Lobbyist Registration

Thought that I would notify the writers at the Lawrence Eagle Tribune about “suspected” irregularity in lobbyist reporting for certain lobbyists in Methuen.
Heard nothing from them.

Here is a copy of the Massachusetts General Law. I applied BOLD to sections below.

And here is the State website where I found registration reports;http://www.sec.state.ma.us/lobbyistpublicsearch/

PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
TITLE I JURISDICTION AND EMBLEMS OF THE COMMONWEALTH, THE GENERAL COURT, STATUTES AND PUBLIC DOCUMENTS
CHAPTER 3 THE GENERAL COURT
Section 41 Docket of executive and legislative agents and lobbyists; educational seminars for legislative and executive agents;annual registration statements; annual filing fee; identification cards; advisory opinions.

Section 41. The state secretary shall keep a docket which may be in the form of an electronic database. All information required to be filed under this section shall be organized into the docket and shall be open and accessible for public inspection during normal business hours.

The state secretary shall offer educational seminars on the requirements of sections 39 to 50, inclusive, for all legislative agents and executive agents. The seminars shall be conducted in person or offered online through the state secretary’s website. All legislative and executive agents shall: (i) before registering with the state secretary and annually thereafter, complete an in person or online seminar offered by the state secretary; and (ii) complete an in person or online seminar offered by the state secretary upon any material change to sections 39 to 50, inclusive, or any regulations promulgated pursuant thereto. The superintendent of the bureau of the state house shall, upon request of the state secretary, provide at no cost to the state secretary suitable facilities for such seminars. The state secretary shall adopt regulations for the administration and enforcement of this section.

Each legislative agent, executive agent and lobbyist entity shall file an annual registration statement with the state secretary on forms prescribed and provided by the state secretary. The annual registration shall be completed not later than December 15 of this year preceding the registration year.

A client retaining the services of a legislative agent, executive agent or lobbyist entity shall also file an annual registration statement with the state secretary on forms prescribed and provided by the state secretary. The annual registration shall be completed not later than December 15 of the year preceding the registration year.

A client or lobbyist entity hiring, employing or agreeing to employ a lobbyist entity, legislative agent or executive agent after January 1 of the registration year shall, within 10 days after such employment or agreement, cause the name of the lobbyist entity, legislative agent or executive agent to be registered with the state secretary as provided in this section. Notice of termination of such employment shall also be filed promptly with the state secretary by the client or lobbyist entity.

The state secretary shall assess each lobbyist entity an annual filing fee of $1,000 to register the entity on the docket. The state secretary shall assess each legislative agent and executive agent an annual filing fee of $100 upon entering the agent’s name on the docket. The state secretary shall assess each client an annual filing fee of $100 for each lobbyist entity hired by them upon entering the name upon the docket. The state secretary may, in his discretion and upon written request, waive the filing fees not a not-for-profit client or a lobbyist entity which registers to exclusively represent not-for-profit clients.

Upon registration, the state secretary shall issue to each legislative agent and executive agent a license which shall entitle the holder to act as a legislative agent and executive agent for a client that has filed a registration statement pursuant to this section. A nontransferable identification card shall evidence this license and shall include the agent’s name and photograph. Each license shall expire on December 31 of each year. Out-of-state legislative agents and executive agents shall submit 3 passport-sized photographs to the state secretary upon registration.

The state secretary shall, upon written request from a person who is or may be subject to sections 39 to 50, inclusive, render advisory opinions on the requirements of those sections. An opinion rendered by the state secretary, unless amended or revoked, shall be a defense in a criminal action brought pursuant to sections 39 to 50, inclusive, and shall be binding on the state secretary, the attorney general or the district attorney in any subsequent proceedings concerning the person who requested the opinion and who acted in good faith, unless material facts were omitted or misstated by the person in the request for an opinion. Such requests shall be confidential; provided, however, that the state secretary may publish such opinions if the name of the requesting person and any other identifying information is not included in such publication unless the requesting person consents to such inclusion.

Lobbyist Update

So, I continue to read reports about the alleged Lobbying by my current City Councilor prior to the election.
The following articles are from the Lawrence Eagle Tribune.
Both on this subject.
Haverhill councilor: I was duped on pot dispensary
Scatamacchia feels ‘used’ by Jajuga, Fiorentini on marijuana dispensary letter.

