June 3, 2008

Battle lines drawn on chief operating officer

Though city councilors told the Charter Revision Commission to nix the idea of changing the city government’s blueprint to include a chief operating officer, the seven-member panel unanimously agreed Tuesday to push for the plan anyway.
The move opens the door for a referendum drive to begin after the City Council again rejects the city manager-lite concept put forth by the charter panel.
“This is a very important issue,” said Tim Furey, the attorney who heads the charter commission. He said that residents want the opportunity to vote on the suggested change.
The charter panel’s decision followed a 75-minute joint session with councilors that sharpened divisions and set the stage for a push to create the new slot aimed at bringing more efficiency and oversight to City Hall.
Opposition to the scheme focused on its expense and possible lack of support in the community.
City Councilor Mike Rimcoski said officials would be “creating a monster” if they backed the recommendation from the charter panel.
But the other GOP councilor, rookie Ken Cockayne, said it’s important to “let it go to the public and let ‘em vote on it.”
What happens next is that the charter panel will file a final report within a week, after which the council will take a formal vote on each of the commission’s recommendations. Any that are backed will automatically appear on the November 4 general election ballot.
Anything that’s gunned down by the council – as the chief operating officer is almost certain to be – are dead unless supporters can get 10 percent of the city’s registered voters to sign petitions calling for the suggestion to reach the ballot as well. That means about 3,100 signatures will be needed within 45 days of the council’s vote.
Led by city Councilors Craig Minor, a Democrat, and Cockayne, a bipartisan push to gather the required names will begin soon after the council vote.
Seizing on comments by Mayor Art Ward and rookie city Councilor Cliff Block that they’d like to see if there’s enough support to get the required signatures, charter commissioners said they want the council to order city lawyers to help draft the necessary paperwork properly.
Furey said he didn’t want the proposal to die “because someone didn’t dot an I or cross a T.”
Dale Clift, the city attorney, told the charter panel that it could not legally discuss asking the council for legal assistance because the matter wasn’t listed on its meeting agenda. He said discussing it violated open government laws.
But Furey said the request would be part of the panel’s final report and thus was allowable.
Though Clift warned that including it “may jeopardize your final report,” Furey and the commission agreed to make it a part of the document anyway.
Four times they brushed aside warnings by Clift to stop discussing the matter.
“I’m a little flummoxed by it,” Clift said.

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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

“This is a very important issue,” said Tim Furey, the attorney who heads the charter commission. He said that residents want the opportunity to vote on the suggested change.

The residents wanted the opportunity to vote on the mega school change too but I guess that isn't important enough for the powerful politicians to push that through.

The residents really don't want the chance to vote on this and the voter turnout for this referendum will show that. It's the few political idiots that speak loudly that want this to go to a vote.

I'd bet they don't even get enough signatures to make it happen.

Anonymous said...

HELLO ATTY FURY!!! CLIFT IS CORPORATION COUNSEL, NOT YOU. THE CITY SHOULD BE LISTENING TO HIS ADVICE.

Anonymous said...

You would think that everyone there would tell Furey to shut up when Clift (corporation counsel head) told them they were violating open government laws by discussing something that WAS NOT on the agenda. He warned them more than once.

Haven't they learned from their past open government mistakes???

Furey-ous said...

Go Furey Go Furey Go Furey GO!!!

This is your moment in the lime-light. You deserve it. Make the most of it!

Anonymous said...

"The residents wanted the opportunity to vote on the mega school change too but I guess that isn't important enough for the powerful politicians to push that through."

What an excellent point.

Anonymous said...

Clift was doing his job protecting the City from a legal issue that was clear as day. Any first year law student could tell you that.

What is wrong with Furey and the rest of the idiots that kept going after Clift warned them multiple times???

Anonymous said...

"The residents wanted the opportunity to vote on the mega school change too but I guess that isn't important enough for the powerful politicians to push that through"

--Agreed, that was much more important. Where's "Cock-ayne-head" and my "Johnson" on that one?

Anonymous said...

