Contentious Moments of the Medford City Council
A look at some of the more heated times in recent history at City Hall Council Chambers.
The Boston Globe's Matt Byrne reported Thursday of the "outbursts, petty squabbles, and resentment of old disagreements and the city’s longtime mayor," that often occur during Medford City Council meetings on Tuesday nights at City Hall.
Here are examples of a few of the council's more contentious moments in recent history:
City Councilors Irked Over Press Conference Snub (November 2011): Councilor Michael Marks, who was upset over not being notified of a press conference held by Mayor Michael McGlynn the day before, called the city solicitor and community development director the Mayor's "two hench-people."
“To be called a henchman is insulting,” Rumley said.
“It’s kind,” Marks said.
“Kind? Then take your worst shot,” Rumley said.
Marks said Rumley should support the excluded councilors.
“We don’t need the city solicitor to come up and scrutinize what words I use in my speech…” Marks said. “The city solicitor should be behind members of the city council who were not notified.”
Also during this meeting, Councilor Robert Penta compared McGlynn to the Gestapo, then to Hitler.
Penta said he didn’t think McGlynn respected any of the city councilors and had played them “like a ping-pong ball." He later said campaign literature McGlynn distributed in South Medford took credit for things the city council had a hand in.
“He makes it sound like the Gestapo,” Penta said. “He runs this place any way he wants.”
When Councilor Paul Camuso said to Penta that “Gestapo” can be considered offensive to Jewish people, he made a different comparison.
“Fine - the Hitler-type tactics the mayor uses in this community,” Penta said.
Councilors Spar Over Computer Use in Meetings (April 2011): "If you, Councilor Robert M. Penta, do not want to do your part to reduce your carbon footprint, continue to take the notes and have the 400, 500, 600, pieces of paper," Councilor Paul Camuso said.
Penta responded, saying: "I'm not worried about my carbon footprint; maybe you should worry about yours -- Speak for yourself okay? But more importantly, I don't need a computer to have somebody tell me what to say or tell me what to do, I don't need to have somebody do that.
"I have the brain that God gave me. No one is going to computer me to tell me what to say or do, or advise me."
City Council Rejects No Confidence Vote Against Mayor (December 2010): Councilors Robert Penta and Michael Marks brought this resolution forward, which ultimately failed by a 5-2 vote. Marks said the lack of communication from the Mayor to the city council as a whole had gone too far, and he wanted the vote to serve as a "shot across the bow" to local government.
"It is vital for the administration and the council to communicate and pull together," Marks said.
Penta listed off a myriad of topics the City Council has passed resolutions on, but had not heard back from the Mayor. They ranged from street lighting to the new trash and recycling program to renovations of city facilities.
Penta said it reached the boiling point for him when he learned the Mayor planned to continue forward with plans for a parking garage on Governor's Avenue, even though the council voted that parking enforcement plans be made before garage plans are considered.
"This should not continue to be a one-way operation," he said.
Councilors Call Conference 'Slap in the Face' (November 2010): Several councilors weren't pleased when the city held a pre-bid conference for prospective project managers for a proposed parking garage on Governor's Avenue, even though the city council passed a resolution asking that parking enforcement be established in Medford before the city continued with plans for the garage.
Councilors Robert Penta and Breanna Lungo-Koehn both called the decision to hold the meeting without notifying the council a "slap in the face."
"I just don't know what to say," Penta said. "We should just pack up our bags and go home because we serve no purpose to the Mayor of this community."