Paul Giorgio: Ed Augustus Has the Leadership Qualities We Need
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
He should be, because Ed Augustus has all the qualities we should want in a leader. He is intelligent, thoughtful and reflective-not reactive. He has a good skill set when it comes to managing people. Finally, but most importantly, he has a vision for the city.
An unfair political agenda
So why is the Telegram & Gazette going out of its way to try to nip any potential candidacy by Augustus for the permanent position? That’s an easy one. It’s all about power and politics. The Telegram & Gazette is losing its influence daily, just look at their declining readership numbers. They think that they will have no influence if Ed Augustus gets the job.
But the T&G finds politics a little too pedestrian for them and since Ed Augustus was a former member of the School Committee and a former State Senator, they view that as a disqualifier. The other thing they don’t like is that he used to be Congressman Jim McGovern’s Chief of Staff.
Most of us would call these accomplishments, but the right-leaning editors of the T&G call them disqualifiers.
Worcester’s City Managers
Let’s get one thing straight. We have had 5 City Mangers and only one of them was “a professional” City Manager. That was Tom Hoover and he was fired. Hoover was one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. He was an Engineer by training, but just couldn’t get his hands around the city’s problems. Hoover was replaced by Mike O’Brien, who was the Parks Commissioner. Nothing in O’Brien’s portfolio at Parks prepared him to be the Manager of the second largest city in New England.
But the City Council saw something else. They saw leadership and they saw drive. We were lucky to have him for ten years.
An effort to discredit Augustus
In Sunday’s paper, the Telegram and Gazette wrote what I perceive as a negative piece about Augustus. Others have described it as a hatched job. What were the conclusions-that City Mangers of like size cities have over twenty years of municipal management experience and that Augustus may be too political because he was a Democratic State Senator.
There is an orchestrated effort by some on the council and the Telegram & Gazette to torpedo Ed Augustus. It is time we call them out on it, because they don’t have the city’s best interest at heart.
Let’s keep up the momentum
Worcester is moving in the right direction and we can’t afford to stop the momentum now. Community leaders, business leaders and the working stiffs of our city want a better city. They want safe neighborhoods, their trash picked up and their streets plowed. That’s the easy part of the city manager’s job.
The hard part is forging alliances, working with neighborhood groups, and working with business leaders to make Worcester a better place.
It doesn’t take a manager to do that, it takes a leader. Any pencil pusher can get the trash picked up, but it takes a leader to make neighborhoods livable places.
Some people have put their personal animus ahead of what’s good for the city.
Maybe it is time that we publically call out these phonies. The ones who claim they are for the taxpayers, but don’t pay their fair share.
It is time to say no to the naysayers, who have built or are building political careers on running people down and in the process running our city down.
I’m proud that I live in Worcester. This is a great city. For the most part our leaders do a good job.
Let’s not disqualify Ed Augustus for once being a State Senator. Let us praise him for doing his civic duty.
Paul Giorgio is a longtime Democratic Party Activist who has worked on numerous campaigns. He was a Lead Advance Person for President Clinton & Vice President Gore. He was Deputy Director of Special Events for President Clinton’s first Inauguration. He has been elected a delegate to numerous Democratic National Conventions and recently served as one of President Obama’s representatives on the Platform Committee. In 2013 he was chosen as a Presidential Elector. He is the President of Pagio, Inc., publishers of Pulse Magazine, Vitality Magazine and Worcester Medicine.
Related Slideshow: 14 To Watch in Central Mass in 2014
EcoTarium's Cox, who took the helm in 2012, is one to certainly watch in 2014. If you don't know Joe, he helped raise over $26.5 million at his previous post at the Galisano Children's Museum in Florida – and broke attendance projections in the process. If a track record of success is any indicator of a future one, expect to see amazing things at the Ecotarium.
Thanks to a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, EcoTarium will soon house one of the most unique exhibits in the country. A team of researchers led by Robert L. Ryan, professor of landscape architecture and regional planning at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, along with Worcester's Clark University and Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, will integrate the science of urban systems into a new "City Science" exhibit.
Next City Manager
With Michael O'Brien's departure from the City Manager post he'd held since 2004 for the private sector, Ed Augustus got tapped from his Director of Communications post at Holy Cross to fill O'Brien's shoes – but for an interim basis only. The former McGovern staffer and State Senator will take the helm for nine months only, leaving the big question in 2014 as to who will be the next City Manager.
The next City Manager will have a myriad of issues to deal with, from economic development, to crime – a top issue as far as residents are concerned. Will the next City Manager address the fact that while more than 40 percent of Worcester's population is a minority, the City has more than 1,600 full- and part-time city employees and well over 80 percent of them are white. Will city government ever reflect the population of Worcester?
The Hamilton native, who did a stint at Syracuse before declaring for the NBA draft this year, is already making an impact as a pro.
In February, GoLocal's John Barone broke the news that Hamilton native, and Syracuse Orange guard, Michael Carter-Williams would declare for the 2013 NBA draft after his sophomore season.
Carter-Williams, a 2011 McDonald’s All-American at St. Andrews in Rhode Island, was drafted 11th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. He is currently having himself quite a rookie year, with 17.6 point and 7.8 assist per game averages.
Dr. Dickson, who was named President and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care this past February, will no doubt continue to have an influential role in the community.
