Former Superintendent office manager (and now former special education teacher) Donna Byrnes has been at the center of the storm over the past few days for being appointed to a position she had, by all accounts, no technical qualifications for.
So who has Byrnes – a 15 year employee of the School Department central office – been a political donor to?
Since 2005, Byrnes and an Edward Byrnes and an Edward Byrnes Jr. at the same address have given:
$1620 to City Councilor Michael Germain, $850 to Sheriff Guy Glodis, $600 to City Councilor Kate Toomey, $500 to Tim Murray, among other donations.
Not everyone likes Councilor Mike Germain’s plan to tax dorm rooms.
Fox 25 ripped the plan—and Michael Germain—this morning.
“Stupid is an understatement.”
Actually…the crew ripped Worcester in general.
“Worcester’s a town with a tough reputation…it’s easy to poke fun at them for being a small city. You pull stuff like this and you’re not helping. There’s one thing Worcester has got going for them, and that’s their colleges and universities…”
City Councilor Michael Germain has proposed placing a hotel/lodging tax on college dorm rooms in Worcester.
His rough math: If there are 15,000 dorm rooms in the city, and two students per room paying an average of $10,000 per year, the existing 8% tax would generate $24 million for the city.
“Obviously, this would take the efforts of the state delegation,” says Germain…and he says legislators have said it’s under consideration at some levels.
Remember that phrase, dissect it, analyze it, and understand it.
As we said yesterday, that’s the phrase of the week.
Essentially, Police Chief Gary Gemme is insisting that his new policy forbidding one unit details (and requiring anyone who hires one cop to hire two instead) is internal policy. A couple councilors – most publicly, Michael Germain, is claiming that since the order effects businesses, it is something that should be discussed by city council in some form. And Germain and Gemme’s email war has now become very public, putting “internal policies” at the forefront of the city debate. This might even take more time than street vendors.
Why does it matter? Let’s break it down.
1. Limits of Internal Policy: This is a big one. If Gemme’s logic train is followed, what are the limits of “internal policy?” There are a number of duties consolidated under his authority as chief including taxi licensing, bar licensing, event details, gun permitting. If everything that involves cops and staffing is an internal policy, what is an external policy?
2. Is Germain wrong for questioning?: Gemme (and others) have accused Germain of overstepping his bounds in responding directly to the chief; in today’s Telegram, the chief said that Germain had “no right to e-mail him directly or comment on police internal staffing, and that he should have gone through the city manager.” But if it’s not an internal decision, and is in fact deemed something that effects city business, it may have been Gemme who overstepped his bounds by not raising it to the council beforehand. And if it is an “external issue,” it’s perfectly within the rights of Germain, as a councilor, to bring it up on the floor.
There’s a side issue: Councilor Germain has also grumbled that the item should be referred to his Economic Development committee, not just Public Safety.
Telegram columnist Dianne Williamson is ready to drop a big one tomorrow, including details from an email flame war between Police Chief Gary Gemme and City Councilor Michael Germain. The firey exchange allegedly took place after Germain responded to news about Gemme’s order that all details be doubled with a quickly written rebuke sent to his fellow councilors. That led to a response from Gemme, and so on.
Germain is on WCRN right now, talking about emails between the chief and the councilor; and his feelings on the details. Essentially, Germain says that the council was left out of the loop inappropriately, and that the issue needs to be discussed. Further he says, a uniform law will inappropriately put some businesses out of business; clubs need to be looked at on a one-by-one basis, he says.
So what’s the real reason for Gemme’s order that any club that has one detail cop hire two instead? Sources whom have seen Assistant City Manager Julie Jacobson’s memo to council say that it is about keeping officers safe, especially in light of a few recent incidents at specific “problem” bars. Essentially, the ruling would mean any time the License Commission orders a bar to have a detail, they’d be forced to hire two. But the ruling reportedly isn’t a done deal, as there is talk that the council will in fact take up the issue at a future meeting, possibly on August 12th.