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September 24, 2012

Councilors tell Auditor “You are staying!”

by at 6:19 pm.

I just finished watching the end of the Special Meeting City Council meeting on the future of the City Auditor Sheryl Wright. She is staying based on a vote of 6-3; surprisingly newly appointed City Councilor John Leahy voted against it and I will let you guess who the other two were. In my opinion, he should have passed but him quoting CC E. Kennedy signaled a position that my friend Jack already picked up on.

As soon as LTC puts up the video of this meeting, I will post a few of the City Councilors’ comments as an update I especially liked CC R. Mercier’s comments; for example that a list of complaints against the Auditor were not presented when they met with her a couple of months ago.

In addition to the constant criticism, Campi (is it Campi or Campy) wrote an editorial last week which was moved to the front page of their web site today. The editorial told the City Councilors that “City auditor doesn’t deserve new contract.”

The opening sentence of the editorial, which you can find on line and I choose not directly link to, states “The Lowell City Council should respectfully decline the chance to renew City Auditor Sheryl Wright’s contract and instead open a job search for new applicants.”

The majority was respectful and decides to open up discussion to renew her contract. By the way this is the last sentence of the editorial “And that is why the City Council should seek new candidates for city auditor. If it doesn’t, it would be affirming Wright’s subpar performance as its own.”

The talking points listed in the editorial are quite similar to those who lead the attack against the Auditor. But this attempted move is nothing more than a few dozen attempts of “death by 1,000 paper cuts.”

For those of you who are not familiar with that saying, my colleague Jack has given a name to the campaign to change the Administration (i.e. get rid of Bernie ), therefore the culture at City Hall, back to the good old days. I should add good for them, not so good for the rest of us.

Sheryl, I guess you have been adopted and are no longer a political orphan.

7 Responses to “Councilors tell Auditor “You are staying!””

  1. C R Krieger Says:

    Campy, as Campy would have it.

    Regards  —  Cliff

  2. George DeLuca Says:

    The Council seemed genuinely surprised by the auditors presentation of her accomplishments since she became auditor in 2007. Her work is solid.

    Councilor Kennedy opened with his position that he doesn’t believe the auditor’s position needs a contract. He made a valid argument, but realized that it may not be shared by other councilors.

    When questioned as to whether she would communicate more with the City Council (by Kennedy and several councilors), she assured the members that she gladly would, almost relieved to dispell any notion that she is reluctant.

    When asked if she would continue without a contract, she said probably not. When asked if she would apply for the position if it was advertised, she said probably not. These answers were compelling.

    Vesna Nuon’s question as to whether the auditor feels that she gets along with the City Manager was telling if not the tipping point. Her response that she gets along with everyone she works with was unrefutable in the meeting.

    The primarily complaint shared by several councilors was that she may have been lacking in responsiveness to various requests by the council.

    Councilor Mendonca expressed his desire to stay the course until the end of the current Council’s tenure. This makes perfect sense. Great progress has been made and its expected to continue.

    Councilor Leahy, Kennedy and Elliot shared their lack of belief that a contract is necessary for the position.

    Councilor Elliot tried to tie the auditor to the City Mananger in a negative sense, but the other councilors didn’t bite.

    I was disappointed in Lyle Moran’s inadequate coverage this morning. I was there, and found the testamony riveting. But the reporter was obviously inattentive, attempting once again to spin the proceeding in his crusade against the City Manager regardless of what was said by the councilors.

    Perhaps sensationalizing and grandstanding in the peanut gallery sells papers, but only temporarily. The Sun is going to be in serious trouble (if not already) if it doesn’t start reporting more objectively and with less acerbic seasoning.

    It would behoove the Sun to engage more reporters in the community, especially culturally diverse writers capable of providing an accurate portrayal of important proceedings such as the meeting last night.

    At any rate a change is needed in the Council Chambers. I hope Mr. Campanini will think it over.

    I was moved by each councilors remarks and sincerity in attempting to deal with this important matter. However, the special feeling that could only be felt by being in the room, was not conveyed by the reporter. This is a problem.

    Food for thought.

  3. Lynne Says:

    Thanks George, those are some thoughtful points.

  4. Mr. Lynne Says:

    What was that night is that there is too much political football and not enough governing going on in corners of the CC.

  5. Jen Myers Says:

    I would suggest everyone who missed last night’s meeting watch the replay once it is posted on the LTC website. The Auditor’s presentation was, as George pointed out, compelling. I would have led the story with “They were hiding deficits.” It is remarkable the mess Sheryl stepped into in 2007 and how she has worked to clean it up, which is not reflected in the meeting coverage, but certainly was in the meeting itself.

  6. Jack Says:

    Jen,
    While you’re here, I just want to clarify something about your blog, Room 50

    It plainly states:

    About Room 50

    Lowell, Massachusetts (est. 1826), hometown of Jack Kerouac, telephone numbers and Moxie is the fourth largest city in Massachusetts. Visit this blog, written by Jen Myers, aide to Mayor Patrick Murphy, to find out what is going on in the Mill City. Contact Jen at jenmyers@lowellma.gov. Blog post ideas are always welcomed.

    However, some are confusing it to be the official blog of The Mayor’s Office. There is an important distinction, which I know you have made. Could you give it another stab, for those slow on the uptake?

    The banner you employed on the homepage has flummoxed a few of our pals.

  7. Jen Myers Says:

    Room 50 is the official blog of me. I do write it from the Mayor’s office and in my capacity as the Mayor’s aide. The purpose is to provide information I think residents need to know, as well as event coverage, photos, etc. Obviously, given my background, my strength lies in communication and I will use that to its fullest to increase the effectiveness of the Mayor’s office as well as assist the office in building a better relationship with the community. As far as the Mayor’s letter is concerned, the Mayor emailed it to me at the same time he sent it out to other bloggers and the newspaper, at about 8:20 last Thursday night. Because he is my boss, I asked if it would be okay if I put it on my blog because I saw it as an important message I felt the people of Lowell needed to read. He told me putting it up on the blog was entirely at my discretion. So, I did. He did not, as was reported “take to” the blog to post it. Nor was the letter, which I’m sure you all have read in its entirety, any sort of “announcement” of the public safety subcommittee chairmanship.

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