The mayor sought to head off the council’s desire to question him about why and exactly how much he is spending for a noted criminal lawyer’s representation at a contentious and sometimes chaotic meeting of the city council Monday night.
Using a ruse to have the council addressed by his lawyer, A. John Pappalardo, the mayor avoided speaking to the council about the issue nor did he allow himself to be questioned by the council about the disbursements from his campaign account to Pappalardo’s law firm, Greenberg and Traurig.
Instead, the mayor imposed on the council and demanded it to hear from his attorney, and the council did just that – despite a meeting scheduled on March 9 for the mayor to answer questions about the legal representation and its reasons.
Pappalardo shed little light as to why the mayor has been paying his law firm $6,000 – $10,000 a month for the past two years, and large amounts to other lawyers before that, except to say, “the mayor has done nothing wrong.”
Pappalardo said the mayor hasn’t been arrested, indicted or convicted of a crime. He isn’t under criminal investigation according to his reasoned judgment.
“He’s done nothing wrong,” he said again and again. “That is absolutely unequivocal,” he added.
He spoke with a strong, stern voice. He has the persona of a seasoned prison warden when pontificating to the city councilors about his client’s purity which was akin to a lecture given to prison guards by the prison warden while at the same time ridiculing questions about the mayor’s honesty.
He described the government proffer the mayor signed with the US Attorney’s office in 2013 the cause for a medal rather than for concern. He said the mayor was one of 55 local people investigated by the FBI who agreed to sign agreements to give information to the government. “ Innocent people talk with the FBI. Those who have something to hide don’t,” Pappalardo said several times.
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.
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.
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.