During his tenure to date, challenges have included financial and labor issues, but also oversight of major changes as well -- Dickson appointed a new president of UMass Memorial Medical Center, Patrick Muldoon, and embarked on closer collaboration with Baystate Health to improve quality, access, and affordability of care.
Republican activist and Boylston school committee member Brad Wyatt will definitely be someone to watch in 2014, having just announced he's running for State Representative.
Wyatt is eyeing Hank Naughton's seat in the 12th Worcester District, as Naughton's now seeking the office of Attorney General. According to the Red Mass Group, the district, which includes Boylston, Clinton, Lancaster, and Berlin is the 38th most Republican leaning district in the Commonwealth. Scott Brown took the 12th in 2010 63-36, and Charlie Baker got 51% to Deval Patrick's 40%. Could Wyatt see a similar success in 2014? Stay tuned.
The Holy Cross senior is no stranger to politics – both locally, and in Washington, DC, having worked as an intern in the Office of Communications at The White House (and before that both in the office of the Governor of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Worcester.)
As President and co-founder of the Worcester Student Government Association, Hakim told GoLocal's Susan Wagner, "Lately I have been describing myself as a pragmatist. I’m definitely a dreamer, but I believe the only way to get anything done is to make an honest assessment of where things stand and then go from there."
Who will get medical marijuana licenses in Worcester County will be watched for certain in 2014.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health in November released the names the 100 applicants for potential medicinal marijuana dispensaries who made it through to Phase 2 of the state’s licensing process. Worcester was named by 10 different applicants, more than any other city. The county itself has 14 finalists for dispensaries, more than any other county than neighboring Middlesex, which has almost twice the population.
Future of the T&G
What will become of the Telegram and Gazette will no doubt be closely watched in 2014.
GoLocal's Dean Starkman wrote in November of the scenario, "The Telegram and Gazette, a wallflower among New England newspapers that has suffered years of benign neglect by distant owners, seemed poised for a revival, after John Henry scooped it up as part of his landmark deal to buy the Boston Globe. Now a month later, he’s putting it on the block."
The potential future of the paper that has a nearly 150-year presence in the city and circulation of roughly 75,000 was broken down by Starkman. One of the major question marks is if new ownership would be local, or a return to a New York parent company.
The quintessential power player in Worcester has been a tireless advocate for the Commonwealth's tourism and visitor industry – with clear focus on developing the Canal District and the Blackstone Valley.
Giangregorio sits on the boards of Preservation Worcester and the Worcester Convention and Visitor Bureau, and also serves on the steering committee of Citizens for Business and as representative for the Canal District on the Mayor's Small Business Roundtable.
Be Like Brit
The legacy of Britney Gengel, who perished in the 2010 Haiti earthquake while on a service trip with Lynn University, continues to move forward through the Be Like Brit orphanage.
What started as a project built in her memory is now home to 35 children, and employs more than 40 full-time employees. According to the Be Like Brit website, hundreds of American and Canadian college students and other volunteers visit or volunteer at Be Like Brit each year.
He might have gotten the nod earlier this year for his cool factor, but GoLocal is putting Corazzini on our list of people to watch because of his "kid" factor.
While we feature the business and political minds needed to move Worcester – and all of Central Mass – forward, we recognize that the future of the Commonwealth depends on the education, and development, of our youth.
Waterman, the CEO of Girls, Inc., didn't always know she'd end up in the role of spearheading the 97-year-old organization in Worcester that allows girls the ability to participate in enrichment programs and get the tools, opportunities, and encouragement needed to grow.
A 20 year veteran of the mortgage banking industry, Waterman created "Divorce Mortgage Specialists" to help women in transition, before switching gears to head up Leading Women Massachusetts as President, providing cutting-edge leadership development solutions for women in organizations. Now, Waterman is setting her sights on the 100 year anniversary of Girls Inc. in 2016.
Central Rock Gym
Could 2014 be the year you start climbing to the top? If you haven't already been to a Central Rock Gym, watch out, because you could just catch the climbing bug.
Now in four locations in MA and CT, the gym offers climbing opportunities for all ages and abilities, and hosts climbing camps, regional, national – and international – competitions.
Trial attorney Paczkowski is as busy out of the courtroom as she is in – sitting on the Community Legal Aid Access to Justice Campaign Leadership Committee and co-chair of the Young Lawyers' Division of the Worcester County Bar Association, Paczkowksi is also the founding member and President of the Young Professionals Women's Association.
With goals of serving as a platform for women to share their voice on issues relating to the region's vitality, connecting with women through social and educational events, and providing opportunities for self-enrichment, the YPWA's esteemed found was recently named a 2013 Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star.
- Paul Giorgio: Why Ed Augustus Would Be a Great City Manager
- Paul Giorgio: Food Trucks Don’t Save Cities
- Paul Giorgio: GOP’s Rising Stars Need New Ideas
- Paul Giorgio: Republicans Hit A New Low
- Paul Giorgio: Republicans Need To End Discrimination In Workforce
- Paul Giorgio: Roger Ailes, A Bully with a Bully Pulpit
- Paul Giorgio: Scott Brown is Sarah Palin in a Suit
- Paul Giorgio: Should Worcester Look at Electing a Strong Mayor?
- Paul Giorgio: The State of Disunity
- Paul Giorgio: Will Bridgegate Cost Christie the GOP Nod in 2016?