Officials dispute claims by marijuana company.       Say they didn’t offer support for pot dispensary.

And an editorial;

Editorial: Jajuga’s work on marijuana dispensary raises questions

The jist of all this was that Mr. Jajuga through his company, Jajuga Associates, lobbyied FOR Healthy Pharms, Inc.

Healthy Pharms Inc, a registered non-profit Massachusetts corporation won a license to open a medical marijuana operation in Haverhill Massachusetts.

Haverhill does have a moratorium on such dispenseries.

Jajuga, who owns the consulting agency Jajuga Associates, said he was a consultant and adviser for Healthy Pharms. However, he declined to comment on the statements of Pillsbury and other public officials who questioned Healthy Pharms’ application to the state.

“When I do some work for a client, I really don’t discuss that work,” Jajuga said Friday.”

My simple question would be if he was a consultant and advisor to Healthy Pharms, why did he not list any work for them on his lobbyist registration to the State? I checked records for 2013 & 2014 and find no mention of Healthy Pharms, which became legal as a corporation in April of 2013.

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

Elected Registered Lobbyist.

Never heard this information come out during the pre-election.

So here for your Information….

I hope you realize that you can search for registered lobbyists in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Here is the web address.
http://www.sec.state.ma.us/lobbyistpublicsearch/

So I read the local newspaper and see that my City Councillor is a registered lobbyist.
I do a quick search and see the following.
Search detail for: Jajugaassociates,Inc
Registration year: 2014
Registration type: Entity
Address/phone: 146 Forest St Methuen, Ma, 01844 US / 978-807-0079

Client information Harris Corporation
Employed 01/01/2014
Details about your lobbyist or entity’s efforts
Jajuga Associates provides the Harris Corporation strategic direction and guidance in dealing with the Public Safety, Transportation, and Utility market sectors within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Will be interesting to see how the Council debates on these issues.

Scares me a bit that we have two registered lobbyists elected to our Council.

The second one comes up like this in a search (Lisa Yarid Ferry (Dewey Square Group, LLC)

Just thought you all should know about your elected officials.

Shame that the papers they are required to file with the City about Ethics and Conflict of interest are not posted on-line.

Guess that would be too much transparency.

City Council elects Atkinson to presidency

Just a head’s up.

I am the resident that filed the complaint in 2011 mentioned in the story below.

It seems as soon as the election results were in, phone calls began seeking support for Chair and Vice-chair positions.

Elected officials must follow the open meeting laws and announce this type of round robin meeting but council-elect members fall into a “land that time forgot” category of legal status. They are not ordinary citizens but are not sworn members of any government body.

This allows them to violate laws which they must follow after taking the oath of office. I found that most do not seem to have the ethical fortitude to forego using their unknown status in ways that would and will soon become illegal for them.

I filed a challenge to this activity but the Attorney Generals office declined to use their authority to create a legal status for -elect members of municipal government.

 

January 7, 2014
City Council elects Atkinson to presidency

By Douglas Moser dmoser@eagletribune.com

METHUEN — Second-term Councilor Jamie Atkinson unanimously won election as president at the new council’s first meeting since being sworn in Saturday afternoon.

Councilor Thomas Ciulla, also starting his second term, was elected unanimously as vice-chairman.

The vote followed nearly two months of jockeying for support that began shortly after the Nov. 5 election between Atkinson and newly-elected Councilor James Jajuga.

Jajuga said after Christmas that he withdrew his name from contention, citing growing business at his consulting firm, Jajuga Associates.

Atkinson promised greater cooperation between the council and Mayor Stephen Zanni. “I’m happy my colleagues have faith in me to lead the City Council,” Atkinson said after the meeting last night. “I think there’s going to be more cooperation between the mayor’s office and the City Council.”

He took the gavel from Councilor Sean Fountain, who served as council president last year and also won his second term in November. Fountain said last night he did not actively solicit votes or support for council president.

“I stayed out of it,” he said after the meeting. “If someone put my name in, then someone put my name in.”

Fountain said he received an opinion in 2011 from Peter McQuillan, then the city solicitor, in response to a resident’s complaint that active campaigning could be a violation of the state open meeting act.

Ciulla said he was honored for the vote, and again said he hoped the council would restart its search for an in-house city solicitor.

“The main reason I voted for Councilor Atkinson is in hopes that we will reopen the city solicitor search,” he said.

