CITY OF WORCESTER

Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Meeting

Monday, December 20, 2021

Esther Howland (South) Chamber

Convened: 5:06 P.M.

Adjourned: 6:22 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Khrystian E King
Vice Chairperson Kathleen M Toomey
Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Khrystian E King Councilor Sean M. Rose, who was temporarily appointed by the Mayor.
 
Also:Councilor-Elect Etel Haxhiaj City Auditor Robert Stearns Chief Financial Officer Tim McGourthy City Assessor Sam Koneczny Deputy City Clerk Stephen AJ Pottle, clerk
 
1.

Virtual Attendee Call-In Information

1a.

Pursuant to Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021 and in order to ensure active, public engagement, the City of Worcester currently allows for both in-person and remote participation at all City Council and Standing Committee meetings. To partake in the meeting, you may join us directly within the location, follow the below link to join via the WebEx application or dial the direct line as indicated. If you would like to raise your hand when in the meeting as a call-in user you may dial *3. – Phone Number: 415-655-0001, Access Code: 2313 709 5843, Event Password for Attendees: 0000.

https://cow.webex.com/cow/j.php?MTID=ma94d1eec23b5a63bcd699ad0c6325d05

Attachments
2.

Approval of the Minutes

2a.

Order - That the City Council Standing Committee of Municipal and Legislative Operations hereby approves the minutes of the Municipal and Legislative Operations meeting of December 1, 2021.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and moved for a roll call vote to recommend the order be adopted. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

3.

Miscellaneous Items

3a.

Petition of Jenny Pacillo request City Council vote to remove Rule 39 of its rules in its entirety and replace with a new Rule 39 as follows: "Consistent with the City's Charter, at any meeting of the City Council, the citizens and employees of the City shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard, both in person and remotely, regarding any matter presently under consideration by the City Council. The time for speaking shall not exceed two minutes. This privilege shall not apply to items "held under privilege." This privilege shall also not apply to items listed on the agenda as pending in the Committee on Finance and/or ordinances or to tabled items. At all times members of the public shall be accorded the same respect when making their comments as is required of members when addressing the chair." # 7a CC March 30, 2021

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the following speaker:
1. Jenny Pacillo, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of the item

Chairperson Councilor King recognized the Deputy City Clerk, who discussed Rule 39 of City Council, the proposed changes to the rule and state laws relative to the provision of remote public participation.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Rose, who discussed the needs to continue remote public participation and spoke in favor of the petition.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following Chairman’s Orders: Request City Clerk provide City Council with report concerning the total number, mean and median of in-person and remote public participants in City Council meetings from 2016 to present.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be approved as amended to amend Rule 39 to read as follows: “Consistent with the City's Charter, at any meeting of the City Council, the citizens and employees of the City shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard, both in person and remotely, regarding any matter presently under consideration by the City Council. The time for speaking shall not exceed two minutes for any one speaker or thirty (30) minutes for all speakers. This privilege shall not apply to items “held under privilege.” This privilege shall also not apply to items listed on the agenda as pending in the committee on finance and/or ordinances or to tabled items.”

Recommend Approval on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Clerk provide City Council with report concerning the total number, mean and median of in-person and remote public participants in City Council meetings from 2016 to present.

3b.

Petition of William S. Coleman, III request City Council add a provision to its rules that allows a petitioner one point of information or clarification on an item before the City Council. # 7b CC March 30, 2021

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the following speaker:
1. Bill Coleman, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of the item

Chairperson Councilor King then discussed the benefits of the point of information with Speaker #1.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized the Deputy City Clerk, who discussed the procedural motions that City Council can take to recognize the speakers during the meeting and alternative ways public participants can provide or request further information.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Rose, who discussed previous instances where point of information would be helpful to petitioners with Speaker #1.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following two Chairman’s Orders: 1) Request City Manager request City Solicitor to provide City Council with report concerning how a provision allowing for the public to ask City Council for a point of information would work procedurally, as well as potential language to change the rules of City Council accordingly; and 2) Request City Clerk consider including contact information of the Clerk’s Office on the City Council agenda.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager request City Solicitor to provide City Council with report concerning how a provision allowing for the public to ask City Council for a point of information would work procedurally, as well as potential language to change the rules of City Council accordingly.

Request City Clerk consider including contact information of the Clerk’s Office on the City Council agenda.

3c.

