Tag Archives: City Hall

Joe O’Brien bows out of Worcester mayoral race

Worcester’s Joe O’Brien has decided not to run for mayor again. On Tuesday, September 20, city voters will still be able to vote for him – as City Counilor at Large.

Here is the letter (citing the reasons for his decision) O’Brien emailed to his supporters.

– R. Tirella

***************

Dear Friends,

I am writing to inform you of my decision to not seek the office of Mayor. Instead I will only run for City Council At-Large.

This has not been an easy decision. I recognize that it will come as a surprise because I have already launched my Mayoral re-election campaign. But over the course of the last month I have come to realize that the pressures of running another campaign and then serving as Mayor for another two years would be too much for myself and my family at this time.

When I ran for Mayor two years ago I promised that I would be a full-time Mayor and I have kept this promise. In doing so, I created significant challenges for my family.

While I have been honored to the Mayor of this great city, I have struggled to balance the life of politician, husband, and new parent. My wife Lisa and I, in our mid forties, became parents for the first time of four year old twins from Ethiopia a couple of months after I took office. As everyone knows, while being a parent is joyful it is also a challenge. Our children need to have two parents who can commit themselves to their development and integration, particularly our son who has had some special challenges adapting. To do the job of Mayor right, the commitment required me to be out for many nights, weekends, and holidays. I don’t believe it is in the best interest of my family to do this for another two years. In addition, earning a part-time salary while serving as a full-time Mayor, in our form of government, has also created financial pressures that are not sustainable for our family at this time.

It has been a honor to serve the people of this great city as Mayor and it has been great to work with so many people to make s difference. Working with the City Manager, the City Council and our School Committee and administration we have accomplished a lot of great things, and undertaken some important initiatives. Today, two years after taking office, long planned construction projects are underway, our economy is growing, our city schools are improving and our neighborhoods are more stable. With extended office hours, neighborhood walks, the new Civic Academy, and almost daily visits to local community groups we have worked hard to engage the people of Worcester and bring a new sense of accountability to local government. The Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development produced a host of recommendations, most of which have already been implemented. We launched a Mayors Small Business Roundtable, and my office has helped lead a community initiative to improve the academic experience of our Latino students. I am especially proud of the work we have done together with our Immigrant and Refugee Roundtable to help our new Americans become fully engaged in our community. And we spent many hours working to insure that our working people have a voice at the table and that as we have grown our economy we have insured that good jobs were created for the residents of Worcester.  

I am proud of this record and I hope that with your help I can continue to support these efforts as a City Councilor at Large. I plan on working with the new Mayor to insure that many of these efforts continue and I will still be on the front-lines when needed to help advance our shared agenda.

I want everyone to know, as I exit the Mayor’s office, that our city is blessed with outstanding leaders in our City Manager Mike O’Brien and our School Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone. I have truly enjoyed working with them and I hope I will be able to continue to do so in the City Council.

Most of all I want to thank all of you for your friendship and support. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people who have helped with my campaigns and cared for me and my family. I could not have done it without countless people who have stepped forward to lend a hand and I will always be grateful that you helped me have the honor of serving the great people of this city.

I hope that we can continue to find ways to work together to make life better for the people of our city, state and nation. Some among us dislike politics, as if we could have good government without it. We disagree. For us politics is the way we turn citizenship into a verb. I hope we can continue to do our public work together.

Yours in friendship,

Joe

Mike Lavin and the City of Worcester retirees and double dippin’

By Rosalie Tirella

It’s funny, after my column ran (in our paper) re: cameras being installed at Worcester traffic lights to catch folks who run red lights and (potentially) cause accidents in our fair city or at least make everyone in town drive a bit more aggessively, we here this: Mike Lavin, a retired plumber/jainitor of the Worcester Public Schools and now the personal plumber of the Worcester Police Department (hhis son is a cop on the Worcester police force) was recently bitching about how he was oging to be asked to fix a ticket that one of his pals got when HE RAN A RED LIGHT.

Oh, the guy told me, I’ll just ask Mike Lavin to fix the ticket.

