Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

July 1, 2013

Welcome to Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 12:20 am
James L. Sullivan
James L. Sullivan
Cambridge City Manager

June 28, 1968 – April 1, 1970
April 1, 1974 – July 1, 1981
Robert W. Healy
Robert W. Healy
Cambridge City Manager

July 1, 1981 – June 30, 2013
Richard C. Rossi
Richard C. Rossi
Cambridge City Manager

July 1, 2013 – present
The City Clerks and City Managers of Cambridge

June 24, 2013

Happy Trails – Agenda Highlights for Monday, June 24 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 12:03 am

Happy Trails – Agenda Highlights for Monday, June 24 Cambridge City Council meeting

This will be the last Cambridge City Council meeting with Robert Healy as City Manager.

Manager’s Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 13-63, regarding a report on the progress on the non-zoning recommendations submitted by the Central Square Advisory Committee.

There is much to be said about these generally excellent recommendations. More later. Your homework assignment is to read them. There will be a quiz.

Manager’s Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 13-71, regarding a report on how the structure of boards and commissions can be adjusted.

The key statement: "I will state, as the City Council is aware, that it is my long held belief that there is significant overlap and duplication of effort and expense in the current structure." The real question is whether this group of 9 city councillors or their successors have either the vision or the capacity to correct the status quo. Now is the best opportunity to initiate some changes.

Manager’s Agenda #8. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to the Foundry Building "Reuse Study" prepared by HFMH Architects.

The key recommendation: "The cost estimate of bringing this building ‘up to code,’ including an elevator for ADA accessibility, and meeting Silver LEEDS status is over $11,250,000. Funds for such a project are nowhere included in the Five Year Capital Investment Plan. It is my strong recommendation that the City Council authorize the sale of this building in accordance with all applicable laws and subject to all the existing zoning conditions. The requirement for 10,000 square feet of community use would be protected in the proposal."

Manager’s Agenda #9. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to the current Awaiting Report list.

The Right Thing To Do: "I am hereby recommending that, as one means of allowing the City Manager, effective July 1, 2013, to commence his successful efforts, that all items on the current Awaiting Report list be ‘placed on file.’" A clean slate for incoming City Manager Richard Rossi is exactly the best course of action.

Applications & Petitions #5. A zoning petition has been received from Mike Connolly, et al., requesting the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge to ensure that all new construction or changes in use requiring Project Review Special Permits are built to avoid emission of greenhouse gases in daily operation and thereby mitigate the risks of extremely dangerous climate changes. A clear and enforceable definition of "net zero" greenhouse gas emissions is proposed. [HTML version of petition]

This will be surely be controversial, and that may well be the intention of this petition timed to coincide with the calendar of the municipal election. Most will agree that "net zero" is a great goal, but I do not believe it is permissible under state law for a local zoning ordinance to prescribe what vendors a property owner, developer, or tenant must use to purchase goods or services. This includes the purchase of electricity or other forms of energy. The proposed zoning amendment includes not only provisions for extensive reporting of energy use, but also requires that the property owners and all of their tenants must purchase electricity from a restricted list of suppliers OR pay an additional fee indefinitely into the future for "energy credits". This goes well beyond what zoning is legally allowed to do. It would be like requiring that all tenants in a building must buy only environmentally friendly products. We may all wish that they do so, but we cannot use the zoning ordinance to mandate such things.

It should also be noted that this proposed zoning amendment is being filed before MIT has submitted designs for future buildings that will eventually be built under a recently passed zoning amendment relating to the Kendall Square area. An 11th hour attempt to insert a "net zero" requirement in that zoning (or perhaps in the accompanying memorandum of understanding) almost derailed the overall vote. The people who are proposing the current zoning amendment are precisely the same people who were adamantly opposed to the MIT/Kendall zoning. There is good reason to believe that the underlying motivation is to again try to derail the MIT/Kendall proposal.

Resolution #1. Congratulations to Teddy Darling on his retirement from the Middlesex Superior Court.   Councillor Toomey

Best wishes in your retirement, Teddy.

Resolution #17. Congratulations to Owen O’Riordan on being named Acting Commissioner of the Department of Public Works.   Mayor Davis

Another excellent choice of leadership in one of the City’s most essential departments.

Resolution #18. Thanks to City Manager Robert W. Healy, Jr. for over three decades of dedicated service to the City of Cambridge and best wishes on his transition to the Kennedy School of Government.   Mayor Davis

I’m happy that Bob Healy achieved many of the long-term goals he wanted to achieve, including several major replacements in our water infrastructure, the new Library, new Police Station, renovated City Hall Annex, and more. He’s also shepherded the many changes on the environmental front beginning with the establishment of the recycling program through the broad arrange of programs now in place.

