Left In Lowell

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March 19, 2013

The Grooming of Pangi

by at 9:48 pm.

Has it been “four to five years” already?

From The Column, 9/30/12 (Archived Online)

STATE REP. David Nangle held a fundraiser at Ricardo’s Restaurant on Gorham Street several days ago. And the chatter was about a hush-hush huddle between former state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos , for whom Nangle used to work, and UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.

Meehan downplayed the conversation. He said the two talked about the many UMass Lowell building projects. Political insiders, however, speculated the political titans talked about Panagiotakos ‘ future: Specifically him becoming city manager .

As City Manager Bernie Lynch gets roughed up every Tuesday night, Panagiotakos has said privately that he would indeed consider the job, but he doesn’t want to be viewed as pushing Lynch out.

That’s in stark contrast to 2006. Following the departure of John Cox as city manager , the job was Panagiotakos ‘ for the taking. He did not enter the ring, thus opening the door for Lynch, the former Chelmsford manager.

Government has been divided since Cox was forced to resign by the City Council — remember the “six rats?” One camp holds Cox was treated unfairly, the other embracing change at the top.

Several names are circulating of possible managers to replace Lynch. None would be as welcomed by both sides of the divide as Panagiotakos .

Panagiotakos is everyone’s pol, and he relishes that. As city manager , that could erode starting day one. That’s why not everyone is buying into Panagiotakos ‘ alleged interest.

Panagiotakos is vehement: He’s not interested. “Maybe five or six years from now, but not now.” He repeated it several times.

As for Lynch, he’s playing with house money. He’s already passed six years on the job, an accomplishment particularly for a non-Lowellian.

“The clock starts ticking in this city on city managers at four to five years,” said one pol. “Bernie’s passed six.”

The manager’s contract doesn’t expire until the Aug. 2014. But with controversies in several city departments and several councilors beating him up every Tuesday, folks are wondering how much more Lynch is willing to take.

But Lynch sounded confident at the Lowell Plan annual breakfast Thursday morning, boldly proclaiming the “city is in excellent health and the prognosis is even better.”

Why leave? Lynch said he has no plans.
(bold mine)

I’m getting mixed signals from ‘the word on the street.’ I’ve got sources saying Pangi is beginning to get his ducks in a row, to make a move on the corner office. But others, in the know, say all is quite on that front. Palace intrigue can be agonizingly deceitful. :v\

Certainly, as the blurb above attests, Pangi is laying a crumb trail which leads towards the corner office. However, others will speculate that a cozy office over at Martyville is a much easier lifestyle. One free of the certain alienation that comes with the cleaver the City Manager must wield. Any hiring, contract negotiation or selection of a vendor cleaves friends from foe with every hack. Pangi, who holds a legendary status of ‘friend to all,’ can only gain enemies as he would run Lowell, forward or backwards, as the case may be.

My radar wasn’t even pinging for Pangi until after the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, last Friday. It wasn’t unreasonable for the ‘prominent Greek’ to push back at Mayor Murphy’s taunt. Though I did note Pangi’s words were rather torrid.

“For him to use a symbol of our immigrant story as a prop in a perverse ploy for a cheap laugh is insulting and belittling to the Greek-American community,” said former state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos. “There seems to be a pattern here of hostility to the Greek-American community.

Note: Pericles is an ancient. Could someone clue me in as to what the circa 400BC Athenian has to do with 19th Century Greek immigrants, please?

Murphy had that coming. But then this:

Ex-Lowell senator go-to guy for sage advice on politics, budgets
From political campaigns to budget crises, Panagiotakos is go-to guy

Holy Rollout, Batman!

We know that the Blog of Record is adept at fawning over Pangi. It’s rumored by ‘observers’ that Pangi Love is the only thing that Kendall Wallace and his stumpy compatriot, Campi, have in common. Be that as it may, today’s pucker for Pangi is so complete, so total, that some wonder if it was authored by a reporter or by a professional PR guy. Is GLTHS’s Mike McGovern auditioning for a new gig?

Now, some of you may argue that ‘Saint Steven’, as some of you call him behind his back, even needs a PR flack or any sort of a ‘makeover.’ I have to concede. Pangi negotiates the crooked, perilous politics of Lowell, fairly well. Or, as ally State Senator Eileen Donoghue astutely noted: “He covers both sides of the track, so to say.

You can say that again:

 photo KnightsoftheWrongTable_zpsf53c84a3.jpg
Knights of the Wrong Table

Ya! A good PR flack could come in handy, as Pangi gets things in order.

