Over at Dick Howe's blog we have a rundown on the applicable law.
Massachusetts General Laws chapter 43, section 107 prohibits a city councilor from taking part in any manner in the removal of an employee of the city from that employee’s job. Violation of this statute is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to six months and a fine of up to $500. Furthermore, immediately upon conviction of such a violation, a councilor would be removed from office and “shall never again be eligible for any office or any position, elective or otherwise, in the service of the cityThen the distinguished attorney goes on to say why the DA will walk away from this one. At this point there are seven comments on the Blog Post.
The consensus from Dick Howe's Blog is that this has to be dealt with in November. Unfortunately, the half-life of a political memory in the US is about 90 days and it is almost four months to the election.
But, still, I wonder. If this violation of the principles of Plan E is allowed to stand, then what? Is this self-limiting or is it going to following the laws of life and evolve? Of course, if we vote out the violators, we may have cauterized this thing, but maybe not.
Maybe this is something for Martha Coakley to look into. She is the Commonwealth's Attorney General. She found time to step on UMass Lowell's attempt to obtain student housing. Why can't she find time to do some intimidation of the Lowell City Council? I postulate three reasons:
- She doesn't think she has a case, or
- This isn't about getting a step up on Marty Meehan, or
- Notwithstanding the claims of this being a non-partisan form of government, this is all about Democrats taking care of Democrats.
This episode reminds me of our School Superintendent going up against a certain member of the school committee, only in reverse.
The list of who voted to eliminate the funding is not presented directly in any place I looked. And maybe that is a good thing. One mistake is not a reason to vote someone out—we should vote on the "whole man" basis. But, we should be paying attention to this issue.
In the interest of helping everyone know who did what, here is the list of those who voted to "cut the funding" for the position held by Andy Sheehan:
- Councilor Alan Kazanjian
- Councilor Mike Lenzi
- Councilor Rodney Elliott
- Councilor Rita Mercier
- Councilor Armand Mercier
- Mayor Edward "Bud" Caulfield
Regards — Cliff