To the poster at 9:42 PM - I am sorry you are a city worker that could possibly lose your job with a COO in place, but the fact is that the city is way to fat and needs some trimming and a COO/City manager is the way to go. Everyone keeps screaming about cost - but whats not to say that the mayor spot will not be a paid postion down the road? There are plenty of towns/cities that have a COO/city manager and a mayor and the mayor gets nothing but a vote and a pair of scissors to cut ribbons.

Anonymous said...

Furey is just abother Chamber god !

Anonymous said...

Hey 9:36 You are right with the fat bit. It's usless people like you that are the fat. Trim you and your whining cronies look at the peace Bristol will enjoy .

Anonymous said...

9:36

What towns or cities have a COO????

Anonymous said...

"The residents want the opportunity to vote on the mega schools and major spending projects!

YES, YES, YES.

First thing that came to my mind when I read the story about the bureaucrat of bureaucrats.

Great to see these idiots fighting for our rights,isn't it?

Priceless.

Anonymous said...

To the poster at 9:42 PM - I am sorry you are a city worker that could possibly lose your job with a COO in place, but the fact is that the city is way to fat and needs some trimming and a COO/City manager is the way to go.

I'm not a City employee. I work for a living like everyone else. If you truly ask around to your friends and neighbors that are NOT politically tied, you will find that they don't care about the COO issue. They are more concerned with the rise of prices without the rise of their salaries. The COO issue doesn't fix that for them - or for me.

Anonymous said...

How many people showed up to show their disgust over the Mega Schools?

How many people showed up to support or not support the COO?

I think that says it all.

Anonymous said...

NO MEGA SCHOOLS!

TOM O'BRIEN & BARBARA DOYLE MUST GO!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Tim Furey did an impressive job leading this Charter Revision Commission - dedicated many hours to meetings and preparation and guided the process very effectively.

Read the report before making assumptions.

Anonymous said...

It will be great to get the signatures, have the issue pass and shove it up the unions you know what.
It will be one win for the good guys

Anonymous said...

The COO is the same thing as a city manager - or should I say it will the start of a transition to a city manager if a COO is hired! You dont have to be blind to see that. I really think a COO is the right thing to do and so dont a ton of other cities in the US...

Anonymous said...

3:38

Name a couple!!

Please.

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling that Cockayne and Minor are setting up this referendum petition for their own purposes and not so the voting population can have a voice. If they wanted the voting population to have a voice in what is important to them (citizens) then they would be waging this petition war against the mega schools that so many citizens took the time to come to a meeting an oppose. There were no non-political citizens speaking out against or for the COO.

This is a Cockayne / Minor ego drive. Don't be fooled into thinking it's for the citizens voice.

But then again, Minor knows what is best for Bristol more than the citizens do. Just ask him.

Anonymous said...

At least Minor was elected by the people.

Furey wasn't.

Who does Furey think he is, John Leone?

Cockayne Addict said...

"I get the feeling that Cockayne and Minor are setting up this referendum petition for their own purposes and not so the voting population can have a voice"

-You get the "feeling" huh? Well maybe you should stop smokin' dope?

-What would Cockayne and Craig Minor have to gain by this...except maybe credibility for demonstrating good gov't? Both these guys are potential mayoral candidates in the future, both are better qualified than our current mayor and both would stand to make more money if elected mayor.

-Your comments and/or logic is thoughtless and flawed.

Furey-us said...

"Who does Furey think he is, John Leone?"

-What a stupid, small little snipe.

-Furey does half of Leone's work for him. Where would the Chamber be without guys like Tim Furey?

Go Furey Go Furey Go Furey GO!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree 9:59 - Minor and Cockayne aren't listening to the citizens of Bristol. It's all about their own agenda and their overinflated egos. They couldn't give a rat's butt about what's good for Bristol.

Anonymous said...

Cockayne was a nothing before he got elected: he needs this position to satify his ego.

Minor knows that a COO will strngthen the dems stronghold on the city and may help his buddy Ellen.

Heaven help us if either become mayor!