.

His performance was, by every standard of fair measure, over the top outstanding.

He received tumultuous applause from the huge crowd that packed the council chamber.

What made his performance so memorable?

Saying things like this:

“I was a special needs student as a kid. If it wasn’t for all my teachers and the help I got in the Everett Public Schools I wouldn’t be here tonight.”

And this:

“We have to do what is just and right and I don’t want to leave here until this happens,” he said forcefully, powerfully.

His passion and intensity was overwhelmingly and was impossible not to be moved by.

Although his colleagues refused to do his bidding – he had asked that the $5 million city council appropriation be given out in increments instead the whole thing at once – he caused a tremendous stir among nearly everyone who attended – and even his colleagues were amazed.

The mayor grimaced during McLaughlin’s sometimes long but well delivered responses to his colleagues’ suggestions.

Many observers believed McLaughlin’s sentiments for keeping everything the way it is played into Foresteire’s playbook and against the mayor’s.

“I spoke about what is right and just,” McLaughlin told the Leader Herald Tuesday morning. “No one told me what to say or how to say it. We must do the right thing to keep the schools whole. Layoffs are poison. I don’t want to see a single layoff,” he said.

Monday night he suggested that $7 million be appropriated by his colleagues.

In the end, his colleagues didn’t listen to him. But the crowd of 350 men, women and children heard him and were swayed by his passion and his honesty. It was quite a night for Michael McLaughlin.

The City is Flush with Casino Money: Why then Layoffs of Teachers?

By Joshua Resnek

When more than 350 men, women and school children pack a School Committee meeting inside Everett High School you know something is up.

This is what happened Monday evening when the School Committee officially announced the layoffs that will be occurring because the mayor says the city can’t afford to fund the schools. Continue reading The City is Flush with Casino Money: Why then Layoffs of Teachers?