Paul Giorgio: Why Ed Augustus Would Be a Great City Manager
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
The first City Manager of Worcester was Everett Merrill who was a local Industrialist, and who served a very short time. His successor was Francis J. McGrath who served over 40 years. McGrath ruled the city with an iron fist that would make any big city mayor proud. McGrath was the vice principal of a Worcester grammar school before he was tapped to be the assistant to Everett Merrill. After McGrath retired, his assistant Jeff Mulford took over, and then we hired Tom Hoover.
As we know, Hoover was replaced by current City Manager Mike O’Brien, who began his career in the Parks Department, rising to Park’s Commissioner before becoming the City Manager for the past ten years. We all know what a great job he has done.
The right man for the job
Ed Augustus, who Mayor Joe Petty proposed for the job, has had more experience than most of the men who have preceded him in the job. He has had electoral experience, first as a member of the Worcester School Committee, then as a State Senator. He has also had administrative experience, as Congressman Jim McGovern’s Chief of Staff and then going to work on the Federal Level in the US Department of Education.
Augustus, also ran the Children’s Defense Fund in the State of California—no small task. He is currently, the head of Government & Community Affairs for the College of the Holy Cross.
Do these jobs make him a politician as some have claimed? Yes Ed Augustus has been a politician, but in the sense that our Founding Fathers envisioned. Augustus is in the mold of the Citizen Statesman, who serves his city, state and country moving back and forth from the public to the private sector.
Ed Augustus knows the school department better than anyone since Franny McGrath. Having served as a State Senator, he knows how the State House works and what it takes to get things done and he has a good relationship with the local legislative delegation. Having served as Jim McGovern’s chief of staff he knows Washington.
At Holy Cross, one of his primary goals has been to work with neighborhood groups and from all accounts he has done a good job.
This lifetime of experience has prepared Ed Augustus well to lead our city.
Worcester moving forward
But some partisans have to criticize and belittle. Some have to cry foul. Why, to quote former Vice President Spiro Agnew do these “nabobs of negativism” find fault with everything. I am personally tired of the naysayers, those people who build their careers by critizeing others and who offer no positive solutions of their own.
Our city has much to accomplish in the next few years. We need to finish City Square, which is being built with a public / private partnership. We need more commuter trains to link us to Boston. We need to fully integrate CSX into the community and insure JetBlue’s success. But we also have to work with the people in our neighborhoods, who just want good schools and good jobs.
Worcester is changing quickly. It is no longer the city it was twenty years ago. Our industrial base is shrinking and our medical, bio-tech and hi- tech sectors are growing. New people are moving in, drawn by the new economy, but we also need to integrate our new immigrants into our community.
We all deserve a city we can be proud of and leadership that we can trust to do the right things for us.
It is time to move Worcester’s agenda forward. Ed Augustus can and will do this because he is one of us, a product of our city, our schools and our neighborhoods.
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: 7 Questions Worcester Mayor Petty Will Need To Answer
The following are seven big questions facing Worcester Mayor Petty in his secon term in office.
1) City Manager's Position May Be Vacant
2) Economic Development Mixed Reviews
3) New Council
The new City Council will have its own personality, while the old council failed to debate or discuss - and too often voted in block.
A number of the council members just elected have promised to be more proactive. This could be a challenge for Petty -- or an opportunity to drive proactive change leveraging new ideas and new energy.
4) Telegram Closing?
5) Lack of Diversity in Worcester's Government
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