By Rosalie Tirella
How demoralizing. How weird … .
A week ago I tried to make an appointment with Worcester Mayor Joseph O’Brien. Nothing controversial – just an issue near and dear to my heart. I told this to his appointment people – Ms. Gonzalez and Ms. Berthiaume. I told them both I was approaching the meeting as a citizen – this wasn’t an interview for InCity Times or anything like that.
Well, the ladies told me our mayor was soooo busy! He had no time for walk-ins (a la former Worcester Mayor Konnie Lukes)! He really had no time for day appointments either – as he had so many appointments! In fact, O’Brien was booking weeks in advance. And if I did make an appointment for 3 or 4 weeks down the line, I could be dumped for something bigger and better. Everything was so tentative!
The mayor’s staffers were really pushing for me to see Mayor O’Brien during a 15-minute span of time an hour or so before the city council meeting every Tuesday – his open office hours for the citizens of Worcester, the people who voted him into office. Just like his professor dad probably does at his college. You know the drill: professors always have office hours a few hours right before class – to save them the hassle of doing two jobs at two separate times.
The same for our good mayor!
Ms. Gonzalez and O’Brien scheduler Ms. Berthiaume told me the utra busy Mayor O’Brien only had 3 15-minute slots available each Tuesday and this week they werre taken. So if I wanted to come in at 4:30 p.m. I could wait around for the the gap between 15 minute appoinments – 10 minutes or so. First come first serve.
What bull shit.
This felt awefully insulting and we went around and around. I am a citzen of Worcester! How can our mayor be this unreachable?! Former mayor Konnie Lukes was easy to reach and meet with – for anyone! I told the women. And she was also a practicing lawyer in town when she was Mayor! They got defensive. Then I thought: O’Brien quit his job with Jim McGovern so he could spend all his time working as mayor of Worcester! Bust he can’t even meet with the citizens of Worcester!
I was peeved!
And then this sight: Last evening, about 5/5:30 p.m., on the corner of Highland and Main streets in Holden there is our Mayor Joe O’Brien – holding a campaign sign for his brother – another O’Brien who is running for state representative in the Holden area! There was our mayor in the rain, Vote O’Brien sign in hand, smiling like an idiot and talking with all the other O’Brien sign holders! Happy as a clam campaigning for his dear ol’ brother! He saw me looking at him and turned his back (I had no idea you are balding in back, Joe!)
So Joe: you ran LG Tim Murray’s campaign WHILE you worked for Congressman Jim McGovern. You worked for former state rep candidate Margot Barnet while you are in our mayor’s office. You seem to specialize in running political campaigns – just like an Axlerod or Plouffe.
So why are you Mayor of Worcester?
And why are we paying you almost $30,000 a year to NOT do your job as mayor and RUN your brother’s, Margot’s etc etc campaigns.