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McGlynn Calls for Housing Director's Resignation

Mayor asked authority director to resign in a letter Wednesday.

Mayor Michael McGlynn has asked the Executive Director of the Medford Housing Authority to resign.

McGlynn's request follows the footsteps of Gov. Deval Patrick, who asked for Robert Covelle's resignation last week. Covelle has been under scrutiny since a federal audit report released in April raised issues with the authority's financial practices. Shortly after the audit, reports surfaced that Covelle allegedly hired close friends and family for jobs and contracts.

Covelle agreed to a request from the housing authority's board of commissioners to take a two week, unpaid leave of absence starting Monday. McGlynn sent a letter to Covelle Wednesday asking he resign.

"I strongly believe that it is in the best interest of the Medford Housing Authority and the citizens of Medford that you resign," McGlynn wrote. "To do anything less could be detrimental in the relationship between MHA and the state and federal government."

The city government is autonomous from the housing authority, but four of the appointments on its board of commissioners are recommended by McGlynn and approved by the Medford City Council. The fifth member is appointed by the governor.

The audit report, conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and submitted to the authority in late March, found the authority frequently agreed to contracts without putting projects out to bid, and it did not follow federal guidelines in doling out about $8 million in federal funds in 2010 and 2011.

After learning of the audit in early April, McGlynn wrote a letter to Covelle asking for changes in procedure at the authority and the hiring of a procurement officer. He called the audit "significant and severe," but fell short of asking for Covelle's resignation.

Since then, a Boston Globe report alleged that Covelle made room for a job for close friend Sam Pirri by demoting another authority employee, and suspended an employee who questioned the use of politically-connected contractors. The scrutiny of Covelle also spread to McGlynn, who Covelle allegedly once called his consultant, the Globe report said.

In a recent meeting, authority commission members said they had been questioned by State Police and subpoenaed by a grand jury, though the details of the investigation are undisclosed. John Lonergan, the authority's director of operations, is on paid leave after admitting he sold copper pipes belonging to the authority to a scrap yard, and held the money for about a year.

Covelle, the brother-in-law of , was hired as the authority's director in 2009. He has not admitted to any wrong-doing, insisting that many of the practices at the authority have carried over from the previous administration. He had created an action plan that included hiring a procurement officer and several consultants to address the issues in the audit. It is unclear whether the authority will continue with those plans.

Two weeks ago, the Medford City Council passed a no confidence vote against Covelle by a 4-3 margin, with Robert Penta bringing the resolution forward. Tuesday night, the Penta called for the council to ask for Covelle's firing, but the vote failed, 3-4.

That vote factored into McGlynn's decision to ask for his resignation, he wrote.

"Our city council has approved a vote of no confidence in your administration; the same council that has to approve our federal appropriations," he wrote.

Covelle could not be immediately reached Wednesday night.

Patrick asked Covelle to resign through a letter from Aaron Gornstein, his housing undersecretary, on Thursday, citing the findings of the federal audit. Patrick also replaced his appointment to the authority's commission Eugene McGillicuddy with Sean Caron. McGillicuddy is related to McGlynn through marriage, he said during a housing meeting in April after being asked about his relationship to McGlynn by Medford resident and videographer Joseph Viglione.

