I haven't been doing well at keeping this blog up to date lately. I'll try to do better.
First off, there are two stories on the City Council's battle over the Charter Revision Commission that are pretty much required reading if you want to follow the details here. So go read this story and the second-day story here.
Now let's take a closer look.
Here is what I know about who was selected for service on the charter panel.
Four council members picked someone whom Mayor Art Ward found acceptable. They were:
Edward Krawiecki, Jr -- chosen by Ward himself
Richard Saporito - chosen by city Councilor Kevin Fuller
Jon Fitzgerald -- chosen by city Councilor Ken Cockayne
John Fasolo -- chosen by city Councilor David Mills
Beyond that, we know that city Councilor Kate Matthews selected a retired firefighter, Dana Jandreau. Ward refused to name him.
I'm not sure who city Councilor Kevin McCauley wanted and I haven't heard who city Councilor Cliff Block initially asked for either.
All three of the so-called Stooges -- Cockayne's term for Matthews, McCauley and Block -- were told by Ward they could pick someone from a list of a dozen other contenders the mayor found acceptable. Block looked over the list and decided to pick one of them, Pastor Laura Galbraith.
McCauley and Matthews refused to go along.
So the mayor added two more members off his list, Richard Lacey and Dr. Val Vitale. A memo given the council indicates that Cockayne is the one who suggested the mayor tap Lacey.
Those on the list who were not selected were:
David Preleski, Stephen Allaire, Dr. Kenneth Benoit, Rev. Alphonso Fontana, Dr. Michael Ptaszynski, James Donovan, Robert Cummisky, Cheryl Ann Assis and Gary Lawton.
All but the last three have an asterick beside their name on the memo with the notice that their names were offered "based on knowledge of law and life and death decisions."
In the big picture, then, the mayor had 16 people he was willing to appoint. At least six of them are lawyers and two are ministers. At least four are medical folks, though I'm not sure that Saporito's status as a chiropractor really meets the standard that he regularly deals with life and death decisions. He is, however, a bright, community-spirited guy who used to serve on the Board of Education.
The other picks on the mayor's list were Fasolo, a former personnel director, and Cummisky, Assis and Lawton. I only know Lawton, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor last time around. He's a decent guy, too, but has no expertise in law or "life and death decisions."
Matthews pointed out that her pick, Jandreau, was a first responder to emergencies in town for years. He's been there time and again when life hung in the balance.
Matthews correctly pointed out that if it weren't for people like Jandreau who were present when the mayor started choking in December, the council wouldn't be trying to fix the charter now. It would be wrapped up in a special election for mayor. Tough words, but true.
Already, one problem has arisen. There are three city officials on the charter panel - Krawiecki, Lacey and Fitzgerald -- but state law says no more than one-third of the membership can hold city office. That translates to two members on a sever-member commission.
So either one of the three has to go or the mayor has to expand the membership of the commission. (Or, I suppose, one of the three could quit his other city post.)
Stay tuned for whatever happens next. It's become clear it's going to be a wild political year.
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