CITY OF WORCESTER

Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Meeting

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Levi Lincoln (North) Chamber

Convened: 6:02 P.M.

Adjourned: 7:55 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Khrystian E King
Vice Chairperson George J Russell
Councilor Sean M Rose
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Khrystian E. King Councilor George J. Russell, who participated in the meeting remotely Councilor Sean M. Rose, who participated in the meeting remotely
 
Also:City Solicitor Michael Traynor Chief Development Officer Peter Dunn Assistant City Manager Hung Nguyen Assistant City Clerk Clare M. Robbins, 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 attend the meeting in-person within the meeting location, follow the below link to join via Zoom or dial the direct line as indicated.

Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/99524470181
Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Zoom Phone Number: (929) 205 6099
Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Zoom Access Code: 995 2447 0181

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 Committee meeting of June 22, 2023.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

3.

Communications of the City Manager

3a.

Informational communication relative to an update on the status of American Rescue Act (ARPA) budget. # 9.40A CM June 13, 2023

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the Chief Development Officer, who provided an overview of programs being implemented and continued through the cityís American Rescue Act (ARPA) monies.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Rose, who discussed gratitude for the city continuing to prioritize rental assistance and food insecurity programs.

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

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

3b.

Transmitting informational communication on the report for special process servers. # 12a CC June 13, 2023

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and moved to take the item up collectively with items #4a and #4b.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized the following speakers:
1. Grace Ross, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor or opposed to the item
2. Terry Cherry, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor or opposed to the item
3. Martin Omasta, Hatfield resident, spoke neither in favor or opposed to the item
4. Ruth Adafi, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor or opposed to the item
5. Peggy Kozak, Leicester resident, spoke neither in favor or opposed to the item
6. Stephen Jenkins, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor or opposed to the item
7. Chris Horton, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor or opposed to the item
8. Sherry Stanley, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor or opposed to the item
9. Deirdre Dundon, Grafton resident, spoke neither in favor or opposed to the item
10. Mary Pettrone, Boylston resident, spoke neither in favor or opposed to the item

Chairperson Councilor King recognized the City Solicitor, who discussed the courtís jurisdiction over the appointment of special process servers.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager notify the Worcester Consumer Rights Program as to concerns brought forward by the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team relative to the appointment of special process servers, to assist individuals who have raised said concerns regarding evictions and foreclosures.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Russell, who discussed the importance of advocates working with the appropriate entities to amend State law that could change the procedure for appointing special process servers.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Rose, who discussed the limited ways City Councilors can support residents during foreclosures, the need for the city to provide informational guidelines concerning foreclosures and whether the city has any health and safety related powers to aid individuals going through an eviction or foreclosure with the City Solicitor.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following two (2) Chairmanís Orders: 1) Request Standing Committee on Municipal and Legislative Operations meet with members of the State Delegation for the purpose of discussing testimony received by the city from the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team as it relates to special process servers actions during evictions and foreclosures; and 2) Request City Manager provide City Council with a side by side comparison of the opinions provided by City Solicitor and retired Federal prosecutor Sarah McKee relative to court appointed special process servers and constables not licensed through the city evicting and foreclosing upon residents.

Chairperson Councilor King discussed whether the City of Worcester would be liable for fraudulent acts with the City Solicitor.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager request Police Chief provide City Council with a report concerning whether body-worn cameras are engaged and on when police officers respond to calls regarding evictions and foreclosures.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Speaker #1, who discussed the Worcester Police Departmentís involvement relative to foreclosures and evictions that occur in the city.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Speaker #2, who discussed regulations relative to moving companies that are used by constables during foreclosures and evictions.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager provide City Council with report concerning whether the cityís consumer affairs personnel can aid in ensuring trucks that are used by moving companies during foreclosures and evictions have vehicle plates that are registered properly.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the items #3b and #4b be placed on file and item #4a be held.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (Rose absent)

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager notify the Worcester Consumer Rights Program as to concerns brought forward by the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team relative to the appointment of special process servers, to assist individuals who have raised said concerns regarding evictions and foreclosures.

