Guest Op-Ed: Making Sure Government Works

By Acting Mayor Patrick M. Keefe

Since I became Acting Mayor in April, I have approved the hiring of fire fighters, police officers, part-time workers in the Senior Summer Program, laborers and craftsmen in Department of Public Works and Parks Department, assistant librarians, parking control officers, school crossing guards, clerks, public health nurses, and a few other of the myriad functionary positions in City government.

But last Monday night, based an opinion written by a lawyer who has no official capacity to declare anything binding in our city, the Council voted that “…the Acting Mayor immediately cease and desist taking actions admitting of delay resulting in permanent appointments or hires.”

The Council thinks that it would have been just fine to wait eight months—until a new Mayor is inaugurated—before filling open positions that drive the basic operation of responsive and effective government.  They pretend that duties of an “Acting Mayor” do not include fundamental service to our residents and to the dedicated people already on the municipal payroll who come to work every day to respond to the public’s demands and inquiries.

When this issue flared up in May, an opinion authorized by our City Solicitor determined that the Acting Mayor is authorized to hire needed employees who serve the public and allow the City to function in an efficient, consistent, and productive manner.

I have acted in accord with the Solicitor’s opinion. Hiring employees is a fundamental and routine function of government. I never pretended that I could or would hire Department heads or Chiefs while I fulfilled the duties that I assumed under our City Charter.

So, what motivated the Council to interfere with this crucial, fundamental duty to be carried out by an Acting Mayor?  Why would they seek an opinion to challenge our City Solicitor’s opinion—something that I believe they have never done in the Solicitor’s 22 years of service?  

Probably because some of my opponents who seek to stop me, an Acting Mayor, from hiring municipal functionaries may have never managed any important, large-scale operation.  They are lost in an obsolete era where municipal jobs were handed out only as political favor or capital.

They have no idea that in the modern and professional methods now in place at City Hall, jobs are filled by qualified individuals, and only when clearly-defined criteria are met.  Hiring decisions are made following an interview process by experienced Human Resources staff and Department heads.

In the real world, this is called Best Business Practices, and that’s what’s done at Revere City Hall.  

Those who voted that I cease and desist serving the public are fixated on childish politics instead of good government.  I steer clear of such silly behavior.  I rely on common sense and lawful practices, and I will continue to provide the leadership that produces positive results for the City of Revere.

Patrick Keefe is the Acting Mayor for the City of Revere, as well as a candidate for mayor in the upcoming election.

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