Mimi Parseghian previews tomorrow’s Lowell City Council meeting:
In spite of a two week break, the Lowell City Council agenda is relatively light. But I have learned that the length of the City Council Agenda does not have a direct correlation to the duration of the meeting nor to the importance of the discussions and decisions.
This week’s Agenda has only one Motion Response. I have not yet been able to discern which of the Council motions requiring a report from the Administration have not yet been answered. During the previous Administration’s term, the City Council had requested that a list be kept of the “Open Motions.” Perhaps that should be reinstated.
The first agenda item is probably the most important one: “Process and Procedure for Selection of City Manager.” Although it has been reported that Senator Eileen Donoghue, if she chose to apply for the City Manager position, would have the support of the majority of the City Councilors, it is essential that the process be thorough and, more importantly, public.
I would like to hear the questions and answers posed during the public interview. Not only to evaluate the candidates but more importantly to assess the Councilors’ views and the dynamics between the Councilor and the City Manager candidate.
In answer to City Councilor Rodney Elliott’s motion asking that the City “joins a class action suit against the manufacturers of opioids,” City Solicitor Christine O’Connor writes: “In December we met with Richard Sandman, whose firm along with the firms of KP Law; Sweeney Merrigan; Rafferty & Proctor are representing a number of communities in the Commonwealth. This consortium of firms will collectively be representing the City of Lowell in this matter. In the upcoming weeks, Attorney Sandman will make a presentation on Lowell’s litigation in this matter before the City Council.”
INFORMATION FROM CITY MANAGER:
The City Administration is hosting a meeting of downtown businesses and property owners. The agenda will focus on how the City can better assist the stakeholders in improving a successful business environment. Along with City Manager Kevin Murphy, Department heads will also be present and participate in the discussion. The meeting will take place on Monday, March 5th between 5:30 – 7:30 at the Enterprise Bank Community Room.
The second memorandum is from the Lowell Police Department and it provides information on crime statistics. According to the data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), crime in Lowell has dropped 32% since 2013. The chart and accompanying graph do not provide statistics on the specific crimes. The data is an aggregate of the two major groups of crime.
There are 8 City Council motions on this week’s agenda. I appreciate Councilor Cirillo’s innovative motions and her fresh outlook. It adds to the standard motions that we are used to.
Councilor Kennedy’s motion initiating the eminent domain process for the new high school should generate a spirited debate. Will the opponents decide to speak at this meeting or will they wait to speak when the Council votes to launch the eminent domain process? Councilor Leahy’s motion regarding city-wide residential parking is of interest to me. I am in favor of discussing the issue but I am not sure right now if this is the best thing for this City. I will wait to hear the arguments in favor of this potential new ordinance.
Here are the eight motions on the agenda:
Councilor Karen Cirillo Request City Manager Explore Feasibility of Implementing “Paws to Read” Program at the Pollard Memorial Library.
Councilor Karen Cirillo Request City Manager Provide a Report Regarding Road and Sidewalk Upgrades in Acre; in and Around Mt. Washington St., Merrimack St., (Sizzling Kitchen) and Market St.
Councilor Karen Cirillo Request City Manager Provide a Report Regarding Spring Cleaning Procedures Throughout the City.
Councilor Rodney Elliott Request City Manager Provide a Status Report Regarding Inspection of Multi-Family per City Ordinance.
Councilor Ed Kennedy Request City Manager Instruct Perkins Eastman Include an Active Shooter Detection System (Similar to Methuen High School System) as Part of the Plans for the New High School and Recommend that the Superintendent of Schools Consider Similar Systems for Other Schools within the City.
Councilor Ed Kennedy Request City Manager Instruct the Law Department to Begin Procedures and Preparation Necessary for the Eminent Domain Taking of 75 Arcand Drive.
Councilor John Leahy Request City Manager Place Duren Avenue on Paving List for 2018.
Councilor John Leahy Request Neighborhoods Sub-Committee Begin Discussion Regarding Residential Parking Program throughout the City.