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Jarret Bencks (Editor) May 03, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Hi Joe, you have been attributed for asking that question.
Angie May 04, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Joe Vig needs constant pats on the back and worship from the masses me thinks. Who cares Joe, you're a 65 year old who still needs Mommy's approval. We all know the trouble you stir up in Medford and surrounding towns.
Angie May 04, 2012 at 02:03 PM
In other words, some folks in town think your agenda is to verbally assasinate anyone that stands in your way. Why would you want to intentionally hurt people and there are many that you've done this to, unless you have some kind of sick agenda? I agree that the MHA situation is a scandel but to take it a step further and bring the state into it? That speaks of revenge and self worship, especially when you keep mentioning that you 'broke' the story.
Joe Viglione May 04, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Joan, you are absolutely right. Crop rotation makes for a better harvest. Medford has stagnant waters. Time for a refreshing change.
Jarret Bencks (Editor) May 04, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Two comments in this thread were deleted for violating Patch's terms of use.
Lisa from West Medford May 04, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Councilor Penta is there for people when they need help in this city. That post is missing that badgered him so I can't remember all the attacks to respond. Thank you for removing it. We need more people like Mr. Penta and Joe Viglione and that woman who speaks at the council every Tuesday night. Isn't it interesting that you turn on tv 3 and see people mocked and harassed. "Revenge" and "self worship" is a description of the access TV station, not its critics.
Angie May 05, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Lisa, do you understand the 'beef' going on between Joe V and TV3??? If you knew the entire truth you'd rethink your response here. Counciler Penta is mean and vindictive. He speaks out against gays and calls renters in Medford 'transients', that's on tape so there's no denying it. If you really want to know more about this and see what Joe V is really like, go to his blog. http://informationcentralmedford.blogspot.com/
Angie May 05, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Joe why does everything dissolve into "Lets screw TV3"? Stay on topic. We were talking about Mayor McGlynn, Penta and the rest of the tribe. I'm not Dan Sarno, I live in South Medford. I've been coming to the council meetings for years and I've heard you get up at the podium, nearly each and every week and every topic segues into TV3. As did this one.
Joe Viglione May 05, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Angie from TV 3 takes things off topic. Then when you hit a nerve responding to her rants she backs off. Notice she won't answer a simple question about minutes to the meetings, though she's the one who veered way off topic. She posted a link to the blog giving the community information on TV3, I didn't. By the way, Angie brought up the attacks on Bob Penta and she was deleted for crossing the line. Angie's hypocrisy is showing. OK, you want to talk about McGlynn? McGlynn should resign and Bob Penta should be Mayor. TV 3 is a big part of the problem, the former TV 3 President, Eugene McGillicuddy migrated to the Medford Housing Authority...that can only happen one way, not by coincidence, by the Mayor (McGlynn) attempting to control "autonomous" bodies like TV 3 and the MHA. There's the connection, "Angie".
Joe Viglione May 05, 2012 at 04:36 PM
p.s. No one is trying to "screw" TV3. Medford Community Cablevision, Inc. is out of compliance in regards to hiring practices, proper procedures building a board of directors, keeping and maintaining minutes to meetings and releasing hard copies of expense reports and income as other cities and towns do. Angie's defensive and gruff responses don't resolve those questions. In fact, they seem downright defensive, don't they? Answer those questions, Angie. Furthermore, these are the EXACT SAME problems that Medford Housing faces and it is all fair game as the former TV 3 President, Gene McGillicuddy was the chair of the Medford Housing Board and similar practices were uncovered at MHA that have been complained about at TV 3. No one is "screwing" the MHA Angie, and no one is "screwing TV3". It seems that TV3 and the MHA are screwing the community. Please print your full name as I do. You can't, you won't, thus your defensive posture can be directly attributed to the board of TV 3.
Larry A. May 05, 2012 at 08:00 PM
OK, the City Council voted for the resignation of Robert Covelle, then the Mayor follows the lead of the council? This is leadership that works? Is not leadership leading the way? If the Mayor is the leader, why is he following other elected officials. I don't get it.