So, now Lavin, who is head of the city union of janitorial workers and ran for city council and thanks to the City of Worcester brings in over $90,000 grand a year and whose son, a Worcester cop who Lavin told me several years agto is making $90,000 after only being on the force for a few years is pissed. Pissed that he was outed!

Tough Twinkies, Lavin!

This is what you do: Doble Dip. This is what the Worcester City Council needs to stop: Double Dipping by the city’s retired municipal workers (school and city side).

This is the routine: People like Mike Lavin work for the city of Worcester and then retire in their early 60s so they can get a pension from the city that is 80% of their city pay check. They do this and then they end up working for the City of Worcester again – as a subcontractor, etc. So they end up getting two City of Worcester paychecks! Usually these jamokes bring in almost $1000,000 grand,courtesy of our city leaders. These pigs – and I mean Lavin – game the system: “retire” and then use their city connections to do plumbing or electrical work or plowing or working in after school programs.

This is wrong! If you are retired from the city of Worcester schools, plumbing department, you should not be able to work EVER AGAIN for the city of Worcester in that capacity. Let some young kid or better yet some minority kid just starting out get the partime City of Worcester job.

Lavin is retired! Let him go Florida and sip screw drivers to his heart’s content. But let’snot have him fixing all the toilets in the Worcester Police Dept/s headquarters, etc. Let ths City of Worcester hire somkeone else, some one who is not retired or in the system. Some one fresh and new! New faces are what we need! Not the same old retreads like Mike Lavin!

With the economy on the brink of a DOUBLE DIP RECESSION, THE CITY OF WORCESTER SHOULD BE TRYING TO SPREAD ITS BUCKS – THE TAX PAYERS’ MONEY – MORE EQUITABLY! Please Mayor O’Brien and Worcester City Councilors make a new rule: now City of Worcester retirees back into the system! Make it a point to hire new people so these plumbers, teachers, etc can make it in this touch economy, so Worcester can have a new crop of workers – new municipal part-timers or subcontractors who represent the city of Worcester – not hogs at the trough – people like Mike Lavin.

So for Lavin to whine about my wondering about him and fixed red light tickets just show you how entitled Lavin and these other hogs – fat with a City of Worcester pension! 89% of their paychecks! – are.

Change the rules Worcester City Council! Make it so that Mike Lavin and other city of Worcester retireees cannot work for the City of Worcester once they retire!

It’s the only fair thing to do!

Why won’t Worcester City Manager’s Christina Andreoli release public info to ICT?

By Rosalie Tirella

Like we have been doing for the past three or so years, we want to run ALL City of Worcester wage earners and their salaries. It’s never been a problem. But this time City Manager Mike O’Brien’s communications director/public relations person, Christina Andreoli, wants to charge us for it! $100 – $200! Seems like last year, when Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes requested the ENTIRE listing of City of Worcester worker wage earners and their salaries, she got the list – for free.

Recently, an ICT reader and I went to the City Manager’s Office at City Hall. We told Christina that we would pay as much as $200 for the list to be compiled by city workers (I’m guessing) in human resources. Well, Christina Andreoli, who at first said she needed money before the city could do anything, was now rejecting our money. She was now even rejecting our REQUEST to get the ball rolling.

Let’s cut the bull shit, Christina. We’ll be at City Hall next week – again (nice and fresh after the Memorial Day holiday) putting our request through – to you or Worcester City Manager Mike O’Brien, if need be. He won’t break the law. The Freedom of Information Act re: public information is on our side. We will give you the money if you want or we will fill out the necessary forms for you to begin the process and then you can bill us. You choose, Christina.

See you next week!

And for our web readers, here’s the email exchange between Christina Andreoli, Communications Director for the City Manager’s Office and me/InCity Times:

From Rose/InCity Times:
… We already ran the top 250! We need the rest of the list – all City of Worcester employees.

We had been running 2009’s list when I got the top 250 for 2001. We’d like to continue with 2010!

Thank you!

Rosalie T.

Reply from Christina Andreoli:

From: AndreoliC@worcesterma.gov
To: incitytimes@hotmail.com

We have not produced this document for 2010. There would be a cost associated with this request. The estimate is between $100 – $200 depending on how much time it will take.

