Tuesday, May 8, 2007

May 7, 2007: Cambridge City Manager Admits Law Violation

At the Cambridge City Council meeting on May 7, 2007 the City Manager admitted that the city paymaster violated state law in paying city workers. Beginning on September 11, 2001 the city began paying full salary to some city employees activated to military duty. This is in addition to their military pay. This is contrary to state law. As the Manager says in these video clips this is not legal. Councilor Murphy said the same at the April 30, 2007 meeting.
Through some magical act of expeditous bureaucratic activity the Manager ordered a home rule petition drafted by the city attorney. This was done in less than two days and submitted to the City Council the next week (May 7). This is remarkable considering that there are 3 requests awaiting a report from the Manager from 2003, 4 from 2005, 15 from 2006, and 29 from 2007.
Nicholas Tabor, in the Harvard Crimson reported that the City Council voted on April 30, 2007, to approve full pay for police to equalize paying other city employees. But that is not correct. The city cannot pay activated employees full pay without approval from the state legislature. That is why the expedited home rule petition.
Nonetheless the city is violating state law by paying full salary to some city employees who are on active military duty. It is not clear if they are all in combat locations.
On May 8, 2007 the Cambridge Chronicle online reported that the city currently pays the difference between their city salary and their military pay. But that is incorrect. On April 30, 2007 25 city police officers petitioned the Council for equal treatment to get full pay plus their military pay as other city employees are getting now.
That is the reason for the rush to get a home rule petition approved.The City Manager is clearly worried. As he says in these video clips he is not authorized to pay the employees their full salaries as he is doing now. So he is in violation of state laws. Whether or not this will ever be addressed in this lawless state is anyone's guess. I would guess not.
The word "inadvertent" is regularly used when city employees violate laws. The Manager attributes this to "human error," as opposed to computer generated extra pay?
My several complaints about waste of taxpayer funds and abuses to the state Inspector General have been ignored.
The first 30 minutes of the May 7, 2007 Council meeting was not broadcast on cable TV. The Cable Office did not answer my query as to why. No public comment from four citizens was broadcast nor was the special dance exhibition. I attached some footage of the dancers, which I captured at the meeting, after the Manager's comments.

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