The election has passed and the lame duck session commences from now through the end of December. Depending upon how a possible City Council election recount turns out, in addition to the two councillors who did not seek reelection (Davis, Decker), two incumbents will not be returning in January (Reeves, vanBeuzekom). The atmosphere this Monday should be somber at best, but the business of the City continues. Here are a few notable items:
Manager’s Agenda #9. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt the zoning requirements that will allow a Registered Marijuana Dispensary as regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to be sited in Cambridge. [proposed text and maps]
Perhaps some people will soon be able to legally score some weed at the Fresh Pond Shopping Center or in NorthPoint.
Manager’s Agenda #10. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the Ames Street Disposition Land Report, pursuant to Chapter 2.110 of the Cambridge Municipal Code. [attached letter]
Manager’s Agenda #11. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt the Boston Properties Ames Street Zoning Petition.
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Aug 21, 2013 on the petition received from Boston Properties to amend the Zoning Ordinances and Zoning Map in the Ames Street area.
This seems pretty straightforward – particularly for those who actually believe in the need for new residential construction in the Kendall Square area.
Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to appoint a special committee, to be comprised of both City Councillors and of Cambridge residents, to take up the work of holding monthly conversations about the lessons learned from the Malvina Monteiro lawsuit, and about how the City can improve upon its internal handling of race and class matters as an employer, beginning as of the start of the next calendar year. [Charter Right exercised by Vice Mayor Simmons on Order Number Eight of Nov 4, 2013.]
I’ll simply reiterate what I said two weeks ago when this was introduced: "In accordance with the City’s Plan E Charter, this is a matter properly handled within the Personnel Department with the guidance of appropriate City Council Orders directed through the City Manager. If the next City Council chooses to again take up this matter in one of its standing committees, they are free to do so."
Resolution #9. Congratulations to the 2013 preliminary elected School Committee members and City Councillors. Councillor Decker
Yes indeed, but not everyone his happy about the fact that the City Council will be going from four women to just one woman. Rumor has it that some residents are already looking toward the next municipal election in 2015.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report for Nov 8, 2013 from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Government Operations and Rules Committee, to discuss City Clerk’s Office staffing.
Communications & Reports #1. A communication was received from Councillor David P. Maher regarding informal discussions relating to staffing in the City Clerk’s Office.
Apparently, in the aftermath of the election this committee wasn’t able to muster a quorum – hence the additional communication to report on informal discussions that took place in the absence of a quorum. One of the issues under discussion relates to a point that I brought up at a previous Gov’t Operations Committee meeting. The City Charter specifically states that the City Council directly hires just three people – the City Manager, the City Clerk, and the City Auditor. These appointees then chose their staff which includes such important positions as the Deputy City Manager, various Assistant City Managers (department heads), and the Deputy City Clerk. However, it has been the recent practice of the City Council to actually vote on the appointment of the Deputy City Clerk which is not really in agreement with the City Charter. The Gov’t Operations committee is now trying to clarify this and other related issues.
Communications & Reports #2. A communication was received from Vice Mayor E. Denise Simmons transmitting congratulations to everyone who ran for election in the City Council race and notifying her colleagues that she will be unable to attend City Council meetings for a period of three or four weeks due to recovery and recuperation from a medical procedure.
In the hectic atmosphere of a municipal election we sometimes forget that the candidates are human beings. We all wish our good friend Denise Simmons the very best during her recovery and recuperation. – Robert Winters