Let me know if this works for you.Christina*************

Rose/InCity Times reply:

Hi!
Isn’t this public record? Free of charge?
Do I need one of our city councilors to ask you for the info – so it won’t cost us anything?

Best,

Rosalie

***
Here’s the last email from Christina A. to Rosalie/InCity Times before InCity Times visited City Hall (the people’s ha-ha) building to tell Christina YES! DO THE WORK! WE WILL PAY YOU the MONEY for the compilation of City of Worcester wage earners – the entire listing. (just like you did last year FOR FREE for a city councilor)

<strong>From Christina Andreoli to ICT:
[Rosalie], [i]t is a public records request and here is a link to information about the law. I copied and pasted pertinent section below.

http://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prepdf/guide.pdf

May the records custodian charge a fee for search and segregation of records?

A records custodian may charge and recover a fee for the time he or she

spends searching, redacting, photocopying and refiling a record. The per hour

charge for this process may not be greater than the prorated hourly wage of

the lowest paid employee who is capable of performing the task. Since a

records custodian must maintain all records in an orderly fashion, a records

custodian may not recover fees associated with record organization.

Please let me know if you would like us to move forward as we will not begin the request until I hear from you.

Christina
********************

Disappointed in Charter Communications …

By Rosalie Tirella

Let’s not talk about how it took Charter Communications – the area’s cable TV company – a half year to fix the problem with my mom’s cable service. Let’s not talk about how they no loner give her and other Worcester area elders the “senior discount” on their cable TV bills. Let’s not talk about how all my friends hate Charter’s high prices and have fled to “The Dish” to save loads of money and get great reception. Let’s talk about …

… how the folks at Charter Communcations can’t even get their government channels working, how, for the past two weeks, when you turn to the Charter govt channels (11 and 12) to watch the Worcester City Council or School Committee meetings, you get crap. A frozen picture, a pixilated picture, a voice-less broadcast. The city meetings are absolutely unwatchable – like viewing a very damaged DVD.

This is what Charter is supposed to “donate” to the city for monopolizing this market and gauging everyone?!

You would think Charter, which was recently on the verge of bankruptcy, would have the good sense to make good on the basics. But no! If anyone in Worcester – including yours truly – wants to watch any City of Worcester PUBLIC meetings (health and services, public works, City Council, etc) on their TV forget it! You can’t even make sense out of the city’s listings/announcements.

Pathetic! We are paying for this service – and not getting it!

I want my City Council meeting nights back! I want a return to the nights when I can visit my mom at her little studio apartment Tuesday nights, make her dinner, brew us two cups of coffee and sit down to watch my hometown in all its gritty glory. I take notes and report … . I chat with my mother who loves the company.

Charter is wrecking a family tradition! A boring family tradition, but a family tradition, nonetheless!

Letter to editor: Worcester should recount its write-in votes

I am a former Republican activist who changed to unenrolled when the pro-life plank was removed from the party platform.

I pulled a Republican ballot on primary day and wrote in Guy Carbone, Belmont for Attorney General, who I had also supported in 1990. I filled in the oval.

When I went to the election return website, I was astounded to see that there were no write-in votes for Carbone, in Ward 3 Precinct 4, where I voted.

Curious, I looked into the other write-in races and found a high percentage of write-in votes disallowed in Worcester.

In the AG race McKenna recieved 281 votes, Carbone 60 votes, discounted write-ins 513. And in the 14th House seat, they threw out 88 write-ins and only gave Don Motta 19 votes.

This does not pass the smell test; perhaps they only counted the stickers. Someone needs to look into this.

Brian O’Malley
Worcester

Maybe Cheese Whiz waz right about candidate Joe O’Brien!

By Rosalie Tirella

Maybe Cheese Whiz waz right! Maybe mayoral candidate Joe O’Brien is the Preparation H of Worcester!

