Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

September 29, 2016

Louis A. DePasquale Selected as Next Cambridge City Manager

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government,City Council — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:32 pm

Cambridge City Council votes to make an offer of employment

September 29, 2016 – The Cambridge City Council voted unanimously to make an offer of employment to Louis A. DePasquale as the next City Manager at a special meeting held on Thursday, September 29, 2016. Mr. DePasquale will succeed City Manager Richard C. Rossi who is retiring on September 30, 2016. The appointment of Mr. DePasquale is contingent on successful contract negotiations. He is currently the City’s Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs.

The City Council also voted to appoint Deputy City Manager Lisa C. Peterson as Acting City Manager effective October 1, 2016. She will serve as Acting City Manager until Mr. DePasquale is appointed.

Additional information on the Cambridge City Manager search process can be found at:

Louis A. DePasquale was appointed Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs in 2002 after serving as the City’s Budget Director for twenty years. As Assistant City Manager, Mr. DePasquale is responsible for setting financial policy direction for the City; planning, implementing and overseeing the City’s operating and capital finances; and managing the City’s investment, debt service, and reserve policies. In his current role, he also oversees the management of eight City departments, is a member of the City’s senior management team, and has been actively involved in major City policy and programmatic initiatives.

Mr. DePasquale currently serves as the Finance Chair of the Board of Trustees of Cambridge Health Alliance, an appointed member of the Neville Communities, Inc. Board, and as member of the Cambridge Community Preservation Act Committee and the Cambridge Family Policy Council. Louis is a lifelong Cambridge resident and is married to Cheryl DePasquale and has two children, Kristen DePasquale and Louis DePasquale, both of Medford. He has been a coach in the Cambridge Youth Baseball Programs for 35 years. He received a Bachelor of Science from Boston State College and a Masters of Public Administration from Northeastern University.

Louis A. DePasquale

The City Clerks and City Managers of Cambridge

Special Cambridge City Council meeting – Sept 29, 2016

1. Offer of employment as City Manager to Louis A. DePasquale.   Councillor Toomey
Adopted 9-0

2. Appointment of Lisa C. Peterson as Acting City Manager   Mayor Simmons
Adopted 9-0

3. City enter into a contract with Elizabeth Valerio and John Foskett.   Councillor Maher
Adopted 9-0

O-1     Sept 29, 2016  Adopted 9-0
ORDERED: That the City Council make an offer of employment as City Manager to Louis A. DePasquale, conditioned upon the successful negotiations of a contract with terms agreeable to both parties.

O-2     Sept 29, 2016  Adopted 9-0
ORDERED: That the City Council appoint Lisa C. Peterson as Acting City Manager commencing on Oct 1, 2016 and continuing until a new City Manager is appointed and that during her appointment as Acting City Manager that she be compensated with a weekly stipend of $1,000.00 in addition to her regular salary.

O-3     Sept 29, 2016  Adopted 9-0
ORDERED: That the City Council request that the City enter into a contract with Elizabeth Valerio and John Foskett of the Deutsch, Williams Firm to advise the City Council in negotiating a contract with the prospective City Manager.

September 28, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 171-172: September 27, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 171 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 5:30pm. The main topic was the upcoming vote to hire the next Cambridge City Manager. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 172 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 6:00pm. [On YouTube]

September 15, 2016

Preliminary Screening Committee Announces City Manager Finalists

Preliminary Screening Committee Announces City Manager Finalists
Schedule for Public forums and meetings announced

City SealSeptember 15, 2016 – Today, City Councillor David P. Maher and City of Cambridge Personnel Director Sheila Keady Rawson, co-chairs of the Cambridge City Manager Preliminary Screening Committee (PSC), announced the names of the three finalist candidates being forwarded to the entire City Council for consideration. The PSC’s decision was unanimous.

The three finalists are:

Jay AshRobert “Jay” Ash Jr. – Mr. Ash is currently the Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Previously, he served in a variety of roles in the City of Chelsea, including fourteen years as City Manager. Mr. Ash also served as a legislative aide to Representative Richard Voke. He is a graduate of Clark University.

Louis DePasqualeLouis A. DePasquale – Mr. DePasquale is the City’s Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs in Cambridge. Prior to taking on that assignment, he was the City’s Budget Director, and also worked in other capacities in the City’s Budget and Treasury Departments. Mr. DePasquale is a graduate of Boston State College and received his MPA from Northeastern University.