SJC probe: Probation Dept. rife with fraud
Lisa Redmond, 11/19/10 (Archived Online)

Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, who is retiring next month, is among the top 10 sponsors. However, only five of the 20 people he sponsored were hired or promoted.

“My career has been based on helping people,” the Lowell Democrat said last night. “Whether it’s finding employment or getting into school, finding housing or getting benefits, I’ve always looked at myself as a resource for those who ask. Those that I’ve recommended I believe in, and they were qualified for the job.”

I’m not convinced, that what I have presented above is an omen, should Steve Panagiotakos become the next City Manager. Whether it be 5 months or 5 years from now. Folks at this level of politics are very coy, adept at keeping their minions waiting for an ill gotten promise, left unfulfilled. They know the art of the linger.

Should Pangi become City Manager, there will be no cover provided by the distance to Beacon Hill. Every move he makes will be watched, scrutinized. With ever the noise of the displeased, echoing in the granite echo chamber of City Hall. The honeymoon will quickly end, as bitter patrons squawk in the SAC and Longmeadow.

Olympus will fall.

PS. For those of you focused on the previous citation that stated: Panagiotakos is vehement: He’s not interested. Let’s harken back to the year 2007:

The Column, 2/4/07 (Archived Online)
THE REAL story always wins out. After weeks of denying that he was interested in the UMass Lowell chancellor’s job, Rep. Marty Meehan finally fessed up last week, and was interviewed by the 21-member Search Committee on Friday.

The 50-year-old congressman handles the sharp focus of the press better than many pols, but in recent days he delivered his denials with atypical vehemence.

What is it about The Blog of Record’s enchanment with the adjective: Vehement?
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. - Shakespeare

PPS. I think Pericles would beat Shakespeare arm wrestling, but more people regularly recite the Brit.

16 Responses to “The Grooming of Pangi”

  1. Tax Payer Says:

    I know what could solve all this. The Manager could issue “Campi” a City of Lowell Parking Pass for Arcand Drive! Problem solved! The manager is doing a good job and its patheti that that one person with a vendetta has the ability to do what he wants by manipulating half truths into tabloid stories to the public! Good Day

  2. Jack Says:

    This notion that Pangi offers ’sage advice’ on budgetary matters is perplexing.

    Didn’t he bother to lift a finger to stop the fiscal trainwreck that WAS the policy of City Manager John Cox?

     photo Reserves.jpg

    Or, is this what Pangi advised Cox to do?

  3. C R Krieger Says:

    I loved the line “playing with house money.”

    As for the meeting between the former Senator and the Chancellor, I think that was the Chancellor looking for ideas on how to get Cliff Krieger off his back regarding the unfair difference in pricing for Continuing Education, Class Room vs On-Line, for Seniors and Veterans.  On-Line is the wave of the future and …

    Regards  —  Ah…Cliff

  4. Lynne Says:

    Love how we forget to mention that the “six rats” were right and that we were about to get in a shitload of trouble from the Dept of Revenue for our budgets under the former CM.

    But then again, Cox and Campi are like *this*. So I’m not surprised by the whitewash.

    Besides the weekly beating up (I bet Bernie was glad for a week off due to late snow), Lynch has a lot to be satisfied about his job. Sure, once a week the squawk squad act like morons, but generally, since they can’t get the votes of more than 2-3 of them to BLOCK anything useful or to DO anything stupid, it’s just squawking. Therefore, the city hums along quite well and Lynch is able to do his job. At least, with THIS council. Obviously the uncertainty is in the makeup of a future council.

    I DON’T want Pangy to get the job, now OR later. Sure, he’s pretty smart all told (for a pol) and was on Ways and Means which deals with the legislative side of budgets but that DOES NOT GIVE HIM the skills to run a city. I want someone who was a muni manager before, or someone who ran another large town, like Lynch did. NOT ANOTHER POLITICIAN. Not on my watch.

    Cox was a politician too. And his budgets sucked donkey balls. Some of that was waste, graft and abuse I’m sure. A lot of it was pure incompetence and total lack of actual experience.

  5. Christopher Says:

    Regarding Pericles, Greeks are very proud of their heritage and their contributions to Western Civilization, yes even going back to ancient times.

    Regarding the tenure of the Manager, how is it the tenure of area Town Managers can sometimes be measured in decades, but 4-5 years is the most one can supposedly stay in Lowell?

