Mayor is minutiae expert

November 15, 2010
By

Mayor Judith Flanagan-Kennedy has developed the reputation of remaining aloof and appearing rather ambiguous about great and small issues. But when she stops to look closely, and to peruse projects nearly completed by others, no matter how well meaning the project, the mayor’s scrutiny usually leads to a change in plans.

Take the city’s effort to relocate a small company employing about 30 employees that is seeking to move here from Everett and to set up shop in a industrial building bordering the Ford School annex parking lot.

Seacrest Food International is the company wishing to relocate to Lynn.

And they’ll probably do just that when all the I’s are dotted and the t’s crossed.

This company wants to use a tiny sliver of the Ford annex parking lot, as another company that recently vacated the area had been using for years.

No one complained in the past as no one is using the Ford School in any meaningful way and certainly the annex at all.

Everyone advocating for the seafood production company saw fit to extend the use of the sliver of parking lot to Seacrest and documents assuring the city of its rights to the land made it impossible for the company to oneday claim the ownership of it.

Some officials were grumbling that the mayor refused to pay any attention to the various dealings going on despite repeated efforts by the City Council and other city departments to view the documents and give her OK of the project.

“She doesn’t bother with anything until it is set to be voted on then she vetoes it,” said one city official who wished to remain unnamed.

Keeping true to herself, she acted thusly.

When push came to shove and she finally read the documents, she vetoed the project.

This caused the exasperation of numerous officials here and the impression was given that the mayor was going to hold up a good taxpayer employing 30 people from moving here because she wanted an empty parking lot to remain utterly empty.

The mayor did her research and she got back to the numerous officials involved in this development project, including Council President Tim Phelan, Councillor Peter Capano, Dr. Catherine Latham, Superintendent of Schools, Mike Donovan, Jimmy Cowdell, Mary Audley, and on and on.

In her very lawyerly way, the mayor instructed all those people that it was not they that had the right to barter away the use of the Ford Annex sliver of land, but rather that only the School Department has that right.

She sited Section 4-3(e) of the City Charter that states essentially that the Lynn School Committee controls the parking lot and its use, et cetera. No one else.

That is until a deed is being transferred for city of Lynn property when it becomes the sole decision of the mayor to decline to execute the deed and no one, not the city council or the school committee can override the veto.

What began as a simple thing has led to a bit of legal lecture to her colleagues in government by the mayor.

And frankly speaking, she’s right.

Will Seacrest get to use the sliver of land?

You can bet on it.

Even the mayor on a matter of legal principal can’t afford to tell a company that wants to relocate here with 30 employees that this can’t be done on a technicality – which in this case would be an empty and useless parking lot.

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