Paul FetherstonPaul J. Fetherston – Mr. Fetherston is currently the Assistant City Manager in Asheville, NC. He has previously served as Deputy City Manager in Boulder, CO, and has held a variety municipal management positions in Connecticut. He is a graduate of Trinity College, CT, and received his J.D. from Western New England School of Law.

Note: Photos from Commonwealth of Massachusetts, NEREJ, and City of Asheville

A “Meet the Finalists” forum will be held on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, from 6:00-9:00pm., in the Fitzgerald Auditorium at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway, where members of the public will have an opportunity to meet and hear each finalist’s vision for the City and answer questions. On Wednesday, September 21, beginning at 5:30pm, in the Sullivan Chamber at Cambridge City Hall, the City Council will conduct public interviews with the three finalists.

The City Council is expected to vote to appoint the next City Manager during a Special City Council Meeting on Thursday, September 29. Each meeting will be broadcast on 22-Cityview (the municipal cable channel) and can also be livestreamed online at www.CambridgeMA.GOV. Those attending the “Meet the Finalists” forum and the City Council’s public interviews will be provided the opportunity to give written feedback to the City Council.

The PSC was appointed by Mayor E. Denise Simmons and was comprised of 15 community members reflecting citywide constituencies, and four City Council members. GovHR USA, the professional consulting firm hired to assist with the recruitment and hiring process, presented candidates for the committee’s review. According to Joellen Earl, CEO of GovHR USA, the Cambridge position attracted a diverse group of 55 candidates. The PSC conducted an in-depth review of 15 candidates, 27% of which were women or persons of color. The PSC ultimately offered interviews to 8 candidates. The interviews were held on September 12 and 13.

“This was a comprehensive well organized process to review and screen City Manager candidates for submission to the City Council,” said committee member Elaine DeRosa. “This was the first time that the City initiated a national search for the City Manager’s position. The committee worked hard to complete its task. I was honored to be a part of the process.”

The PSC members included resident representatives Peter Traversy, Elaine Thorne, and Laura Booth; large business representative Jay Kiely; small business representative Patrick Magee; Cambridge Public School representative Richard Harding; public safety representative Gerald Reardon; a person with demonstrated knowledge of municipal finance representative Fred Fantini; health and human services/public health representative Claude Jacob; person with knowledge of city planning/urban development representative Susan Schlesinger; higher education/institutional partner representative Kevin Casey; public art and/or recreational representative Ellen Semonoff; affordable housing advocate Susan Connelly; nonprofit community representative Elaine DeRosa; advocate for the quality of our community’s civic and social well-being representative Reverend Lorraine Thornhill; and City Councillors Leland Cheung, David Maher, Nadeem Mazen, and Timothy Toomey.

“The screening committee was an extremely diverse and well informed group representing a wide range of interests in Cambridge,” said committee member Susan Schlesinger. “The process was professionally conducted and we had a talented group of candidates to consider. “It was honor to participate with other Cambridge residents and I look forward to following the extensive process which will occur in the next few weeks to select the next City Manager.”

The initial interviews performed by the PSC were preceded by a series of community focus groups, public meetings, and surveys, leading to the development of a leadership profile used during the recruitment phase.

“It was an honor to serve on the City Manager’s Preliminary Screening Committee with people who are committed and passionate about the growth and well-being of the City,” said committee member Rev. Lorraine Thornhill. “The diversity of opinions that were expressed highlighted the incredible richness of resources that this City is known for.”

For additional information about the City Manager search process, please visit www.CambridgeMA.GOV/CityManagerSearch.

September 14, 2016

Cambridge City Manager Candidates will Share Their Vision and Answer Questions at Public Forum on Tues, Sept 20

City Manager Candidates will Share Their Vision and Answer Questions at Public Forum
Public Invited To Participate In Meet The Finalists Forum

City SealSept 14 – The City Council’s Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee, is inviting the public to a Meet the Finalists forum on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm in the Fitzgerald Theater located in the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. This forum is an opportunity for the public to meet the three finalist vying to succeed outgoing City Manager Richard C. Rossi. The meeting will be broadcast live on the City’s Municipal Cable Channel, 22-CityView.

