Mayor keeps raise while continuing to slash jobs, pay from behind closed doors
BY JOSH RESNEK
The mayor is determined to cut every city employee salary and job that he can except for his own because the city is facing a financial crisis.
At a time when the city is facing financial hurdles caused by the Coronavirus, when long lines form several times a week at the city’s free food distribution centers, the mayor has decided to keep his own salary increase and to make cuts to many other city employees relying exclusively on their city salaries and health insurance.
Against this backdrop of shoot from the hip cuts and layoffs to stem a widening cash deficit, Everett remains a city without a budget, unlike most cities in the Commonwealth who have budgets.
The FY2021 budget or continuing resolution or draft spending plan or whatever you might call it, is readily available on the website of most municipalities in the Commonwealth.
Not in Everett.
One month into the fiscal year and the budget document is as elusive as the Easter Bunny in January.
The Mayor’s policy of opaque city budget economics is in full force.
A front page Boston Globe story on Councilor Gerly Adrien following last week’s virtual city council meeting depicted her and the council at odds, with the council president calling her a “problem” who had been trying to destroy our city from day one.”
Those were the exact words of Everett City Council President Rosa DiFlorio as published in the Boston Globe on the front-page Saturday.
By themselves, they are a stunning affirmation of Adrien’s claims that the council treats everyone with respect but her – and that they have answers for everything except for what she asks about.
“I honestly think it has to do with me being a Black woman,” Adrien said. “What could happen if we let this Black woman change things or make noise? I’m getting a lot more popular and they’re acknowledging that. And I think they’re scared of it.”
“First Black woman on city council stands alone.“
The Boston Globe, June 26
At the last meeting, Adrien sponsored 14 resolutions and dominated a debate that stretched for nearly four hours, according to the Globe report.
A similar report was published in last week’s Leader Herald, highlighting the animus that exists between Adrien and DiFlorio and many of the city council members who make a visible and audible effort to segregate her from the pack.
When Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo in an epic battle that ended Napoleon’s career in 1815, the rain was to blame.
The battlefield was made into a muddy mess by days of rain, a situation that put Napoleon’s massive advantage in numbers to a test.
He could not unhinge him- self from his inability to move his troops, cavalry and artillery, in the mud to surround the British-Dutch forces who ultimately sent him into exile after destroying his army.
Here in Everett, and everywhere in Massachusetts where political campaigning is about going door to door, campaigning is changing before our eyes.
In the rep race, Mike McLaughlin will officially be facing the incumbent who filed all his signatures earlier this week.
Their race will be a test of the new normal.
For his part, McLaughlin has called off his campaign.
He has been seen all over the city helping out constituents personally, delivering food, aiding the elderly, getting out and about, and especially so at food pantries.
The rep has not been seen. He has not attended a variety of Zoom meetings that McLaughlin has attended during the height of the virus crisis.
Councilor Mike McLaughlin has suspended his campaign for state representative and he is asking Rep. Joe McGonagle to the same – at least until May, until the coronavirus situation has hopefully leveled off and things can return to normal.
“I have decided immediately to suspend my campaign for State Representative for the 28th Middlesex District. I call on State Representative Joe McGonagle to join me until Monday, May 4th, 2020 in doing the same. If a turn of events occurs in which Coronavirus declines we can immediately revisit this timeline,” McLaughlin told the Leader Herald.
“I would respectfully ask Representative McGonagle to notify the residents of Everett of his decision to join me through the news media. On the week of Monday May 4th or sooner if reasonably safe to do so both campaigns can revisit the situation and move forward accordingly leading into Primary Day on Tuesday, September 1st 2020,” McLaughlin added.
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.