The mayor’s Blue Suit spoke with me again privately recently. “How was your vacation in Aruba?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“To tell you the truth, I was very happy the mayor went to Aruba. Do you know why?”
“No,” I answered.
“The mayor never takes me to Aruba!”
“You’ve got to love that,” I answered.
The Blue Suit laughed heartily. “You have no idea what its like to get a week off from him. Last year, I got about three weeks off, just for his trips to Aruba. There were other trips, too, last year. He went to Italy. That was another week or two or three weeks off for me. Frankly, I can’t remember all the trips he took last year calling them vacations. His vacations give me time to restore myself. When he’s wearing me, well, it gets pretty tough,” The Blue Suit said.
“What did he talk about when he returnd from Aruba?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“He talked about you,” he replied.
“What did he have to say?” I asked.
“It’s the same as before, only this time it was worse,” he added.
“How so,” I asked.
“I told you before, he hates you. He especially hated you writing about him leaving the city.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know the Paper Boy, Jerry Navarro?” the Blue Suit asked me. “The Paper Boy couldn’t believe you had the gall to catch the mayor in his disappearing act to Aruba when he should have stayed here to put the city into its emergency mode and then you wrote about it,” the Blue Suit told me.
Everyone knew the closure of the city was imminent last week.
What did the mayor do?
He went on vacation.
“It was an inopportune time for him to take a vacation,” said Councilor at Large Gerly Adrien. “Plain and simple – he should have been here directing emergency measures. He wasn’t.”
Councilor Mike McLaughlin said he was stunned by the mayor’s action.
“Can you imagine the leader of the city taking a vacation when a virus is shutting down the entire place? I can’t. The mayor heading to Aruba for a vacation when the city is burning down is something he will never live down. If I were running against him, his Aruba vacation would dominate the campaign,” McLaughlin told the Leader Herald.
“Can you imagine this mayor, any mayor, taking a vacation when the city is shutting down? I can’t. His actions tell quite a story about him and what kind of person he is.”
Councilor Mike Marches said the mayor’s vacation to Aruba was a slap in the face to everyone in this city fearful about what comes next with the virus and the city’s response to it.
When the casino opened at the end of June, the mayor delivered a tearful speech, speaking emotionally about the great sacrifices he and his family had to make to get this project done.
He congratulated Steve Wynn, whose disgraced name he recalled publicly at the opening affair. He said he was a loyal guy that he’d always be loyal to Wynn even though he has been shown to be a sexual predator by the Wall Street Journal.
A few days later, the mayor flew to Hawaii where he spent about ten days on what was ostensibly a badly needed vacation.
When he returned from Hawaii, it wasn’t a week or two before he hopped on a plane and flew to Italy, where he remains today vacationing for longer than two weeks.
During last winter, the mayor took at least four trips to Aruba for vacations.
During one of the longer stays on that island retreat, we published a cartoon in the Leader Herald revealing that the mayor treats Aruba as one of his mayoral offices.
At least one of those Aruba trips lasted two weeks.
The School Committee has approved about $552,000 in unpaid, accumulated vacation days for three School Department employees (one former and two still with the department).
These payments have brought to light the legalities of contracts, and of how a contract’s language, and then a contract approved by unanimous vote of the School Department becomes something as good as the law. In the case of all three of these employees, there is no question about their work ethic.
Two are at their jobs everyday and always go beyond the call of duty.A contract signed by the School Committee can be considered a law as that contract can’t be changed or abridged when all is said and done. After the fact, the School Department can make any and all the changes it wants regarding who gets accumulated vacation pay and who does not, how much it can be for and where that dance must be stopped, if in fact it is the will of the School Committee to take such an action.In this instance, we believe it is a good idea for the School Committee to require all School Department employees to take their vacations and to require as a matter of local law that vacation days can’t be accumulated over one year, five years or 30 years. The city’s financial condition requires that such a law be enacted.