Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

January 5, 2020

The Eve of Inauguration

Filed under: 2019 election,Cambridge,School Committee — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:02 pm

The Eve of Inauguration

City HallSun, Jan 5 – It’s the Eve of Inauguration of the 2020-21 City Council (10:00am start, City Hall) and School Committee (6:00pm start, Cambridge Public Library, Lecture Hall, 449 Broadway). Upon inauguration of the City Council, they will proceed directly to the Election of the Mayor (and then the Vice Chair should a Mayor actually be elected). There has been the usual chatter among residents (as well as some posturing of incumbents meant to suggest who might have disproportionate influence in the process) but other than the logic of those with high vote totals deserving an advantage in the selection, I have no specific information on how the vote will go. Often the person who is seen as delivering the decisive vote is rewarded by being elected Vice Mayor or getting choice committee assignments. I have attended these inaugurations every two years for a very long time and have generally found the mayoral maneuvering to be interesting, especially in trying to decipher which favors are granted to whom in exchange for votes. It would so much more interesting if there were actual horses being traded.

Whoever does end up with the five votes to become Mayor will then have the distinct privilege of becoming the 7th voting member and Chair of the School Committee. If the tone and focus of the upcoming School Committee is even remotely similar to the outgoing one, a prison sentence might be preferable to being Mayor. Perhaps with mostly new members things will be different. A Mayor who is capable of resolving differences rather than exacerbating them will help. Time will tell.

One City Council Committee appointment (by whomever ends up as Mayor) will be Chair of the Government Operations, Rules, and Claims Committee. We are now entering the final year of the contract with City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. The process of deciding whether to extend that contract or to seek a new City Manager has traditionally been shepherded by the Chair of Government Operations, though any route to five votes would be completely consistent with the Plan E Charter under which the Manager "shall hold office during the pleasure of the city council". As to the timing, the current contract states: "If the City intends to continue Mr. DePasquale’s employment beyond January 8, 2021, it shall give written notice to Mr. DePasquale on or before September 14, 2020, and initiate negotiations for a successor employment contract, which contract, if agreed to, shall become effective January 9, 2021. Absent agreement on a successor employment contract, this Agreement shall terminate on January 8, 2021." – Robert Winters

PS – At this time it appears to still be the case that Emily Dexter may not accept her election to the School Committee. If this does prove to be the case, her replacement will be officially determined later this month. I sincerely hope that this situation is somehow reversed, that the will of the voters is respected, and that a "teachable moment" is somehow recovered. There is an opportunity here for a new Mayor to actually show real leadership. Or not. – RW

City Councillors-Elect: Dennis Carlone, Alanna Mallon, Marc McGovern, Patty Nolan, Sumbul Siddiqui, Denise Simmons, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Tim Toomey, Quinton Zondervan

School Committee Members-Elect: Mannika Bowman, Emily Dexter, Alfred Fantini, Jose Luis Rojas Villarreal, Rachel Weinstein, Ayesha Wilson

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