By Adam Swift
Several City Councillors have stated they believe there is still a disconnect in how information is relayed from the mayor’s office to the council, especially when it comes to motions filed by the councillors.
Monday night, Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro filed a motion asking that the mayor’s office respond to a motion he made in January under former Mayor Brian Arrigo in regards to lines of communication between the mayor’s office and the council.
“This has been something that I hoped would have been taken care of,” said Cogliandro. “We rely on communication between us and the mayor’s office when we file a motion. All we want to know is, guys, we’ve got it and we’re working on it.”
Cogliandro noted that earlier in Monday’s meeting, the council got information about meetings between the administration and MassDOT on the Tobin Bridge that the council did not previously know about.
“When I took office, we were getting emails about all of the motions, so I hear through the grapevine things like – we don’t have time,” said Cogliandro. “I don’t know what the reason is, but we are the interlink between residents of the community and the administration, so some more communication would be great.”
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo said it was a shame that Cogliandro had to make the motion in the first place.
“For as long as I’ve been on the city council, and certainly the years when I was mayor, we always made sure that there was communication between the city council and the administration,” said Rizzo. “The city council puts in motions, it goes to the mayor’s office, the mayor signs it or doesn’t sign it, and a letter should go back to the councillor who submitted the motion so they know it is being addressed. Oftentimes, we put motions in as a result of a question or a comment or concern of a resident, so it is left to us to try to explain what is going on.”
Mayoral aide Gianni Hill said that the mayor’s office, under Arrigo and currently under Acting Mayor Patrick Keefe, has always had an open door policy. Hill added that councillors with any questions about the status of their motions or looking for updates on projects can contact him at any time.
“I can say that at the last city council meeting, in particular, that I appeared before all of you and responded to six of the motions that were on the agenda and I provided updates,” said Hill. “So I find it a bit disheartening to see that it says that any of the motions that were filed we failed to respond to. I don’t believe that to be true, however, if any have slipped through the cracks under the leadership of Acting Mayor Keefe, we are certainly working to streamline methods of communications.”
Hill said that the City Clerk has been meeting with Keefe to review pending council motions and orders, and that the plan moving forward is to funnel all the motions through the clerk so she can distribute the information to the council.
Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti and Cogliandro both noted that there was a disconnect in the councillors having to reach out to the administration for information, when the information should be flowing from the administration to the council.