Larry A. May 05, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Condolences to the family of Councilor Robert Penta as I just read there was a passing in his family on Friday night, May 4. Good thoughts going out to Councilor Penta and his loved ones.
stevieB May 06, 2012 at 01:23 PM
its called leading from behind...ala obama leadership..incompetence, arrogance and cluelessness...the democratic way
Joe Viglione May 06, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Stevie B must mean "Leading from behind" the George W. Bush way. Democrats gave the country a surplus with Clinton, Bush decimated it, Obama is working hard to get us the surplus back. It's a tough chore with a propaganda machine out there that brainwashes the weak minded.
Thelma E. Oranczak May 11, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Who in the hell are all you people/Joe V/Angie blablablabla? You are all corrupt misleading and self indulgent. I have Lived in Medford over 65 years.And today it is as ONE FLEW OVER THE COOKOOS NEST.
Public Access Producer May 14, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Hello Thelma, respectfully I say to thee that some of us are not "corrupt", "misleading" or "self indulgent." Some of just want to know how the city we live in functions. City Hall abhors transparency. I can agree with you on one thing, City Hall is very much like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Remember, Nurse Ratched, was a woman more of a dictator than a nurse in that 1975 flick. Very much like our Mayor, yes? Thanks also for using your real name.
Rick Catino May 15, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I am truly amazed at how these posts are full of personalized attacks, and am saddened that the level of discourse has become an aggressive collection of slurs and innuendo mixed with sounds bytes of fact. This isn't a discussion... it's noise.
Jarret Bencks (Editor) May 15, 2012 at 07:27 PM
A comment was deleted from this thread for being off topic.
Public Access Producer May 15, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Rick, sometimes noise is better than the alternative that the Medford City Council used to appreciate: silence. Not enough people in Medford speak up, and this article proclaiming McGlynn asks for the resignation of the Executive Director displays the arrogance of this Mayor. He's the one who put in Covelle who is the brother-in-law of the Mayor and Personnel Director's secretary. Who is kidding who here? Please don't confuse exposing how business is done in Medford with "personalized attacks" - if those individuals weren't connected so closely to City Hall it wouldn't be such a disgrace.
Rick Catino May 15, 2012 at 08:27 PM
I have been reading the Patch and associated comments for some time now. My comments were not specifically directed at this topic which is merely one topic where I see behavior that would not be tolerated in most places. I'm not the least bit confused and stand by my earlier statement. Specific to this thread, as I understand the Plan A form of government, citizens elect a mayor. I believe McGlynn is in his 12th or 13th term now, and was last elected with something like 65% of the vote. A logical perspective would be that the voters choose him over any other candidate(s) that came forward. From the comments I read here, one would have to conclude that the 65% of the voters who cast a ballot for McGlynn are all related to him. He wasn't appointed Mayor by friends and family. Where folks disagree with his mayoral performance, they have the option to vote for someone else. That does not appear to have happened in the past quarter century. I also have to believe that those people who have passion around a specific topic could find better means to effect change other than bashing and whining. It is obvious that several people feel very passionate that political patronage is the root of all of Medford's collective problems. In my humble opinion, to dismiss any accomplishments that have occurred in McGlynn's administration shows a lack of balance and perspective. It could just be me... sometimes I have difficulty differentiating passion from obsession.
Public Access Producer May 15, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Rick, sometimes it is neither passion or obsession but a need to correct wrongs that improve the place where we live. The 65% McGlynn claims he won by is a bit of an illusion, I choose to look at it as a Mayor who came within 2,500 votes out of 55,000 people of not being re-elected. As I understand it his opponent won the "straw" in Room 207 before the debate and that was ignored so Mike McGlynn could close the show. The place was packed with friendly faces who applauded loudly for McGlynn...a definite "stacked house" against someone who appeared to be a political novice unaware of how seasoned politicians play the game. An incumbent of 24 years coming within approximately 2500 votes of being removed is a big red flag, whether you choose to look at it or not. Imagine if Stephanie Muccini Burke, the unofficial scheduled opponent, had run rather than take the position she now holds! The very popular Burke could have, very likely, won the whole thing... McGlynn's accomplishments get enough press...and that's another problem, Rick, the press has lots of ribbon cuttings but an article about the 4 million dollar judgment against Mystic Valley Development Commission, headed by McGlynn (with Stephanie Burke on the board) was in a Malden paper and not its Medford counterpart. 4 million dollars is a lot of money, as is the 1.7 million collected from cable TV subscribers in 2010/2011. These are facts I wish people would get "obsessed" and "passionate" about. Money talks.
