I found myself in front of the TV at 6:30 pm and decided to watch the city council meeting. Here’s what I witnessed:
Councilor Caulfield moved to suspend the rules to discuss the city’s response to Sunday’s ice storm. It was a civil discussion with a lot of detail about strategies for treating snow and ice on the road. City Manager Lynch began by saying you can always improve your performance and he hoped that would be the case with this storm. He did point out that Lowell was not alone in sustaining icy roads and that pretty much every community in the region deployed equipment at the same time as Lowell. He also said that a truck can only sand one street at a time while the ice hits every street at the same time.
The council also voted to send the request to set the voting age in municipal elections to seventeen. Approximately a dozen young people spoke in favor of it and the council passed the matter on a roll call vote without any discussion. The vote was seven in favor, one opposed (Caulfield) and one absent (Broderick).
Chair of the Public Safety Subcommittee, Councilor Caulfield, gave a report on a subcommittee meeting from earlier this evening regarding safety and orderliness in the Pollard Memorial Library. The council learned that the library already employs a security guard who is on duty from 5 pm until 9 pm. The subcommittee found that most of the problems occur at 2:15 pm when school lets out and so recommended that the hours of the security guard be shifted to a 2:15 pm to 6:15 pm shift to cover the time the guard is most needed. Manager Lynch reminds councilors that the security guard was hired and his hours were set three years ago in response to concerns raised by the same employees, concerns that are also the subject of “collective bargaining” activities (by which I assume he means union grievances). Councilor Martin cautions the council not to circumvent the chain of command by reacting to complaints received directly from employees.
After a quick motion about bedbugs, Mayor Milinazzo reminded everyone that this was the last meeting of 2010 because of the upcoming holidays. He thanked his colleagues for a successful year which, he pointed out, was the mid-point of this council term. The meeting ended at 8:25 pm.