Tonight’s City Council Meeting (and Mayor Murphy’s statement)

After 90 minutes of citizen comment on City Councilor Rita Mercier’s motion to, among other things, hold a vote of no confidence in Mayor Murphy next week, the Lowell City Council adopted by an 8 to 0 vote a substitute motion by Councilor Marty Lorrey that said essentially that the Mayor meet with “the Greek community” next week and offer an apology. While the vote was unanimous, the support for the motion probably was not with some (Councilor Elliot most notably) wanting to proceed with the vote and others (Bill Martin, perhaps) uncomfortable with a motion that mandates something as personal as an apology. But, enough councilors seemed desirous of a way out of a vote on the motion to proceed to a no confidence vote that they all voted “yes” for this compromise.

If you weren’t there tonight or if you didn’t watch live on TV or computer, be sure to catch the replay on LTC (I’ll post dates and times and also the availability of the meeting video on the station’s website in the coming days).

I’m sure there will be further discussion here and elsewhere on this event in the coming days. For now, here’s the statement that Mayor Murphy issued earlier today:

I write to you from my hospital room in the early hours of this morning. A lot of thoughts have been bouncing round my head the last few weeks, and yet I’ve had little time to sneak away and put them to paper.

I first entered politics because of family. I was lucky to have the example of my grandfather, George B. Murphy, who sat in the Council chambers decades before me, and who stood up for the people of his neighborhood–the Flats–and fought for those in Lowell like them, who had little and had been left out. Were it not for my family, I would not be in public life. My mother and father, brother and sister, and sister-in-law worked so hard to give me the opportunity to serve and gave me all the love and support I needed to do it.

As it has been my honor to represent you both as a councilor and now mayor, I have sought to make the most of your trust in me. As a fellow human being, I have come up short again and again. Mostly I am not interested in the pomp of the office or in becoming a great politician, but have been focused instead on becoming a better policymaker. Having endured a lot of nonsense over the last year, I certainly regret times where I might have been outspoken about matters not directly related to policy. I have a straightforward style that I should not have let stray from what matters most. Many who know me can also understand that while I take my job very seriously, I try not to take myself too seriously and if, in the latter case, my actions or comments have offended any of you, I sincerely apologize.

Thankfully, Spring is here. The Lenten season has only recently come to an end. And in that spirit of forgiveness and renewal, the city needs us to move on to more important issues than these. We are part of this larger family, where we must respect and resolve differences in order to move forward.

Whatever fate the Council decides for me later tonight, I will abide by. As much as I have tried to include and involve more and more people into the political process, in our form of government the mayor is elected by his colleagues. I feel no sense of entitlement to the position; I have, however, always felt a sense of obligation to do the most that I can with the short time that I have.

I hope people can learn from this moment. I have, and yet I intend to continue in my own way over the next nine months to focus on substantive policy issues, particularly our schools, that will hopefully help you and your children for years to come.

To all those who have offered me kind words and support, I thank you for your confidence in me. I ask for your patience as I try my best to perform the role of mayor and the more important role as husband and father. It will surely be a challenge. Yet as I stare through the lifting darkness of this room and see the silhouette of my beautiful wife and two-day old son, sleeping together so peacefully, I am prepared to meet it. For I have all the confidence and happiness that I will need in this world.

3 Responses to Tonight’s City Council Meeting (and Mayor Murphy’s statement)

  1. Greg Page says:

    Bill Martin was excellent tonight.

    I thought he did an amazing job summarizing the citizen speeches. He was balanced but he never hedged — he made it very clear how he felt about the motion, and about the entire process that was unfolding. Hit all the important notes about style, his own experiences as Mayor, and the effect this motion has on the city.

    Definitely re-re-earned my vote this fall w/his words tonight.

    Overall, it’s a good statement about our city that we had pro-motion and anti-motion people interspersed throughout the crowd, and everything remained civil. Plenty of voices were heard from a wide spectrum of the population, too.

  2. Brenda Early Cronin says:

    After reading and hearing what went on a the CC Meeting last night just reinforces my decision as to why I not only moved out of the City but the State as well. Just moving one toke over the line into Nashua N.H. has made a world of difference. Lowell just keeps on keeping on with the same old rhetoric. No truth or consequences anymore.