Petition of Jo Hart request City of Worcester immediately cease its current practice of allowing item to be brought up under suspension at City Council meetings, with the exception of truly emergency situations, in fairness to the public and in the spirit of having a truly open meeting. # 7i CC October 25, 2016

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the Deputy City Clerk, who discussed when items are permitted to be brought up under suspension at City Council meetings.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

4.

Communication of the City Auditor

4a.

Transmitting an information communication relative to the schedule of the city's completed and in-progress school construction projects participating in the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) grant programs. # 15d CC April 27, 2021

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the City Auditor, who provided an overview of the school construction projects participating in the MSBA grant programs.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

5.

Communications of the City Clerk

5a.

Transmitting an informational communication relative to an update concerning the 2020 re-districting process. # 12c CC November 9, 2021

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and a moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

5b.

Transmitting an informational communication concerning split precincts in election operations. # 12d CC November 9, 2021

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and a moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

5c.

Transmitting a communication relative to a motion made in Executive Session on October 5, 2021 relative to the case of Worcester Interfaith, Inc., et. al. v. City of Worcester et al.; United States District Court Civil No. 4:21-CV-40015, which reads as follows: After review and discussion in the October 5th Executive Session of the limited options that would purportedly be in conformance with the federal Voting Rights Act, the city council does hereby decide to move this discussion to an open session of the city council for further discussion at the October 12th meeting (please see attached documentation for various options discussed within the Executive Session). # 12b CC October 12, 2021

Attachments
In Committee for informational purposes only

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and brought forth the following Chairman’s Order: Request City Manager provide City Council with report concerning the impact of a charter commission on the consent decree relative to the School Committee redistricting process.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager provide City Council with report concerning the impact of a charter commission on the consent decree relative to the School Committee redistricting process.

5d.

Transmitting an informational communication relative to previous City Council items concerning tax exemptions. # 12b CC January 5, 2021

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the City Assessor, who discussed the efforts concerning promoting tax exemptions to taxpayers and payment plan options with the City.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

6.

Communications of the City Manager - Financial Updates

6a.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2022 financial update, as of October 31, 2021. # 9.29A CM November 16, 2021

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and moved to take the item up collective with item #6b through #6j.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized the Chief Financial Officer, who provided an overview of FY 2022 financial update, the impact and plans relative to the ARPA funds, the new tax rates and the available free cash for the city.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

6b.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2022 financial update, as of September 30, 2021. # 9.29A CM October 19, 2021

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a)

6c.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2022 financial update, as of August 31, 2021. # 10.30A CM September 22, 2021

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a)

6d.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2021 financial update, as of June 30, 2021. # 9.29A CM August 10, 2021

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a)

6e.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2021 financial update, as of May 31, 2021. # 8.29A CM June 22, 2021

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a)

6f.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2021 financial update, as of April 30, 2021. # 21h CM June 8, 2021

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a)

6g.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2021 financial update, as of March 31, 2021. # 9.29A CM April 27, 2021

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a)

6h.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2021 financial update, as of February 28, 2021. # 8.29A CM March 30, 2021

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a)

6i.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2021 financial update, as of January 31, 2021. # 9.29A CM February 23, 2021

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a)

6j.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2021 financial update, as of December 31, 2020. # 8.29A CM February 2, 2021

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a)

7.

Communications of the City Manager - Miscellaneous

7a.

Transmitting informational communication relative to professional development trainings and personal learning opportunities for the City's workforce. # 10.4A CM September 22, 2021

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and moved to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

7b.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the proposed budget for the initial portion of American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. # 9.29C CM August 10, 2021

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and moved to take the item up collectively with item #7c.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized the Chief Financial Officer, who discussed the terms relative to the ARPA fund contracts, the reason behind choosing a flexible approach to the funds and efforts to provide more transparency relative to the funding process.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

7c.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the proposed budget for the initial portion of American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. # 21a CC August 10, 2021

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #7b)

7d.

Transmitting informational communication relative to a report concerning the processes available to review issues/changes to the functioning of the City Council including but not limited to the length of council terms(s) term limit. # 9.13C CC February 27, 2018

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the Deputy City Clerk, who discussed the history of the item, methods to change the charter and the impact of aligning municipal election with state and federal election year.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following Chairman’s Order: Request City Clerk provide City Council with a report concerning a list of municipalities with three-year City Council term limits.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Rose, who spoke in opposition to increasing the length of the term and imposing term limits for elected City Council officials.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Clerk provide City Council with a report concerning a list of municipalities with three-year City Council term limits.