The council voted a year ago not to reappoint McQuillan as solicitor, starting a flawed six-month search process that ultimately did not yield a new solicitor. Several councilors said they could not vote for either of the two finalists because of the problems with the search.

Ciulla takes over as vice-chairman from former Councilor Michael Condon, who decided last summer not to run for reelection.

Both Atkinson and Ciulla were the only nominees for their positions.

Follow Douglas Moser on Twitter @EagleEyeMoser. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.

 

December 27, 2013

Jajuga won’t run for council chair

By Douglas Moser dmoser@eagletribune.com

METHUEN — Councilor-elect James Jajuga pulled his name from consideration for chairman of the City Council next year, leaving two candidates in a potentially close contest.

Jajuga, who was elected to his first term last month, said business at his consultancy has been picking up and he did not feel he could apply the time and attention to chairing the nine-member council. As of now, that leaves councilors Jamie Atkinson and Sean Fountain, who served this year as chairman, lining up votes.

“I’ve been very busy and getting busier and I don’t see a let up, so I can’t devote the time I need to the chairmanship,” Jajuga said yesterday.

Jajuga, who owns Jajuga Associates, had lobbied for support after the election last month, but said yesterday he sent an email to councilors bowing out of the race for chairman. He said he has decided whom to support, but declined to divulge the name.

Atkinson, who will start his second term when the council is inaugurated Jan. 4, said he has reached out to councilors asking for their votes for chairman, though he would not say on the record how many have committed their support.

“I would say I’ve gotten a good response,” he said.

Fountain did not return a phone message seeking comment yesterday.

Atkinson currently has four councilors – Ron Marsan Thomas Ciulla, Daniel Grayton and himself – who have publicly announced their support.

“The only person who has asked for my vote is Councilor Atkinson, and I said I would consider it,” Marsan said. “And I guess I will back him. No one else has asked for my vote.”

Grayton said he was looking for a change of tone from the last two years. “He’s going to be a strong leader. As chairman he’s going to promote respect, civility and debate. It’s something that’s been lacking over the last couple of years,” Grayton said.

Ciulla, who is looking at vice-chairman, also backed Atkinson. “He came to me first,” Ciulla said. “Jimmy dropped out of the race, but the kid has the time, and he wants to open up the search for city solicitor. He sold me on that. I definitely want a city solicitor. That’s probably the most important thing for me.”

Joyce Campagnone has also expressed interest in vice chairman. She did not return a message seeking comment.

“I’m doing very well. I think I’ll be very happy,” Ciulla said. “Hopefully my colleagues will put me in a leadership position.”

Jajuga is a former state senator, retired State Police lieutenant and former state secretary of public safety. He is one of three people, including Greyton and George Kazanjian, joining the council Jan. 4. Fountain, Atkinson, Marsan, Campagnone, Ciulla and Lisa Yarid Ferry won reelection last month.

Ferry and Kazanjian did not return voice messages.

Councilors Michael Condon, Jennifer Kannan and Jeanne Pappalardo did not run for reelection.

Follow Douglas Moser on Twitter @EagleEyeMoser. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.

Upon Return

I was inactive at this site for 1 complete year.
This was not an oversight but an attempt to comply with Federal regulations while I worked for the Government.
My career has taken a new path and I will be blogging here again about Methuen.
Hope you will tune in.

Quinn the Mighty…

The Supreme Judicial Court has issued an opinion.
Not this week, but back in March of this year.
Oh, you hadn’t heard.
No doubt with Unions negotiating with the City we have not heard a peep about it.
Headlines read: QUINN BILL – BAD NEWS FOR MASSACHUSETTS POLICE.
Not a sound in the Eagle Tribune Community.
They are owned by CNHI Publications, also owners of the Salem News, The Daily News of Newburyport and the Gloucester Times newspapers.
I understand that not all news in one community is interesting or relevant to another.
However in May 10, 2009 The Tribune wrote an editorial entitled “Our view; Don’t stick communities with Quinn Bill costs”.
One would think, when the SJC rules along those lines it would get reported locally.
Only the Gloucester Times reported that note.
In the story of March 11, 2012, “Officials weigh cops’ ‘Quinn Bill’ ruling

As reported on the website for Nolan Perroni Harrington, LLP;
The Supreme Judicial Court today (March 7, 2012) issued its long awaited decision in the Quinn Bill case involving the City of Boston and its police officers (Adams v. City of Boston, SJC – 10861–see below link).
The case at issue involved a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) provision allowing the City to reduce Quinn Bill payments in the event that the Commonwealth reduced its reimbursement to the City.