  6. joe from Lowell Says:

    Panagiotakos is everyone’s pol

    Pangi, who holds a legendary status of ‘friend to all,’

    Steven Pangiotakos is not a friend to gay Lowellians. When a group of right-wing Texans sued in federal court to prevent the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from interpreting the Massachusetts Constitution in a manner that recognized the equal marriage rights of gay citizens, “Pangi” joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff. He didn’t just oppose gay marriage as a policy; I could respect that as a legitimate policy difference, even as I strongly disagree with it. He joined with a Texan political group to deny Massachusetts’ courts the authority to interpret Massachusetts’ Constitution, if they were doing so in in a manner that would extend a fundamental civil right to gay people. He basically sided with a bunch of right-wing Texans against his state. BTW, the case got laughed out of court.

    He doesn’t just oppose gay marriage; he’s willing to take extraordinary steps to make sure that gay families do not enjoy the recognition of the law.

    Would the benefits of Lowell’s gay employees be safe under a City Manager Pangiotokas?

  7. Jack Says:

    @Christopher I can understand Greek pride. But, how does Pericles relate to the immigrant experience? That rhetoric is strained.

    @JfL I’m not doubting your report, but I’d prefer you provide a citation or some other “documentation.” It could come in handy, later.

  8. Mr. Lynne Says:

    Previous marriage/Pangy posts:

    http://www.leftinlowell.com/2006/11/04/look-out-anti-gay-concon-next-thursday/

    http://www.leftinlowell.com/2007/03/26/open-letter-to-senator-panagiotakos/

    http://www.leftinlowell.com/2007/05/29/repost-if-you-cant-vote-no-abstain/

    http://www.leftinlowell.com/2006/07/10/one-last-ditch-effort-for-logic-on-gay-marriage/

  9. Dan Murphy Says:

    I would think that Greeks and Greek-Americans that believe Pericles to be a cultural and political hero for his role in the evolution of democracy would not so willingly embrace another of theirs who has in some ways degraded it. Certainly, in a ideal and healthy democracy, neither patronage nor the scheme of registered lobbying have a place. And yet, the Former Senator has both in his history. In fact, across the entire Commonwealth, he was THE top legislator in the pay-for-play hiring scheme between the legislature and Probation Department, a fact which remains unreported by our local. Fully 100% of those who donated to him and were recommended for the Dept. got a job. Now that’s a legacy which begs the question, what would Pericles do?

  10. Lynne Says:

    Well, look how his pal Marty got him a nice job at UML…come on…we all knew that was coming when Marty got the job.

    Granted, the job Marty has is about gladhandling and fundraising and such, so maybe he was a good pick. Certainly he has the contacts and grease to increase the “rep” of UML in a way that (mostly) benefits the students (let’s not talk about the ignoring of the vast core of adjunct professors and whatnot…of course, that predates Marty but…). And I’ve interviewed Marty Meehan and he’s a smart guy, he’s no slouch. But Marty, Pangy, Cox…all cut from the same Lowell cloth. Some are cleaner than others, but they all remember their friends come crunch time.

    Not the way I want my city run any more, sorry.

  11. Tax Payer Says:

    Lynne I somewhat agree but connections = equal money and money is what every City needs. So i think that it can works both ways!

  12. Lynne Says:

    It comes at a steep price. No thanks. I think we’ve done pretty well under professional city management and I want to keep it that way.

  13. Tax Payer Says:

    Agreed Lynne. but there has been and still is a lot of money that came/coming from “those with connections” in the form of grants etc…You can’t dislike all because of one and you can’t dislike one and because of all. In the end the delegation is ALL on one team!

  14. Mike Says:

    I love that picture with Kazanjian, a massive failure by said delegation, that picture changed my feelings about Pangy, i thought highly of him before this pic came out, now he is just another member of the good ole boy network…..

  15. Lynne Says:

    I can dislike whoever I like. What kind of stupid comment is that?? Nangle is on my shit list. I like Donoghue (or at least, most of her votes). Just because Donoghue is good people does NOT make Nangle good by association. Nangle is the worst of the Good Ol Boy contingent and thoroughly awful on pretty much every single issue. Give me a break. Like he even DOES any work. Actually most of our Reps are useless…I don’t see them doing ANYthing around here. Golden is probably the one who shows up the most, but that ain’t saying much.

  16. Lynne Says:

    Remember, our Lowell contingent of Reps backed the LOSER in the last round of leadership votes for Speaker. Rogers. Who was even MORE smelling of corruption than our current Speaker who wasn’t fragrant like a rose by any stretch!

    Then they got moved to the basement.

    Yeah, wicked useful.

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