The city’s chief financial officer Richard Fortucci has named Stephen Spencer, a Lynn resident, as his choice to become the city’s comptroller thereby filling the position left empty by the firing of John Pace.
Pace was fired by the city council, despite Mayor Judith Flanagan-Kennedy’s protestations, which followed her attempted firing of Fortucci. The city council unanimously voted to retain Fortucci following weeks of costly and time consuming hearings brought on by the mayor and conducted by the city council.
The mayor said publicly that hiring Spencer is indicative of the culture that is prevalent in Lynn.
Spencer is expected to be officially given his job when the full council votes on his appointment Tuesday night.
The mayor’s comments indicating she believes Lynn is rife with the politically connected receiving political appointments did not go over well with the city council or with many others holding public office or among the many hundreds of municipal employees serving the city.
Kennedy said she was most bothered by the process by which Spencer was hired.
She even questioned the legality and the morality of the appointment as well.
Legally, the mayor is way off base in her belief that the appointment should be hers.
“Under the language of the 1985 Lynn bail out bill, it is the city’s chief financial officer alone who has the legal right to appoint the city comptroller,” said Assistant City Solicitor James Lamanna.
“You can agree with the wording or the bail out bill or not agree with it. Its language is absolutely clear. Anyone thinking the comptroller’s appointment by the CFO is not legal would have to go to the Legislature to ask that the city charter be changed,” he added.
The mayor said she was miffed that Fortucci hired a Lynn resident for the position, when in fact, he knows members of the city council and others in government here.
The mayor said she would have preferred a different process that sought others from the outside.
“No law prohibits Mr. Fortucci from appointing someone from Lynn,” Lamanna added.