Council asks mayor to appear at hearing to explain legal expenses

By Josh Resnek

It is the big question hovering about the mayor’s daily activities that won’t go away.

Why is he continuing to pay criminal attorneys to represent him?

This question was raised at Monday evening’s council meeting, again.

The mayor had been asked to appear by Councilors Mike Marchese and Mike McLaughlin to answer about the need for criminal attorneys.

However, the mayor did not appear to explain himself.

“My colleagues, all of us need to know. What are the payments to attorneys for being paid from the mayor’s campaign account,” Councilor Marchese asked his colleagues.

“Are they for personal issues not allowed by the law? If this is the case, then he needs to tell us what it is, please,” he added.

Marchese suggested ordering the mayor to appear at a full committee hearing on the first Monday in March.

The motion passed unanimously by a voice vote.

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Asking the right questions

The city council has asked the mayor and or his city solicitor and his purchasing agent to provide the city government with some proof that he has in fact negotiated the sale of the former Pope John High School property for $10.5 million.

It is one thing to take the mayor at his word as the council did two weeks ago when it appropriated the money for the mayor to use without an agreement in hand.

It is another thing for the mayor to provide evidence that the deal really exists.

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Improving city hall Is the right thing to do

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The 2020 Everett City Government.

The mayor announced that city hall is about to receive a transformative makeover during his annual address to the city recently.

It is a makeover that has been long overdue.

The city hall structure itself is entirely out of tune with modern necessities regarding usage and light, meeting places and community accessibility.

Everett City Hall is ugly inside and outside.

For decades since being built, it has represented a bit of a time warp. It was built square and dull, without any sense of aesthetic, history, or of the future, the way kids used to build with Erector sets.

The announcement made last week and the drawings provided by city hall depicting the new and improved structure – at least outside – and what it is going to look like, are a vast improvement over what exists today.

What is that?

It is a city hall that looks like something out of the 1960’s, the rough equivalent of what a 1968 Chevy Impala would look like to all of us driving down Broadway today.

City hall’s look and feel, with the blue exterior and its undifferentiated dull and boring sameness, is almost hopelessly outdated.

What is the plan?

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To change how councilors are elected or not?

Newly elected Everett City Councilor Gerly Adrien speaks to the room during her election celebration party at Braza Bar And Grill in Everett, Ma on Saturday January 11, 2020.

By Josh Resnek

Councilor Wayne Matewsky said the way Everett elects its ward councilors under the present City Charter is undemocratic, a statement that drew the positive interest of many of his colleagues Monday night at city hall.

Matewsky’s plea for the city council to change how ward councilors are presently elected with a citywide vote to how it was done in the past, with only at-large candidates standing for election by a citywide vote, is considered sensible by most of the council and by voters in general.

The nuance is a wide divide, according to discussions among the councilors and for the city solicitor, who said she was awaiting comments and legal guidance from outside counsel as well as the Attorney General’s office about whether or not the city can return to voting for ward councilors with a ward only vote.

How to do it, if legal and right, is the rub, according to the city solicitor.

Because of the city solicitor’s caution, Matewsky’s motion was put off for a month for the city solicitor to receive the guidance she needs to make a legal and just rendering to the council on the matter.

“If you live in the ward and run for the seat, you should live in the ward and be elected by the voters in the ward,” Matewsky argued.

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The new council must ask many questions

We have a mayor who has said many times publicly that he’s owed more than he earns.

In other words, his salary is not enough of a reward for him to perform as the mayor.

His salary must somehow be augmented.

He proved this last year in a very public way when he harangued the city council into giving him a de facto raise of $12,000 for a car allowance he has not used to either purchase or to lease a car for all the driving around the city he told the council he is forced to do at his own cost.

He needs more than what is coming to him from the voters who elected him and from the city treasury that pays his salary, is what this implies.

With a mayor who believes his value to the people can be measured in terms of many dollars he does not receive from his salary, there is always the tendency to look for ways to earn more.

Another implication to this way of thinking is given more shape and form by an old friend who used to say as if joking: “The W-2 doesn’t tell the full story about the mayor’s income.”

The mayor’s very close relationship with developers, wreckers, builders, electricians, plumbers, landscapers, street pavers, trash removers should be monitored closely.

Continue reading The new council must ask many questions