Here’s what the councilors had to say on the appointment of Gerry Nutter:
Gerry Nutter appointment. Move to approve by Lorrey, seconded by Martin.
Councilor Elliott comments: When he saw it on the agenda he thought it was a typo or a mistake. He thinks it’s a joke because no one can take this seriously. Election commission should be impartial people who don’t have a horse on the race. This person has a long history of negativity on his blog, bashing all kinds of elected officials and others. Elliott starts quoting from prior blog posts by Nutter that were critical of other councilors. How can we have a person on the election commission with so many “connections” to councilors and a close connection with the city manager. I think this pick is as far from professional as you can get. It’s pure political cronyism. We shouldn’t be rewarding bad behavior. To put this person in the election commission would set a bad precedent, that you can trash city officials and get a top appointment to a city post. He quotes something about a Nutter reply to a comment about STD medicine in regard to a woman who left a comment on the blog. I make a motion to send this nomination back to you, Mr. Manager.
Councilor Kennedy seconds the substitute motion. Leahy asks whether it’s a fair and accurate statement. Was that something that was actually said? Does the manager know? What do you do in a situation like this?
The manager: I don’t memorize what’s written on blogs. I’ve been criticized by Mr. Nutter but I move on. When I made this appointment, I looked at
Mr. Nutter’s demonstrated concern for the city. I think he’s of the highest integrity. To question his integrity is wrong. He’s a hard worker who is interested in serving the city. Do I agree with everything he’s written? No. But I’m confident that he will do a good job on the election commission.
Elliott: I don’t read his blog. I don’t spend any time on the blogs unlike you. Maybe instead of reading blogs you should be doing research on your appointments. I got this via email.
The manager: I do read just about everything out there. That may have been written but I don’t think it takes away from the fact that he’s a hard working, lifelong resident of the city.
Lorrey: I’ve known Gerry since 1980. He’s very active in the community. Has he taken shots at me? Yes but if you’re going to get in the ring you should expect to get your nose bloodied. Maybe he can answer some questions.
Mercier: Did you go to the Lowell Democrats to submit names?
Lynch: No, I did not. I don’t recall doing that for the election commission people I’ve appointed in the past. I did contact someone in the Republican city committee when I was appointing someone to the License Commission and to the Election Commission because, no offense to Councilor
Mendonca, Republicans are harder to find.
Mercier: How many did you interview?
Lynch: Six but several wanted to continue working on people’s campaigns.
Mercier: I wanted to support Gerry Nutter because I wanted to get him out of that blog. I’m thinking now that he’s going to resign from the blog but he’s not going to resign from the radio. I think it should be a neutral person. There are other bloggers that if you brought them here I would choke and would never support them but that’s not the case with Mr. Nutter. I don’t know which way to go. I want to know what he’s going to do about Saturday morning. I’m up in the air right now.
Kennedy: First off, I’ve been told that the Red Sox won game 3. On this, Mr. Manager, did you interview Mr. Nutter in person? (Yes). How many others did you interview?
Lynch: Five. I previously reached out to Cliff Krieger only because I know he’s a Republican. I didn’t reach out to the Democratic City Committee. No reason. I had advertised the position and had applicants.
Kennedy: Out of the five people, he was the best? (I believe so). I have nothing else.
Lorrey: I’m not familiar with those writings. I don’t look at the blogs much. I tend to get beaten up a lot. As I’ve said earlier, Mr. Nutter is here.
Martin: I wouldn’t consider myself a reader of the blogs but people do forward things to me. He has said publicly that he’s going to give up the blogging which is helpful. It’s not just the city council but the election commission runs all elections. And we have had a history of election commissioners who have been vocally partisan. I think it would be helpful for election commissions to stay above political discourse. I take Mr. Nutter at his word that he will refrain from this. The people who would be interested in this position would have been involved in politics but they’re also dedicated to the community.
Nuon: I don’t read blogs. I understand he’s been critical of me. But I think he’ll be impartial on the election commission. He’s only serving the balance of the remainder of the term so the Manager will have to bring him back and we can see how he’s done.
Mendonca: It’s tough when you have to deal with someone you might find objectionable, but I’m looking at the purpose of the job. The job is not entirely impartial because you have two Democrats and two Republicans. You need three of them to make a decision. As to Mr. Nutter, I’d rather have someone whose interests are known rather than someone who appears impartial but isn’t in secret. I see that he’s requested from the Ethics Commission an opinion on whether he can stay on the radio show and I trust he will abide by that decision.
Kennedy: I think anyone who goes through Mr. Nutter’s blog will find someone they don’t like. I think it’s a real reach that someone who wasn’t impartial in the past will all of a sudden be impartial.
Elliott: I was going to say the same thing Councilor Kennedy did. It’s not acceptable to criticize elected officials in such a venomous way. He goes back to the comment Nutter made about the woman he cited earlier.
Lorrey: moves to suspend the rules to allow Mr. Nutter to speak. Kennedy objects. Seconded by Mercier. On suspension of rules, 7 to 2 so it fails (two objections kill a motion to suspend).
To send it back to the Manager, it fails, 2 yes (Kennedy & Elliott), 7 no.
Original motion to confirm Nutter passes 7 to 2 (Elliott and Kennedy against).
Nutter speaks: He will do his best to be impartial. To address Elliott’s article, when I first started I could dish it out but I couldn’t take it. I apologized the next day. On WCAP, I’ve never used the radio to bash anyone because I’m a guest on someone else’s show but if the Ethics Commission rules I should cease that, I will. Thank you.