The mayor will do much to defend his position in the coming months.
Everything his paid city hall staff is doing is exquisitely designed to promote the mayor as the city’s boss and king.
He can point to new parks and several which have been redone twice.
The painted bicycle and bus lanes adorning the street give the city a modern look and feel.
He can take pride in being a transportation wonk. He wants Everett’s new thousands of residents to take buses or to ride bicycles rather than to own cars and try to park them.
The many can point to many, many things he has accomplished.
The casino would be number one among them if it were not for persistent remnants of the licensing process floating about in political circles indicating strongly that the mayor may have charged a fee to get Wynn the former Monsanto land and the license.
Such a rumor, or if it is, in fact, a truth as asserted in court documents, is a black eye for the mayor.
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.
The part-time mayor has left the city to vacation in Aruba at a moment when the coronavirus may likely be impacting the city.
In what has been described as the most potentially destructive and deadly pandemic outbreak in 100 years, the mayor, your mayor, our mayor, has chosen to fly away from the city for a vacation.
As on old and wise friend used to say to me when I would tell him I am going on a vacation, he’d say: ”Son, how are you going on vacation when you’re on vacation?”
The same applies to the part-time mayor.
Maybe he will tell us that it really isn’t a vacation at all, but that he needed to be at the Aruba mayoral office he keeps there and that he is working hard every hour of everyday – on his cell phone.
Or maybe he went to Arizona to hang out and then maybe tale a flight to Vegas for a stop in at Wynn Resorts or the Encore there.
He has told us that he needs only his cellphone in his hand to be considered in charge of the city and its well-being.
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 national scandal allowing the very rich and influential to buy their children entrance into the nation’s most competitive colleges and universities has a strong Everett connection.
Abdul “Aziz” Abdelaziz, a close associate and friend of the mayor’s, worked side by side with him in Everett during the early months when Wynn Resorts was plotting the capture of a gaming license in Massachusetts for Steve Wynn.
At the time, Aziz was a vice-president of Wynn Resorts.
Aziz was indicted and arrested last week as part of the nationwide college entrance scam that ensnared dozens of well to do people, including Hollywood stars and multi-millionaires, who paid huge sums of money to scammers for their kids to gain entrance into more competitive colleges and universities. Continue reading WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?