City Council Meeting: January 21, 2014

CC Rourke asks to have Executive Session (to discuss with the manger his staying beyond his stated resignation date) vote taken out of order and have it held early in the meeting. Mayor Elliott relinquishes the chair and says he will oppose going into executive session. Says “we’re kind of being held hostage” by the manager. Wants to move on. If there’s to be a discussion, it should be in public. Milinazzo says he will support going into executive session based on city manager’s request to do that tonight. Samaras says having the executive session will help us move on. It’s time to have some closure and this will help that. Rourke asks Lynch if he still wishes to go into executive session. Lynch says yes. Belanger says any discussion should be in open session. Says he won’t support executive session. Leahy asks Elliott to retake the chair (but then Leahy doesn’t say anything on the motion). The vote is 7 to 2 to go into executive session (Mercier, Milinazzo, Rourke, Samaras, Kennedy, Leahy and Martin yes. Elliott and Belanger no). Council immediately goes into executive session; meeting will resume when they return.

8:20 pm council returns from executive session. Meeting resumes. No reference or comment on substance of the executive session. Several routine votes on leases.

Communication from City Manager to appoint Dr. Julia Hans to Green Building Commission. Rita Mercier explains that she did not support Councilor Rourke’s motion last week that the city manager not enter into any contracts or appoint any board members. She didn’t support that motion because there were contracts, especially union contracts, that needed to be signed. She says she did agree with the sentiment that no board appointments be made and she made a substitute motion that no new board appointments be made. Kennedy asks Baacke if not appointing people to Planning and Zoning Boards would adversely affect those boards. Baacke answers that some things require super majorities which is why they now have alternates for those two boards. That’s the case with the proposed appointment of Bob Malavich who is already a planning board alternate and this would just make him a regular member. With the zoning board, it has a full complement of members but no alternates. Mercier says “all of a sudden why is there an urgency to fill this?” “My motion stands.” Rourke tells Lynch he’s disappointed that he brought these appointments forward. He knows some of the people and admires them but he would prefer the new manager appoint them. Milinazzo points out that this appointment does not need council approval and so the substitute motion is premature on this agenda item. Elliott rules that the motion will not apply to this item but will apply to other items on the agenda. Milinazzo reiterates that the motion is out of order. Elliott asks solicitor for a ruling. Solicitor explains that under the open meeting law it should have been filed in advance and placed on the agenda. (She says it is out of order based on the open meeting law). She also says there is nothing that connects it to this motion. Mercier says she doesn’t appreciate being put in such a “precarious” position [i.e. she doesn’t want to have to cast a “no” vote against the appointment of any particular person].. She withdraws her motion and says she will vote no on the appointments.
Appointment of Salmira Mitchell to Library Board of Trustees. Mercier moves to “table” the communication. [such a motion is not debatable]. Voting to table are Mercier, Rourke, Belanger, Elliott and Kennedy. Voting not to table the appointment: Milinazzo, Samaras, Leahy and Martin.

Appointment of Robert Malavich to the Planning Board. Milinazzo moves approval. [Malavich is currently an alternate so he would vote anyway. If he is approved, then presumably an alternate would be nominated at some]. Malavich’s appointment passes the council unanimously.

Appointment of Michael Paglia to Zoning Board of Appeals. Belanger points out that the ZBA has five full members and only needs four for a quorum, argues that this appointment is not critical to allowing business to go on. Lynch pushes back that it would impede developments. This appointment passes eight to one. Voting yes are Mercier, Milinazzo, Rourke, Samaras, Elliott, Kennedy, Leahy and Martin. Belanger votes against.

Rourke moves for reconsideration of the Mitchell appointment. She’s a very good person. It’s unfair to her. I think we should vote on it. Elliott rules that it has been tabled and can’t be taken off the table. Solicitor rules that you could have a motion for reconsideration although like the tabling, it would not be debatable. Kennedy says that his memory is that any member of the council at any time could make a motion to take the item off the table. They proceed with other items on the agenda while the solicitor quickly researches this.

Report on special meeting. [see other post about Auditor selection process]. Regarding the manager’s position (which I missed), it sounds like they will mirror the Auditor process.

Belanger motion on manager scheduling a meeting with Trinity Financial. Says there is a lot of good going on “but on a lot of phases this project is behind.” Could you update me on the National Park parking lot transfer, Mr. Manager? Lynch: Making this transfer required an act of Congress. It’s now immersed in that bureaucratic process. Belanger: It sounds like slow going but back to the Freudenberg Building. I had a conversation with a local banker. They were slated to go in there but it fell through. This was slated for completion already. I’d like to hear from Trinity Financial directly about these delays. We’d like them to abide by those timelines. We have the ability to take this project away from them, correct? This project needs to go forward. We have to do whatever we have to do. If we have to get the local real estate community involved, so be it. What about the courthouse? Is it dead in the water? It’s lagging behind? Please do your best in setting up a meeting with this council and Trinity Financial. The show must go on. This is one of my spotlights citywide. Out in the neighborhoods, people are asking “what is going on?” with regard to Trinity Financial. Lynch says Trinity has done a great job when elsewhere in the Commonwealth such projects have fallen apart, citing the Filene’s project in Boston. Belanger keeps asking “what is plan B?” Milinazzo moves to refer the meeting to the Economic Development Subcommittee (chaired by Belanger).
Resuming the motion to reconsider the Mitchell nomination. Elliott rules that it cannot be brought back up at this meeting (with concurrence of Clerk and Solicitor).

Council adjourns at 9:05 pm. NOTE: No further mention of the outcome of the Executive Session re Lynch staying on as manager for longer.

6 Responses to City Council Meeting: January 21, 2014

  1. Paul Sweeney (AKA Paul@01852) says:

    Dick perhaps you could ask your father what the procedure would be on making summary of the ExSess public? I would think that a simple yes or no decision on an extension would be appropriate.

  2. Don Greenwood says:

    Lol Moran just tweeted the the council could not come to agreement with Manager Lynch – looks like March 10th it is.

  3. Gail says:

    A motion can be “taken off of the table” with a majority vote at the same session at which it was laid on the table. There are certain conditions, such as no other business is on the floor at the time. It can be moved to be taken off of the table by any member and requires a simple majority. It is not debatable. I am not sure what is considered a “session,” for city council meetings, but typically a motion on the table expires at the end of the next”session.”

  4. Mr. Lynne says:

    Elliott misread rule 22. The rule isn’t (as he asserted) a rule prohibiting the reconsideration of a tabled motion before a certain date – it’s a rule prohibiting the reconsideration of a tabled motion *after* a certain date. That is, the rule is intended to keep the pool of tabled motions from becoming a source of motion zombies that could reappear at any time in perpetuity.

    Jim was right. The new mayor sarcastically offered to read the rule again to Jim. Perhaps Jim should have taken him up on the offer and the error might have been caught.

    Because Elliott wasn’t sharp enough to catch it, we’re missing a Library person. It’s interesting that the council all agreed seemingly that all these appointments were ‘great’ but still wanted to stop them. (sigh)

  5. Jack Moynihan says:

    I actually watched this one, and this was an excellent summation (cleared up a point I wasn’t sure on). Thanks, once again, for providing this wonderful service to the community.

  6. Gail says:

    It would appear that Councilor Belanger does not understand that the courthouse is DCAMM’s development, not Trinity’s.