Basically, the Court has held that the Quinn Bill (GL c. 41, Sec. 108L) requires that Cities and Towns only pay 50% of the benefit due, plus whatever amount the Commonwealth contributes by way of reimbursement. The court determined that the employer was only to pay half, plus any amount they receive from the State.

Read Court decision

Will we continue to pay or …

Thought you might like to know.

Arbitrator gives back vehicles

You may have missed this in the press.
Also note that the Mayor never mentioned that his Executive Order was overturned.
Executive Order NO. 013-2008; Executive Order NO. 019-2009
Reported in Labor news throughout America.
Don’t you think it might be important to know in Methuen?
Copied from here
[http://www.lris.com/pslndocs/09_2010_08.html]

“Arbitrator Orders Massachusetts City To Return Take-Home Vehicles To Police Commanders

A directive from the Mayor of Methuen, Massachusetts removing take-home vehicles from police commanders has been rescinded by an arbitrator.

The evidence presented suggested that take-home vehicles were given to police commanders since at least 2002; however, the parties� collective bargaining agreement was silent on the subject. Local 17 of the New England Police Benevolent Association argued that this benefit was guaranteed through principles of past practice, while the City alleged that the cars were only a privilege, subject to removal at the discretion of the Mayor.

The case was set against the backdrop of the ongoing fiscal crisis, and a one-year side-letter of agreement containing several Association concessions.

Some six months prior to the Mayor�s order removing the cars, the City and the Association negotiated a one-year contract extension, in which the Association agreed to budgetary reductions in supervisory coverage and training. In addition, Association members volunteered to take unpaid leave and waive their contractual clothing allowance in order to save jobs. In return, the Association negotiated assurances that �no other superior officer contractual benefits or wages shall be garnished upon the successful acceptance of this agreement.� Removal of the take-home vehicles was not proposed during the side-letter negotiation. Six months after signing the side-letter, the Mayor issued a directive removing the vehicles, and the Association filed a grievance.

According to the Arbitrator, the evidence presented by the Association showed that �the vehicles were issued to the employees to enable them to perform the duties required of a superior officer. The assignment of police vehicles to these employees is necessitated by the nature of their positions � to enable them to respond to major incidents whenever they are needed. As such, the assignment of City-owned vehicles to command staff members is of mutual benefit to the City and the individual employee.� Moreover, the Arbitrator held that this practice was mutually accepted by both sides, was applied consistently for many years to the benefit of both parties, and was in effect at the time the current side-letter was negotiated. As the decision explains, �[T]he collective bargaining process is unique in that the agreement is executed in the light of the work environment, and the parties may reasonably expect that existing practices will remain in effect as long as the same working conditions exist.�

Despite the City�s argument that dire economic conditions justified removal of the vehicles, the Arbitrator held that the benefit was a significant enhancement to an employee�s compensation package that could not be removed by unilateral order. Because the Association established that the use of City-owned vehicles by command staff was a well-established past practice, and because it negotiated assurances that no other benefits would be garnished during the life of the existing contract, the Arbitrator ruled that the City�s Executive Order violated the existing collective bargaining agreement.

The City of Methuen and New England Police Benevolent Association, Local 17, American Arbitration Association No. 11 390 00139 10.

Thanks to Gary G. Nolan of Nolan Perroni Harrington, LLP, in Lowell, Massachusetts, who represented the Association in the case and provided LRIS with the text for this article.”

Your Budget

This has been going on for years.

Just because ” we’ve always done it this way”, doesn’t make it right.

Here is the City Council Agenda for next Monday, June 4, 2012. It could be any June in the recent past.

