Welcome! Login | Register
 

Dunkin’ Donuts Tops List for ‘Most Significant’ Chain Restaurant in Massachusetts—Dunkin' Donuts was named the "most significant restaurant…

Dale LePage and the Manhattans CD Release Party September 4—Ceres Bistro at the Beechwood Hotel will host…

Gronkowski “Good to Go” Week 1—Rob Gronkowski told reporters at Gillette Stadium that…

Guest MINDSETTER™ Warren Tolman: Candidate for Attorney General—This race for Attorney General is about leadership.…

Smart Benefits: Two Regs Issued on Contraceptive Coverage—Two regulations on contraceptive coverage were recently issued…

College Admissions: 8 Things They Won’t Tell You in Freshman Orientation—As families pack suitcases and head off to…

Junior League of Worcester Kicked Off 90th Year With a Move—The Junior League of Worcester (JLW) and its…

Fall Activities for the Whole Family—Mark your calendars for the best activities of…

The Urban Gardener: Harvesting Green Beans + Sunflowers—Gardening made simple...

Worcester Pride to Host First Annual Youth Dance—Worcester Pride will host its first annual youth…

 
 

Paul Giorgio: Why Ed Augustus Would Be a Great City Manager

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

 

We have had Plan E government in Worcester for almost 70 years and in that time we have had only one professional city manager, which was Tom Hoover. Hoover was a nice enough guy, but was an engineer by training and lacked the vision that Worcester so desperately needed during his tenure.

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.  

Prev Next

1) City Manager's Position May Be Vacant

 
Michael O'Brien may leave to take a position in the private sector. O'Brien has been the proverbial glue that has held City Hall together.  O'Brien is a competent fiscal manager and keeps the peace among the City Council.
 
Top-level government pros are NOT likely to line up for the Worcester job. Petty will be on the hot seat to find  talent in the post-O'Brien era.
Prev Next

2) Economic Development Mixed Reviews

The recent series in the Boston Globe and the overview in GoLocal outlined the lack of success Worcester has had in creating a comprehensive economic development plan.  The results of the new construction has created some hope, but there lacks a comprehensive vision and the building seems to be developed in a vacuum.  Mayor Petty seems to be extraneous except for the ribbon cutting ceremonies. 
 
The biggest embarrassment was his lack of input into the casino process. Petty had no public opinion on the projects proposed in Worcester or the projects in adjacent towns.
Prev Next

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.

Prev Next

4) Telegram Closing?

 
Since John Henry purchased both the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram, there have been a series of indications that Henry has a strong desire to invest in the Globe and has not said a public word or even visited the Telegram. Media experts have prophesied that the Telegram could be rolled into the Globe - a Globe West edition.
 
This would leave New England's second largest city  without a daily newspaper. What has been deafening is Petty's lack of leadership on this issue.  Can you imagine Tom Menino or Buddy Cianci waiting for a decision to be made on Morrissey Boulevard?
Prev Next

5) Lack of Diversity in Worcester's Government 

 
As GoLocal previously reported, more than 40 percent of Worcester's population is a minority, but you would not know it by who gets the city jobs. Worcester has more than 1,600 full- and part-time city employees and well over 80 percent of them are white.
 
In almost every department, the number of white workers far outnumbers minorities; some departments are as much as 98 percent white. It is a startling disparity in a city known for its diversity. There has been no concerted public effort to change this by Petty.
Prev Next

6) Republican Governor Factor

Worcester may not be as wired to the Patrick Administration since Lt. Governor Murray resigned and returned to Worcester, but the Democratic Mayor can get his phone calls answered in the State House. 
 
The next Governor of the Commonwealth could be Charlie Baker. The Democrats are looking at a bruising primary between AG Martha Coakley and Treasurer Steve Grossman, while Charlie Baker is looking like he may get a free ride through the GOP primary. Baker may not be so quick to be concerned about Joe Petty's phone calls.
Prev Next

7) Legacy

Every Mayor wants to leave his or her city better than they found it -- and wanst to put a mark on the history of the City. Some Mayors focus on schools and others on major developments.
 
Mayor Petty has yet to define his priorities and the second term is the time to unveil a game plan on why he was the man for the job.
 
 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

 

You Must be Logged In to Comment