Mahoney predicts continued strife among councilors

Mahoney predicts continued strife among councilors

Says 'massive divide' will go for next two years

SCITUATE – Morning Town Council meetings will be continuing over the objections of three council members, said President John Mahoney who is describing their objections as a signal of a “massive divide.”

“This is going to go on for the next two years,” Mahoney said this week of the discord among members. “They just cannot fathom the reality of it.”

Yesterday’s scheduled council meeting, called for Feb. 15 at 10 a.m., was the third by Mahoney since taking office. A review of Town Council minutes of 2015 and 2016 found none called outside of evening hours.

It was on Feb. 3 when a council agenda was released calling for a meeting to be held on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m. to announce the retirement of Police Chief David M. Randall.

On Feb. 7 three members of the Town Council released a public letter addressing and informing Mahoney that they would “refuse to participate.”

The letter was cosigned by council members Charles A. Collins Jr., Brenda Frederickson, and David A. D’Agostino Sr.

It went on to say, “Your so-called administrative actions are unprecedented and do not allow for public comment.”

In a letter published in The Valley Breeze & Observer, Mahoney writes that he believes the council members decided “they would not attend the meeting knowing that there would not be a quorum to vote on the issue at hand.”

The Town Council brought on four new members after the 2016 election: Council President John Mahoney, Vice President Michael Payette, Nick Izzi and Scott Amaral.

The four ran as a team as an independent majority and council incumbents who survived endured a tense election season.

“I’ve never experienced a campaign like that,” Frederickson told the Breeze & Observer this week.

Although Mahoney suggested in his letter that the minority council members “will not be cooperative,” Frederickson and D’ Agostino said otherwise.

“We need to all work as a team,” Frederickson said.

D’ Agostino echoed her sentiment.

“There are things, I’m sure, I would support the independent men on and there are things I would not support them on,” D’Agostino said.

D’Agostino could not support the decision to hold a morning meeting, which would include the resignation of Scituate’s police chief.

The meeting in question was canceled due to inclement weather and rescheduled for Feb. 15 at 10 a.m.

When asked what prompted the letter, councilwoman Frederickson said that calls from constituents pushed her and the other council members to act. She did not mention the idea of avoiding a quorum to prevent a vote, as Mahoney suggested was the motive.

“You’ve got people asking questions,” Frederickson said.

D’ Agositino said he received at least eight calls questioning the meeting. He said he called Council Vice President Michael Payette to inform him he could not attend.

“I have to do what the people who voted for me want me to do,” D’Agostino said.

Frederickson and D’Agostino said the constituents’ calls were mostly asking about why the Feb. 9 meeting was scheduled for 10 a.m. and why the opportunity for audience participation has become more limited.

They said these changes contradict the transparency promised by the majority council members when they ran.

The council has thus far scheduled three meetings during morning hours this year – one on Jan. 19, one on Feb. 9, and now one on Feb. 15.

Mahoney said he has received calls from constituents actually in support of the morning meeting hours. He said the public can expect more morning meetings.

About allotting time for resident comment on the agendas of 2017 so far, Mahoney says there has been time for informal audience questioning, even though it is not specifically given a time slot in the agenda.

To compare, last year the Town Council specifically allotted time for audience participation in every meeting except one, where members held public hearings/forums instead.

Comments

Please explain how a 10am weekday meeting on important issues enhances transparency
also please explain why you will not put on the agenda Audience participation. Looks like a closed government to me...