11. NEW BUSINESS

Resolutions:

1. TR-12-27 Resolution Providing for the Adoption of the Fiscal Year 2013 General Government Budget

Link to Resolution TR-12-27
Resolution as it appeared on May 31st.
Resolution Providing for the Adoption of the Fiscal Year 2013 General Government Budget.
WHEREAS: The Mayor has submitted a General Government operating budget for the period beginning July 1, 2012 and ending June 30, 2013, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 44, Section 32 o the General Laws as amended:
WHEREAS: Said budget as submitted and recommended by the Mayor has been determined by the City Auditor to be in compliance with Chapter 580 of the acts of 1980 (Proposition 2 ½) as modified by Chapter 781 of the acts of 1981, utilizing estimated equalized values; in accordance with the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts relative to full and fair cash value assessments, reaffirmed by the 1974 Sudbury decision; and pursuant to Chapter 797 of the Acts of 1979; now
THEREFORE BE IT ORDERED: That in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 44, Section 32 of the General Laws as amended and with the provisions of the Methuen Home Rule Charter, the Methuen City Council hereby appropriates and authorizes the expenditure, for the period beginning July 1, 2012 and ending June 30, 2013 of the General Government appropriations in the gross amount of $ , as recommended and provided for in the Budget Summary pages; said appropriation inclusive of fixed cost in the following amounts; $ for debt and interest; $ , for Non Contributory Pensions; $ for Contributory Pensions; $ for Employee Benefits Insurance; $ in Solid Waste and Disposal Costs; $ for County State, & Miscellaneous Costs and $ for the Stabilization Fund; for Restricted Use Appropriations from the Cherry Sheet. Provided, however, that said appropriations of the General Government Operating Budget shall be reduced from other available revenue funds know as Sale of Lots & Graves in the amount of $ ; from School Federal Grants $ ; from the Water & Sewer Enterprise Fund – Indirect Costs in the amount of ; from the Local Revenues in the amount of ; from the Cherry Sheet in the amount of ; inclusive of SBAB reimbursement of $4,851,449), and from the Tax Levy in the amount of $ , to affect the net General Government Operating Budget; and
BE IT FURTHER ORDERED: That a certified copy of said resolution be submitted to the Office of the City Auditor upon adoption.

2. TR-12-28 Resolution Providing for the Adoption of the Fiscal Year 2013 School Department Budget
Link to Resolution TR-12-28
Resolution as it appeared on May 31st.
Resolution Providing for the Adoption of the Fiscal Year 2013 School Department Budget
BE IT ORDERED: That in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 44, Section 32 of the General Laws, upon the request of the Council and statutory recommendations of the Mayor pursuant thereto the amount of $ , be and hereby is appropriated in Fiscal Year 2013 for the total support of the Methuen School Department. That said appropriation shall include an appropriation for the Net School Spending Requirement in the amount of $ , and an appropriation in the amount of $ , for Transportation Non Net, an amount of $ , for Community Services Non-Net, and an amount of $ , for Crossing Guards Non-Net, and an amount of $ for Building Maintenance Non-Net; and an appropriation of $ for Nicholson Stadium Non-Net. The Methuen School Department total appropriation of $ , shall be reduced from the other available funds known as Cherry Sheet in the amount of $ , and further reduced from the Tax Levy in the amount of $ , to affect the School Departments appropriation;
BE IT FURTHER ORDERED: That a certified copy of said resolution be submitted to the Office of the City Auditor upon adoption.

3. TR-12-29 Resolution Providing for the Adoption of the Fiscal Year 2013 Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical High School Budget
Link to Resolution TR-12-29
Resolution as it appeared on May 31st.
Resolution Providing for the Adoption of the Fiscal Year 2013 Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical High School Budget
ORDERED: That in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 44, Section 32 of the General Laws, an amount of , be and hereby is appropriated as Methuen’s share in the support in Fiscal Year 2013 of the Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical High School as initially recommended by the Mayor. Provided, however, that said appropriation shall be reduced from the Tax Levy in the amount of $ to affect the Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical High School appropriation, and
BE IT FURTHER ORDERED: That a certified copy of said resolution be submitted to the Office of the City Auditor upon adoption.

4. TR-12-30 Resolution Providing for the Adoption of the Fiscal Year 2013 Sewer and Water Enterprise Budget
No Link provided.

I have attached the actual documents.
As you read them note that they are devoid of any dollar amount.
They will be voted on at that meeting, even without dollar values.
They are not even in the form of an ordinance or resolution.
No one checks, no one reads, no one complains. Business as usual.
The general process is that because they require two reads, it is PRACTICAL to have a resolution for first read and then the numbers can be plugged in as required on the final reading.

Looks like a blank check to me. The Taxpayer should know what that budget will be.
The Mayor assured the Council at the last meeting he has a budget complete and ready to submit. So, why no numbers?

