Pandemic out of mind, but cases rising again

People in the hallways of the newly reopened Everett City Hall September 28, 2020 in Everett, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Politics push Covid-19 off stage

By JOSH RESNEK

For the first time since March, city hall reopened to the public Monday morning to a strict regimen of allowing only 25 people to congregate at social distancing intervals on the first floor only.

The first floor is open from 8am – 12pm.

After that, those needing to access services from city hall must use the service window. Visitors must sign in and out. Masks must be worn at all times.

With the presidential debate and President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court dominating the nation’s news window, Coronavirus concerns have pushed back from primacy to secondary status for millions of Americans, and this includes residents of Massachusetts and Everett.

The beginning of this week saw a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Everett.

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Council meets in person at city hall for first time since pandemic struck

By JOSH RESNEK

Not all city councilors wore face masks at Monday night’s city council meeting, the first inside city hall in almost six months.

Not all the councilors were present.

Those who participated there sat far apart from one another, social distancing with vigor.

The chamber was disinfected with a spray before the meeting.

The large and airy city council chamber caused more than several members to ditch their masks for the relative safety they felt social distancing. Councilors sat at least eight feet apart.

Councilor at Large John Hanlon wore a face mask, as did Councilors Fred Capone, Peter Napolitano and Stephanie Martins.

Council President Rosa DeFlorio, Councilors Wayne Matewsky, Mike Marchese, Jimmy Tri Le and Mike McLaughlin arrived with face masks on but took them off for the meeting.

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Layoffs, cuts crush morale

Everett City Hall. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Mayor warns employees to stay quiet on cuts

By JOSH RESNEK

The mayor is showing the leadership qualities of a Donald Trump taking a $14,000 pay raise, telling those who question him that he was forced to take it, and then warning those who have been laid off by him from city employment or had their salaries cut drastically, to keep their mouths shut.

The layoffs and salary cuts over the past two weeks have caused a tidal wave of bad feeling among those affected.

Despite the mayor’s admonition that no one laid off or whose salary has been cut should speak publicly about their plight, that has not stopped most of them from doing so.

“The morale is as low as I’ve experienced it in twelve years,” said a city hall official who told the Leader “I’m not afraid of the mayor or of what he might do to me. I’m heading elsewhere,” he said.

Several businessmen told the Leader Herald they were surprised the city was so short of cash that so many salaries had to be cut and so many had to be laid off.

“This reveals how little he really knows about running the city,” said a prominent businessman of the mayor. “It should be an embarrassment to him and to everyone working for the city that the city is left with so little in financial resources that the only way to save money is to cut city services drastically.”

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Loyal lieutenant’s hard work repaid with slashed salary

By JOSH RESNEK

Let’s face it, no one working for the city except for police officers putting their lives on the line with gun toting criminals or firefighters risking their lives to save those trapped inside burning buildings, not many city employees are going to die of heart attacks from overwork or from dangerous encounters.

There are some in city government who do more than their fair share.

One of those is the mayor’s chief of staff, Kevin O’Donnell.

He can be tough. He knows his place. He quietly and efficiently carries out the mayor’s requests whatever they are whenever he makes them.

He is one of the mayor’s most loyal lieutenants. O’Donnell’s position is demanding. It is also frustrating. In the absence of a mayor who works, the day to day job of putting out fires inside the mayor’s office often falls onto his shoulders.

That is not only the work, but the responsibility of the administration to meet the demands of residents and taxpayers who go to the mayor’s office wanting something, nearly every hour of every day, only to find them mayor isn’t there.

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30 clerical employees face layoffs

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Everett City Hall Broadway entrance. (Photos by JIM MAHONEY)

BY JOSH RESNEK

The beginning of what is expected to be a ravaging of city employees in a wide array of coming layoffs because of a major cash deficiency for the upcoming budget has begun.

City hall announced that at least 30 clerical employees from a variety of departments are scheduled for layoff almost immediately.

The city, through its city solicitor, has informed Teamsters 25, the bargaining agent for those employees losing their jobs of the anticipated layoffs.

The union replied to the city solicitor seeking added information in order to properly represent their membership.

The city suggested a series of dates to discuss the layoffs to take place before July 1.

Continue reading 30 clerical employees face layoffs