Let us start with City Manager Ed Augustus’ great plus: the development of downtown Worcester. He certainly has taken credit for it, and yet the evaluation of its success for Worcester has not been made. Many others had the foresight to see that the Galleria would be a failure when the Wrentham Outlets opened. Other city leaders wanted to reopen Front Street.
The issue of the development of our downtown and other areas of Worcester has led to the city’s Affirmative Action goals for construction jobs for city projects. No one in the public really knows how successful this effort has been. The City Manager’s office is not releasing significant or timely data. Also missing is: Where do people apply and what types of jobs are available?
The City Manager has taken credit for Affirmative Action through the hiring of Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Carter. The success of this office and the number of jobs going to unemployed Worcester residents has yet to be evaluated.
The City Manager, unlike some other officials in the state, has maliciously prosecuted Worcester’s Black Lives Matter protestors. The judge in the case said that the very premise of the complaint filed by Augustus was wrong. The judge ruled that there was NO criminal action. At least one of the protesters was found not responsible of even the civil complaint. The City Manager failed in this area of race relations. He also failed by immediately selling the Mosaic Center building, which has a long history in the Black community. This action was perceived as racist, as other unused and essentially abandoned City properties, such as the corner lot at Sunderland Road and Lake Ave. which are a hazard and an eyesore, lie fallow.
City Manager Augustus gets failing grades for snow removal. As a pedestrian in the city I ask: How is it possible that anyone can give Augustus an “exceeds expectations” when he cannot keep Worcester streets open and safe during a snow storm? Any competent executive can do this.
The issue of lack of transparency has been around for decades in Worcester city government. Augustus has again failed the City and its residents when he refused to release the report on the racist hate speech by a high ranking City of Worcester employee, Mr. Traynor. This is a reflection of the institutional racism in City of Worcester government. Traynor is one of the people who is supposed to accomplish the City’s Affirmative Action goals.
The lack of transparency continues into the Worcester Police Department where Chief Sargent has indicated that he has a policy for the City based on the “Broken Windows” theory. This policy used in other cities has resulted in racist practices such as “Stop, Question and Frisk” in New York City. When will our Police Chief and City Manager make known the details of this policy?
City Manager Augustus is quite ordinary in his bending to disparate impacts on Worcester’s “minority” community.