Mayor Calls For Action on Dilapidated DPW Yard, Union Grows Frustrated
Mayor says city councilors have a "lack of understanding of what their job is."
Mayor Michael McGlynn is looking to immediately address building issues at the city's public works yard and may appeal to the state for permission to do so on an emergency basis.
Six garage bays have been condemned since 2009, but McGlynn said workers sometimes access them anyway. In addition, other neighboring bays will be shut down, McGlynn said after a tour of the yard Friday morning.
"These must be torn down," he said.
The city will put together a list of immediate facility needs and may appeal to the state to take emergency action to demolish the garages, McGlynn said. The city will look into temporary alternatives for storing vehicles this winter, he said.
McGlynn attempted to begin design and construction of a new yard with a bond proposal in January, but it stalled out before the city council in February.
In February, the city council rejected the $1.3 million bond request for design work and the initial phase of construction.
The issues at the yard must be addressed, whether the city council approves a bond for them or not, McGlynn said.
"I'm not going to stand by and see this thing languish," he said.
Councilors who voted against the $1.3 million bond request for design work and the initial phase of construction wanted McGlynn to look into the possibility of a public works/police/fire "megaplex" rather than a new yard. They also wanted to wait on a study of the city's police headquarters. But McGlynn said Friday that such a concept isn't realistic considering the space needs of public works.
Five councilors must vote in support of a bond for it to pass. Councilors Breanna Lungo-Koehn, Robert Penta and Michael Marks all voted against initial funding for the project in February. That group has also stood against a bond to construct a parking garage on Governors Avenue.
"There's a minority group on the council that's holding some of these projects up," McGlynn said.
He criticized the council for failing to address key issues in Medford.
"There's been a lack of civil discussion on issues of quality of life," McGlynn said, "and a lack of understanding of what their job is."
There are large holes in the roofs of the condemned garages, and many of the 11 neighboring bays appear in condition not much better.
"It's an issue of safety," McGlynn said Friday. "I can't have personnel risking their live to take equipment out of these buildings."
Mike Nestor, president of Medford's DPW workers union, said the union has worked with McGlynn on the issues at the yard and has grown frustrated with the council.
"We were all set with the Mayor's plans," Nestor said Friday. "It's getting very frustrating with this slow process."