Request Standing Committee on Municipal and Legislative Operations meet with members of the State Delegation for the purpose of discussing testimony received by the city from the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team as it relates to special process servers actions during evictions and foreclosures.

Request City Manager provide City Council with a side by side comparison of the opinions provided by City Solicitor and retired Federal prosecutor Sarah McKee relative to court appointed special process servers and constables not licensed through the city evicting and foreclosing upon residents.

Request City Manager request Police Chief provide City Council with a report concerning whether body-worn cameras are engaged and on when police officers respond to calls regarding evictions and foreclosures.

Request City Manager provide City Council with report concerning whether the cityís consumer affairs personnel can aid in ensuring trucks that are used by moving companies during foreclosures and evictions have vehicle plates that are registered properly.

3c.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Racial Equity Audit Report for the departments of Human Resources and Health & Human Services. # 15c CC September 29, 2022

In Committee March 2, 2023 - Held

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the Assistant City Manager, who provided an overview of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives being undertaken by the city, including recruitment initiatives occurring to hire a Chief Equity Officer.

Chairperson Councilor King then brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager provide City Council with an update concerning the status of the Worcester Police Department (WPD) Equity Audit.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Rose, who discussed whether there has been any discussion about putting out another RFP for an executive search firm to aid in the hiring of a Chief Equity Officer, as well as how the city and search firm intend to value internal candidates for the Chief Equity Officer position with the Assistant City Manager.

Chairperson Councilor King discussed the review process used by the city to ensure all cabinet and department head level positions are held accountable with the Assistant City Manager.

Chairperson Councilor King then brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning the status of implementing recommendations made in the cityís Racial Equity Audit Report for the departments of Human Resources and Health and Human Services. Further, request City Manager include in said report information concerning reviewing and potentially adjusting all job descriptions for cabinet level positions director level positions. Further, request City Manager include in said report information concerning the status of developing performance reviews for positions, as they relate to raises, promotions and demotions.

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

Recommend Hold on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nay

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager provide City Council with an update concerning the status of the Worcester Police Department (WPD) Equity Audit.

Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning the status of implementing recommendations made in the cityís Racial Equity Audit Report for the departments of Human Resources and Health and Human Services. Further, request City Manager include in said report information concerning reviewing and potentially adjusting all job descriptions for cabinet level positions director level positions. Further, request City Manager include in said report information concerning the status of developing performance reviews for positions, as they relate to raises, promotions and demotions.

4.

Miscellaneous Items

4a.

Order of Councilor Thu Nguyen and Councilor Etel Haxhiaj - Request Standing Committee on Municipal and Legislative Operations meet jointly with the Standing Committee on Public Safety to review the attached letter from retired federal prosecutor, Sarah McKee, concerning the violence of a constable not licensed in the city physically assaulting city residents. # 16d CC June 27, 2023

Attachments

Recommend Hold on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (Rose absent) (See Item #3b)

4b.

Order of Councilor Thu Nguyen and Councilor Etel Haxhiaj - Request Standing Committee on Municipal and Legislative Operations review the attached legal opinion acquired by the statewide coalition, the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending, solicited on behalf of the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team (WAFT) in relation to the cityís recent legal opinion concerning court appointed special process servers and constables not licensed in the city evicting residents. # 16c CC June 27, 2023

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (Rose absent) (See Item #3b)

4c.

Order of Councilor Khrystian E. King - Request Standing Committee on Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee hold a discussion regarding pending state legislation, including home rule petitions, impacting the city. # 10c CC March 29, 2022

In Committee June 22, 2022 - Held In Committee July 14, 2022 - Held In Committee August 24, 2022 - Held In Committee September 28, 2022 - Held

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and discussed the State earmark process with the Assistant City Manager.

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

Recommend Hold on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nay