Mayoral Car

There are previous posts on the topic of  Take Home Vehicles and the policy for the same in the City of Methuen. Some feel that my “complaints” are small things and not worth writing, reading or taking any action over.

There’s a saying that goes,
Those who don’t know how to be grateful on small things does not know how to appreciate big things”.

The Writer and Founder of the Theosophical Society, W. Q. Judge, said; Remember it is the little things the work is done through.

Surely we all recall this little ditty.

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost—
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

After an appreciable period of time, I wrote to our new Mayor. After all, City Councilor Stephen N. Zanni agrees.(with the new vehicle policy) “I fully support this new policy,” Zanni said.

Requesting an explanation as to why the Mayors Car was not emblazoned with the Seal of the City of Methuen. The Motor Vehicle Policy, established by his predecessor was clear that all vehicles should be so marked. ( some exceptions do apply)

[Please let me digress for a moment.
I have written to the Mayor using his official email address. I have never received an acknowledgement that the mayor received any email from me. Word on the street is that the Mayor does not read any email addressed to him. He receives only "filtered" email from his staff. I guess the internet is not a door that is part of the Open Door policy.]

My email stated;

Dear Mr. Mayor,

I ask the question, why isn’t the car you use as Mayor marked with the City Seal as required by EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 013-2008, section 3.  “All vehicles owned by the City of Methuen shall be lettered with the City of Methuen seal, as well as having municipal plates.”

Thank you for your reply.

After a period of time I received the following explanation;

…the car that the mayor is currently driving is an old undercover car that we are recycling from the police department.  This car was not in the police rotation at the time and was the best fiscal option for the city, as per section three of the EO as it is an undercover car it does not need to be lettered and can have standard plates.”
There is a section of the Executive Order [EO] which does state;

section 3. All vehicles owned by the City of Methuen shall be lettered with the City of Methuen seal, as well as having municipal plates. All undercover, unmarked and surveillance public safety vehicles are not required to be lettered and may have standard plates.
I did not believe the Mayor needed an undercover, unmarked or surveillance public safety vehicle. He should have been excluded from the exemption.

I wrote back and asked “when will this car be returned to the Police rotation?
It has not been in the rotation for a number of years.
If it is, in effect, the Mayors car, it should be lettered and have Municipal plates.
When it is returned to rotation it can be properly designated as an undercover car again.”

The response was my concerns would be looked into.

This conversation took place in March. So I was waiting for some further response.

Then I looked through the Vendors Reports posted on the City website.

What a surprise to find the following invoices from January.
Keith Burdin Auto Cleaning

Account # 01-3575-5700-34766
Account Description Equipment Parts
Invoice # 3517
Additional Description Detail Mayors Car #405. See invoices.
Payment, Check # and date: $175.00, 119550, 1/28/2012

There were others, listed below.
3575-5700-34766
Equipment Parts
8688
Aligment for mayors car #405.
$40.00, 119546, 1/28/2012

Home Depot Inc.
01-3575-5700-34766
Equipment Parts
26854163713
Parts Mayors Car shop.
$14.75,119475, 1/21/2012

Caruso, Carmello
01-3575-5700-34766
Equipment Parts
303
Parts 405 Mayor.
$40.00, 119674, 2/4/2012

Because they do not list which vehicle is being inspected or insured, by any identifiable description,  in the vendor reports, it is not easy to determine when the Mayor’s car was inspected or insured and who paid for this service, the Mayor Office, the Police Department or the DPW.

It would appear that the DPW recognizes that the car in question is the Mayor’s car and not a loaned police car. I ask that the car driven by the Mayor be detailed per the Executive Order or returned to the Police Department for placement back into the rotation.
Ed. Note: Glad I didn’t have to determine if this car was donated to the City Police for a specific purpose. Would be a shame if the donation were being misused —by the Mayor. Wouldn’t that have been poetic justice…

Open

You may have noticed that my approach is to fix the existing problems and issues with municipal governent and then move on from there.

Here is one that begs for repair in an age of openness.

This is from the Municipal code.

