There is a difference between collegiality and Stepford-like obeisance

Nick K. for the money quote:

“There’s definitely an unhealthy tension between the city manager and mayor over this,” Mr. Palmieri observed. “We should be focusing on more important issues. If there is going to be disagreement between the manager and mayor, let it be on a far more substantive issue.”

This request for a focus on more important issues is about as out of touch as Konnie Lukes’ suggestion that “we’ve sort of turned the tables around where the City Manager is leading and the City Council isn’t doing much of anything.”

Yes, Ponytail, the problem is that we should be focusing on more important issues.  And that’s been the problem for quite a few years.

What issues, pray tell, are too unimportant for the City Council?  Cigarette rolling machines?  Pit bulls?  Taxi cabs?  Shoveling sidewalks?  Hot dogs?

The City Council decided quite a long time ago (not recently, contrary to Councilor Lukes’ assertions) to play sideshow to the City Manager’s main event.

The City Council has allowed the City Manager to be the ringmaster and have relegated the role of clowns to themselves.

Every major policy point or project is delegated to the City Manager, whether it be CSX or homelessness.

Isn’t it an issue that there was roughly one police officer per three gallery members at the last City Council meeting?  I don’t recall that many police officers at the Council hearings on pit bulls, which involved much more anger and considerably more participants.

One can assume that the “unhealthy tension” between the City Manager and Mayor is not of the homoerotic Edward/Jacob variety.

One can also assume that most City Councilors feel that any tension is of the “unhealthy” variety.

There is nothing wrong with there being some tension between the executive and the legislative.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: the idea that collegiality equals consensus does not help the city.

It’s ok to disagree.

And it’s especially ok to disagree when we talk about a group’s rights to assemble and speak.

I think Occupy Worcester’s aims and methods are questionable.

I think there are still questions about what constitutes traditional public forum (vs. limited public forum) and I don’t know that OW is always on the right side of that debate.

But I would hope that more than one City Councilor would be concerned that members of OW were accused of trespassing for entering City Hall a couple of weeks ago, and that their presence at a City Council meeting was met by quite a few police officers.

The primary criterion we use to elect City Councilors should not be the ability to harmonize while singing Kumbaya with the City Manager.

If we’re kicking people out of City Hall because they want to speak with the man in charge, if the last City Council meeting was an exercise in determining the precise definition of “disproportionate force”, then our elected officials should be speaking up.

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2 thoughts on “There is a difference between collegiality and Stepford-like obeisance

  1. Mike says:

    Councilors Toomey and Clancy have an item to reconsider the Council’s request that the City Manager do something new; Councilors Haller and Lukes have a item to support the previous decisions of the Manager. Almost a caricature of the Manager-Council relationship.

  2. Sean says:

    Don’t forget Phil’s obsession with the Seagull menace?

    Sometimes I wonder if Konnie has a plan to run for higher office. Some of her positions in the past year have been shout outs to the larger, right leaning voting population of Massachusetts, rather than issues that directly concern Worcester.

    As for the overwhelming show of force by the WPD, they aren’t limiting it to just Occupy. Last Saturday night 4 cruisers were tucked underneath the 290 overpass at Grafton Street having a staff meeting.

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