City Councillor David Maher, Chair of Committee that is leading the search process, said “During this forum, each finalist will present their vision for the City, answer questions, and meet members of the public. This is a great opportunity for the public to hear directly from the finalists selected by the Preliminary Screening Committee.”

A Preliminary Screening Committee, comprised of 15 community members reflecting citywide constituencies and four City Council members, has been interviewing the most qualified applicants and is recommending the three finalists to the City Council. The names of the finalists are expected to be released by Thursday, September 15, 2016.

The public can submit suggested candidate questions to the Committee until to noon on Monday, September 19. Based on the submissions received, GovHR USA, the professional recruiting consultant assisting the City Council with the hiring process, will generate questions based on the themes submitted by the public. Suggested questions can be emailed to

Following the formal presentation and question part of the program, the finalists will be on hand to answer individual questions from members of the public.

For additional information or questions about the Meet the Finalists forum, please contact Fran Cronin, at 617-349-4276 or For information on the City Manager Search Process, please visit www.CambridgeMA.GOV/CityManagerSearch.

Note: There’s also this Special City Council meeting the following day:

Wed, Sept 21

5:30pm   Special City Council Meeting to publicly interview finalists for the position of City Manager, the City Council may meet in Executive Session to conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with the prospective City Manager or to conduct contract negotiations with the prospective City Manager.  (Sullivan Chamber)

May 8, 2014

FY2015 Budget Notes – and a comment on political patronage

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government,City Council — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 2:26 pm

FY2015 Budget Notes – and a comment on political patronage

The first round of the City Council’s FY2015 Budget hearings took barely more than 3 hours today. After a brief (and accurate) statement by Councillor Craig Kelley opposing a proposal to convert the personal assistants for individual councillors into full-time (patronage) jobs, the only departments to have their budgets pulled for further discussion were: (1) Law Department, (2) Information Technology, (3) Public Celebrations, (4) Traffic, Parking & Transportation, (5) Inspectional Services, and (6) License Commission. Most of the inquiries from councillors were brief, and much of the commentary was more like expressions of thanks for how well these departments operate.

The FY2015 Budget Book lists 2 full-time staff positions for the City Council, but the City Council budget includes $1,386,180 to cover the salaries of the city councillors and their aides. These personal aide jobs first appeared in 2006 as part-time positions (without benefits) within the Mayor’s Office budget, but were later shifted to the City Council budget. From the start, almost all of these the jobs were given to individuals connected to the political campaigns of the councillors. Only Councillor Kelley has resisted the patronage urge and operates without a personal aide.

This topic was the first matter discussed at the Government Operations Committee meeting on Tues, May 6. The recommendation of the committee was never really in doubt – of course they want to grant themselves additional political privilege (at taxpayer expense). The City Council apparently is choosing to ignore the fact that the Plan E Charter explicitly says that the City Council can hire exactly 3 positions: City Manager, City Clerk, and City Auditor. Some will argue that it is not the councillors who are appointing the aides, but the councillors choose them, and it’s inconceivable that City staff would ever deny any councillor their personal choice. There are no public postings for these positions, and none of them are subject to the usual range of requirements of other City employees.

It’s always entertaining (and equally aggravating) to hear councillors testify about how much work they do and how they absolutely need more and more staff. So many birthday resolutions, so little time. By the way, almost all of the current group of councillors have other jobs, so most are drawing two salaries. I suppose this explains why they feel the need for additional staff, but an equally good argument can be made for having their salaries cut in half in order to cover the cost of people to write all those birthday resolutions (which would bring them more in line with comparable positions in other cities and towns in the area).

Political privilege is like entropy. It always increases. – Robert Winters

January 6, 2014

Jan 6, 2014 – Inauguration Day

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,Cambridge government,City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 12:40 am

Jan 6, 2014 – Inauguration Day

The Inauguration of the 2014-2015 Cambridge City Council will take place today at City Hall beginning at 10:00am. After the ceremonial activities and the oaths of office, there will be just two items of business – the adoption of the Rules for the 2014-2015 City Council (usually just the formal adoption of the rules in effect for the previous Council) and the Election of a Mayor. The meeting will be conducted by City Clerk Donna Lopez until a Mayor is elected. If a Mayor is not elected at the Inaugural Meeting, the most senior member of the City Council, Tim Toomey, will serve as Acting Mayor until such time as a Mayor is elected.