I personally have tremendous respect for Bob Healy, and I like him personally even though he sometimes seems gruff and hard to approach. I don’t think there’s another person alive who has cared as much about this city. I also look forward to the next phase of history in Cambridge. With a new city manager there will likely come new initiatives. It’s the perfect time to modify the things that have not worked so well and to build on those things that have worked well, and Richard Rossi is the kind of person who likes to get things done. This bodes well for Cambridge.

Professor Healy – I’d like to make an appointment for office hours when you arrive at the Kennedy School.

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate departments to commission a portrait of Robert W. Healy, Jr. to be hung in the newly named Robert W. Healy, Jr. Executive Suite.    Councillor Cheung

That’s a great gesture and appropriate for someone who has given so much of his life to the City of Cambridge. – Robert Winters

June 20, 2013

City Employees Bid a Fond Farewell to Retiring City Manager Robert W. Healy

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 5:41 pm

City of Cambridge and Cambridge Public Schools elected officials past and present, as well as a large group of city Employees bid farewell to retiring City Manager Robert W. Healy at a special ceremony at City Hall on June 20. This was one of a number of events to honor Healy who has dedicated almost four decades to public service. He leaves behind a great legacy but told city department heads and city employees at the gathering that they were a big part of his legacy with their level of professionalism and commitment to public service. Although Healy is retiring on June 30, he won’t be away from Cambridge for very long. Healy will begin a Fellowship at Harvard in mid-July. The Fellowship will allow Healy to work with faculty, scholars and students on a range of academic and research projects and to participate in seminars, workshops and public events. Healy will also teach at the Kennedy School as an adjunct lecturer.

Robert Healy Employee Farewell

Robert Healy Employee Farewell

May 26, 2013

Cambridge City Manager to Serve Fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 7:29 pm

Cambridge MA — Robert W. Healy, who has served as Cambridge City Manager for the past 32 years and in city government for more than 40 years, has been named a Taubman Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, it was announced today by HKS Dean David T. Ellwood. Healy will begin the Fellowship in mid-July after leaving his city government position.

Bob HealyThe Fellowship will allow Healy to work with faculty, scholars and students on a range of academic and research projects and to participate in seminars, workshops and public events. Healy will also teach at the Kennedy School as an adjunct lecturer.

"Bob Healy is an extraordinary public servant who has devoted more than four decades of his life to his hometown. As City Manager, he created and maintained a mutually beneficial partnership between Harvard and Cambridge, bringing people together to identify and support common interests and opportunities. The result is a stronger community for all and a remarkable wealth of insight and expertise that Bob will share with future leaders studying at the Kennedy School of Government," said Drew Faust, President of Harvard University.

"We are pleased that Bob Healy has chosen to join us at the Kennedy School," said Dean Ellwood. "Bob brings knowledge and expertise in so many facets of local governance — from budgeting and housing to education and health care — and we look forward to both learning from and engaging with him."

Healy will be anchored at the Taubman Center, whose mission it is to improve the governance of states, metropolitan areas and cities through research, teaching and public events.

"Local government leaders are dealing with myriad challenges, particularly during these times of budget belt tightening and economic stagnation," said Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics and director of the Taubman Center and the Rappaport Institute. "Bob Healy has met and tackled these difficult challenges for decades, allowing the city of Cambridge to grow and prosper, all the while constantly evaluating and improving critical city services to meet the needs of citizens."

Healy was named City Manager in 1981, shortly after Proposition 2 1/2 had been passed and the city’s credit rating was suspended by Wall Street rating agencies. During his tenure the city has seen its financial position improve substantially, and since 1999 Cambridge has been one of only a few dozen cities in the country to earn and maintain three Triple A bond ratings from the three major credit rating agencies. Under Healy’s leadership the city has completed a multi-million dollar sewer and storm water system reconstruction project, renovated virtually all opens spaces in the city, and constructed a new architectural award winning main library and state of the art public safety facility.

"It is a great honor to become part of Harvard Kennedy School and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government," said Healy. "During my over 40 years of municipal administration, I have learned that character and unwavering commitment to professional governance defines great leaders. I am excited to share my many years of practical experience in the creative environment offered at HKS, to inspire and engage our next generation of leaders by fostering the courage, perseverance and dauntlessness necessary to meet the everyday challenges of local governance."

Healy holds a Master’s Degree from UMass, Lowell; and has earned certificates from MIT Sloan School of Management, Urban Executive Program, and from the Kennedy School’s State and Local Executive Program.

This story is taken from a Harvard press release (May 24, 2013).

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