Section 6-1. Authorization

Pursuant to the authority contained in Sections 108A and 108C of Chapter 41 of the General Laws, there shall be established plans which may be amended from time to time by vote of the City Council at a regular or special Council meeting:
(a) classifying positions in the service of the municipality other than those filled by popular election, those under the jurisdiction of the School Committee, the Mayor, and those for which incumbents render contractual services which are nor provided during regularly established working hours, and which do not appear in Schedule A of Section 7 following, into groups and classes doing substantially similar work or having substantially equal responsibilities;
(b) authorizing a compensation plan for positions in the classification plan;
(c) providing for the administration of said classification and compensation plans; and
(d) establishing certain working conditions and fringe benefits for employees occupying positions in the classification plan.

Section 6-4. Classification Plan

(a) All positions in the service of the municipality, except those excluded by Section 1, are hereby classified by titles appearing in Schedules A through K of Section 7 which is made a part hereof. These classes of positions shall constitute the Classification Plan for paid municipal services.

(b) The title of each class, as established by the Classification Plan, shall be the official title of every position allocated to the class and the official title of each incumbent of a position so allocated and shall be used to the exclusion of all other on payrolls, budget estimates and other official records and reports pertaining to the position.

(c) The title of a position which is held by an employee with a dual or a multiple Civil Service rating shall be that recommended by the employee’s department head, or by the administrative authority having jurisdiction over the organization unit to which the employee is assigned with the approval of the Mayor.

(d) Whenever a new position is established or the duties of an existing position are so changed that in effect a new position is created, upon presentation of substantiating data satisfactory to the Mayor, the Mayor shall allocate such new or changed position to its appropriate class.

(e) No position may be reclassified until the Mayor shall have determined such reclassification to be consistent with the Classification Plan. The Mayor may, however, when he considers such action to be necessary for the proper functioning of services, authorize a new classification and assign same to an existing compensation grade or determine the rate to be paid to an incumbent employee.

Section 6-5. Compensation Plan

(a) The Compensation Plan shall consist of Schedules A through K of Section 7 which provide minimum and maximum salaries or wages for certain of the classes in the classification. The salary range of a class shall be the salary range of all positions allocated to the class. If no range is provided, the single rate appearing in Schedules A through K shall be the basis of compensation paid to an employee occupying a position under the appropriate class title.

(b) Each employee shall continue to be paid on the same basis as in effect at the time of adoption of this ordinance unless otherwise provided in the Compensation Plan.

(c) No administrative authority shall fix the salary of any employee in a position in the Classification Plan except in accordance with the Compensation Plan.

(d) No person shall be paid as an employee in any position subject to the provisions in the Classification Plan under any title other than one appearing in Schedules A through K of Section 7 under the title specified by the Director of Civil Service of the Commonwealth based on the duties of the position as determined by the job description prepared by the Mayor.

(e) An employee in continuous employment in a class appearing on Schedules A through K of Section 7 shall receive the increment between his/her present rate and the next higher step rate as follows:

(1) After completion of six months at the minimum or entrance rate.

(2) Thereafter, one year from the date of his/her previous increase.

(3) The increase in rate which this increment represents must be recommended by the employee’s department department head and approved by the Mayor.

(4) The increase shall be based on performance of the employee during the preceding six month or twelve month period and not solely on length of service.

(f) An employee receiving a promotion to a vacant position or to a new position as defined in Section 4(d) shall, upon assignment resulting from such promotion, receive the rate in the compensation grade of the vacant or new position next above his/her existing rate. If the resulting adjustment is less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) on an annual basis for apposition class assigned to Schedules A through K, the adjustment shall be the second rate above the existing rate but within the compensation grade of the vacant or new position.

(g) The employee receiving a promotion and adjustment in rate pursuant to the provisions of the preceding sub-section may receive the next increment of his/her compensation grade effective following completion of twelve months at the rate resulting from the promotion.

(h) The employee who is transferred to a similarly rated or to a lower rated position for the convenience of the municipality shall enter the new position at his/her rate in the position from which he is transferred.

(i) Each administrative authority shall include in its estimates, required by the provisions of Section 31A of Chapter 44 of the General Laws, a pay adjustment section setting forth in detail the amounts which will be required for anticipated pay adjustments during the ensuing year and shall furnish a copy thereof to the Mayor.

(j) No department head, being first initially employed by the City of Methuen, shall be entitled to a retroactive cost-of-living adjustment for the first year of service in the City of Methuen.

(Ord. #641, Eff. May 6th, 1998)

Section 6-7. Reserved

Did you notice anything missing?
I would premise that this is an easy fix. My guess would be that it will not get fixed.