Nothing like walking straight by a person who has just given great play to an op/ed piece written (or so your aides claim) by you (which I just did in my InCity Times rag) and giving her (me) the snub! Nothing like a frosty little walk across the room with a big bug up your ass, Joe! (I saw O’Brien at a local eatery a week or so ago.) This tells me: Hey, this guy, Joe O’Brien, has none of the class of … Mayor Konnie Lukes. He certainly has none of her warmth – and she is a warm person, besides being a fiscal watchdog. (The T & G and Blow Mag never make mention of this fact.) Continue reading Maybe Cheese Whiz waz right about candidate Joe O’Brien!

City Clerk David Rushford: The Marrying Man?

By Rosalie Tirella

Let’s see: the city is cash strapped, the state is cash strapped (until the new MA state sales tax kicks in!) and the country is searching for the bootstraps it needs to pull itself out of this financial hell hole. What better time for Worcester City Clerk David Rushford to add as much as $95,000 to his base salary of $131,000!

Meet David Rushford – Worcester’s Marrying Man. This Sunday we learned that Rushford, who is already closing the Worcester City Clerk’s office a couple of hours earlier than 5 p.m (creating banking hours for himself and his staff while still collecting the same pay check) has been making some serious side money ON CITY TIME and CITY PROPERTY marrying people.  He won’t say how much he charges, but thanks to yet another whacky Massachusetts law, Rushford, or any city/town clerk in Massachusetts can charge $50 – $95 every time he/she officially marries a couple.

You would think that the fee would go to the city or town. After all, the momentous event is happening in a city or town hall. It is being performed by a city/town clerk who is working at his city/town job in a city/town hall (thus collecting his/her city/town pay check). You would think with all the whining David Rushford has done about losing a few city clerks and not being able to perform all his work with the staff he’s got, that he would be tickled pink if marrying people meant more moeny for the City of Worcester. Maybe then City Manager Mike O’Brien could rehire some of Rushford’s city clerks he laid off earlier. 

Nope. The dough goes to the city/town clerk doing the marrying.

Last year, Rushford married 950 couples. Do the math: 950  x $100 = $95,000!

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS STATE?! HOW NUTTY CAN WE GO? WE (City of Worcester) LAY OFF CITY NURSES AND TEACHERS AND PARKS PEOPLE AND STILL ALLOW RUSHFORD TO MAKE AS MUCH AS $95,000. WHY DON’T THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS IN WORCESTER GET RIGHTEOUSLY PISSED AND WORK TO HAVE THIS ARCANE STATE LAW CHANGED SO THAT THE MONEY GOES TO THE CITY OF WORCESTER? Not our city clerk who lives in an amazingly huge mansion on Mass Ave – for being little more than a glorified secretary.

Insane!

Here’s hoping city councilors do something productive during their two summer meetings. Let’s have them petition the state to rescind the law or at least pass some local ordinance that allows the City of Worcester to collect – and KEEP – the fee.

$95,000 could go to Worcester’s parks, city pools – city kids. It could go towards public health, AIDS awareness.

It amazes me to see how Blow Mag and many city pols just seem to enable/excuse this bad behavior. Why? Because they know Rushford. Because they are all in the same boys club, standing in the same swill.

Pathetic.

How dumb can they get?

By Rosalie Tirella

Why is it that we have a plethora of yahoos on the Worcester City Council? First there is City Councilor at Large Frederick “Ric” Rushton, whose trials and tribulations I chronicle in “Dope-o-rama” – ’cause he’s so dopey. Whether Rushton’s talking about the “vortex” in his brain or browbeating his council mates with a half-baked version of some historical event, Rushton never seems to get anything right.

Then there’s City Councilor Joff Smith, who, when recently complaining about the Asian Long-Horned Beetle in sentences cobbled together with thumb tacks and dangling participles galore, took his moron-ness to an even higher level: During a recent city council meeting Smith said that some of his conversations with officials reminded him of “episodes of Scooby Doo.” Scooby Doo?!

For the uninitiated, Scooby Doo was a 1960s Saturday morning cartoon – the star of which was a goofy Great Dane named Scooby Doo. Scooby had all these silly adventures with four 20-something kids (they’re Joff’s age) – one of whom always yelled: “Scooby Doo, where are YOU?!” Continue reading How dumb can they get?