There is a relatively good chance that a Mayor will be elected at the Inaugural Meeting this year. The major contenders are rumored to be Leland Cheung, David Maher, and Denise Simmons. If a Mayor is elected, the City Council will then proceed to the election of its Vice Chair (customarily referred to as the Vice Mayor).

Later in the day (6:00pm), the 2014-2015 Cambridge School Committee will be inaugurated with the Mayor presiding.

Dennis Benzan
Dennis Carlone
Leland Cheung
Craig Kelley
David Maher
Nadeem Mazen
Marc McGovern
Denise Simmons
Tim Toomey

It’s Mayor Maher

It was a rollercoaster of a mayoral vote this morning, but the new City Council finally did get the job done. Here’s a rundown (using the initials of councillors and mayoral candidates in the tally):

Ballot #1 DM LC LC DS DM DS DM DS DM Maher 4, Simmons 3, Cheung 2
Ballot #2 DM LC LC LC DM LC DM DS DM Maher 4, Cheung 4, Simmons 1
Simmons switch to Maher DM LC LC LC DM LC DM DM DM Maher 5, Cheung 4
Cheung switch to Simmons DM LC DS LC DM LC DM DM DM Maher 5, Cheung 3, Simmons 1
Kelley switch to Simmons DM LC DS DS DM LC DM DM DM Maher 5, Cheung 2, Simmons 2
Carlone switch to Simmons DM DS DS DS DM LC DM DM DM Maher 5, Simmons 3, Cheung 1
Mazen switch to Simmons DM DS DS DS DM DS DM DM DM Maher 5, Simmons 4
Simmons switch to Simmons DM DS DS DS DM DS DM DS DM Simmons 5, Maher 4
Benzan switch to Simmons DS DS DS DS DM DS DM DS DM Simmons 6, Maher 3
Mazen switch to Kelley DS DS DS DS DM CK DM DS DM Simmons 5, Maher 3, Kelley 1
Carlone switch to Kelley DS CK DS DS DM CK DM DS DM Simmons 4, Maher 3, Kelley 2
Ballot #3 DM LC LC DS DM DS DM DM DM Maher 5, Cheung 2, Simmons 2
Cheung switch to Simmons DM LC DS DS DM DS DM DM DM Maher 5, Simmons 3, Cheung 1
Carlone switch to Simmons DM DS DS DS DM DS DM DM DM Maher 5, Simmons 4

It is worth noting that at the end of Ballot #3, Denise Simmons could have once again changed her vote to herself (giving her a majority) but chose not to do so – perhaps due to the belief that this would lead to just another cycle of vote changes.

After Mayor Maher took the oath of office, the City Council then proceeded to the vote for Vice Chair. Though not initially unanimous for Dennis Benzan, Denise Simmons moved that the vote be made unanimous and there was no objection.

Congratulations to Mayor David Maher and to Vice Mayor Dennis Benzan! – RW

December 12, 2013

2013 City Council Recount Completed – Same Winners, Similar Margins

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:56 pm

Recount Completed – Same Winners, Similar Margins

Dec 12, 2013 – The 2013 City Council Election Recount is now complete: Recount Results (PDF, 2 pages)


Note: This chart was modified from an earlier version to reflect a correction in Count 15.

RECOUNT UPDATE – 16th Count Complete: Deciding round up next (Dec 12)

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 1:18 pm

RECOUNT UPDATE – 16th Count Complete: Deciding round up next

Day 9 (today) will likely be the last day of the City Council Election Recount. They have no counted out Sam Seidel and Ken Reeves is next. At the end of that rount (Count 17) the winners will be determined (and it’s pretty much certain that they will be the same as the original winners with a margin between Carlone and vanBeuzekom in the 16-22 ballot range, though there are about 17 other ballots in play during the Reeves transfer that could narrow the margin a bit.

Here’s the latest: Results at the end of the 16th Count (PDF)

UPDATE (5:40pm) – The 17th Count has been completed except for the totals and any last verification of ballots. The results will be announced shortly and the remaining winners declared. The winners will be the same as in the original election results. The margin between 9th Place (Carlone) and 10th Place (vanBeuzekom) will also be approximately the same as in the original results – anywhere between 14 and 22 votes (by my estimate). I’ll post all the details as soon as its been made official and I get the remaining numbers. – Robert Winters

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