City Council alternate liveblog

Worcester Magazine is off tonight at the Congressional debates. We offer this alternate liveblog in their absence.

The City Council has taken up as its first item tonight a recommendation from the retirement board (5-0) that the city adopt Adoption of Section 27 and 28 of Chapter 131 of the Acts of 2010. This expands city retirement benefits to those who retired prior to 1996 who were barred from opting for Section C in widow/er benefits.

Citizen Relationship Management from Lukes. “I think I’m going to do something violent to my colleague over here; he keeps saying, ‘311’” (this of Rushton). Issues of confidentiality, security in crowdsourcing…”collaboration and planning, outside the social media aspect…an internal process…we have to be much smarter in the way we use technology…we’re the first city in this Commonwealth to put our checkbook online…need some bragging rights.” She says she’s been talking to the IT department who have been very receptive to new ideas.

The Council is now lauding the city auditor, as they are renewing his contract. “One of the most dedicated public servants I’ve ever seen,” says Toomey.  “He’s kind of the man behind the curtain..he doesn’t have a sexy job,” says Germain.

The Mayor asks the auditor if he’d like them to vote first or if he’d like to comment first. He thanks them for their kind words. The vote is unanimous. They immediately follow this item by voting a transfer of $6100 to fund this contract.

They’re now whipping through a series of items–no speech on soccer fields?–until Petty asks about reorganization after the early retirements go through. We’ve got some questions about if we already asked for this–Clancy thinks they did–but Petty wants to know particularly from the Clerk and the auditor how those offices are dealing with it.

Lukes up on privatization. “We thought (early retirement) would generate more savings than they did…clearly we should look at if the city should be in the entertainment business, as we lose money there every year…when we insist on talking layoffs, freezes, furloughs…we need to look at what sort of business we should be in.” She lists the hospital, nursing home, and airport as city services that have been privatized. “We have some hard decisions to make.” She asks for a report back “as soon as it’s practical; we’re going to have to do something by January 1, regardless.”

Petty asks for a history on why we never went through with the sales of the parking garages, with meters thrown in for good measure.

Palmieri points out that it’s a farm, not a zoo, at Green Hill Park. He wants to know how we can have more than one employee at the farm. “We need several other participants in this venture…tons of children who would love to be up at that with more than half a dozen animals up there…we could have hayrides up there.” He suggests that James Leary at UMass might be a place “to reach out in the non-profit community.”

Rushton on Vollywood speaks of the symposium at Becker. “We’re developing ourselves as a hub…over 300 students in the City of Worcester specifically investing their future in Worcester…we should try to get a slice of the pie.” Speaks of retaining high level intellectual capital: “Keep these bright minds in the City of Worcester.” Lukes asks if it has to be limited to Becker; opens up to other colleges and universities.

Lukes is recusing herself from 14, 15, 16, and 17 all parts, which is a bunch of the Public Works report. All of which pass.

Suspension: Rushton is looking for a Holden/Worcester line marker on Wendover Street. Lukes : property owner of 1099 Pleasant Street along the rear of the property, concerns about what’s going on there (that’s the strip mall next to Tatnuck Magnet School). Smith: sidewalks. Palmieri on rail expansion, praising LG Murray on this. Petty asking that Carlisle Street be paved.

The Mayor notes that next week is Election day. “Set some Worcester voting records!”

And that’s a wrap. Jeremy, you’d better be back in two weeks!

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