Rick Catino May 15, 2012 at 10:04 PM
LOL - I'm already sorry I posted a response in the first place but, since I did, I'll make this one last entry.... I have to poke at your "facts": Medford has about 55K residents, not voters. Of those who had enough passion about the mayoral race to go to polls, 65% voted for McGlynn. If Medford had a million residents and the same number of voters cast a ballot, it would still be 65%. Rules of mathematics cannot be changed so someone can try to make a point. That pretty much renders most of what you have said above somewhat moot. Relative to MVDC, I believe the judgement you refer to was for an old eminent domain suit brought by former owners of the property. Not sure what that has to do with anything but glad you brought it up so that readers might erroneously think it had something to do with McGlynn. And the fact that cable subscribers paid $1.7M is a nice anecdotal factoid.... which also has nothing to do with the topic or my prior posts. I stand by my initial post..."an aggressive collection of slurs and innuendo mixed with sound bytes of fact" and may I add, made mostly by people who do not identify themselves and have "passion and/or obsession" via pseudonym.
Public Access Producer May 15, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Wow, Rick, 55K residents is right. Also, the 65% probably didn't include absentee ballots, etc. But it's a nice soundbite and it is actually the official soundbite that came out of the Mayor's lips. "old eminent domain suit" not showing up in the press...4 million bucks. That's like a politician on the phone last week talking to me about a 1 1/2 year old domestic violence case he wanted to forget about because it was long ago...as if 18 months is long ago. I got it, Rick. Can't argue with people who seem to tow the official line.
Rick Catino May 15, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Thank you for reinforcing my position. My initial point was that in the absence of facts, you can always introduce unrelated news (MVDC), irrelevant data (" like a politician on the phone last week"); play with the math until it suits you ("2,500 votes out of 55,000 people"), then slam whoever disagrees with your point of view. ("Can't argue with people who seem to tow the official line"). Political discourse in this country has reached a point where intelligent people cannot seem to discuss an issue without anger and unnecessary emotion. Going back to my initial post, I view this as very sad indeed. No need to respond (even though I'm pretty certain you will) since I'm all done here. Best of luck to you; whoever you are.....
Rick Catino May 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM
And one last thing in the spirit of transparency.... My father's father's nephew married Mike McGlynn's fathers's sister. In the mind of some, I'm probably one of those "relatives" - lol, but I've never been in politics or worked in the public sector. I disclose this to save time for those folks compelled to research those kinds of things. I did spend 20 years as an executive with a Fortune 10 company, currently operate a small consulting group, and sit on a Corporate Board, as well as the Board of the Boys and Girls Club.
Public Access Producer May 16, 2012 at 02:37 PM
You are protesting a bit too much, Rick, and have gone way off topic. I stand by my belief that this Mayor came very close to losing the election. You made two posts and you asked me not to respond. Sounds like you need to read Hamlet...something about protesting too much. If you don't want a response, don't respond. It is as simple as that, Rick.
Jarret Bencks (Editor) May 22, 2012 at 01:09 PM
A comment on this thread was deleted for violating Patch's terms of use.
stevieB May 25, 2012 at 12:50 PM
wow Joe V says Bush was leadin gfrom behind...a surplus?? its called the invention of the internet...oh yeah Gore "invented" it...Joe what government ad are you in..after all you are a democrat and you like the messiah...how much of my taxes get you through the day?
Rick Catino May 25, 2012 at 01:08 PM
According to GAO, the only four years we have shown a surplus since 1969 happen to coincide with the last four years of Clinton's presidency. I wouldn't know about Al Gore and the Internet, or the messiah, or other extraneous, off-topic information, but the deficit/surplus information is a publicly available and published fact.
Public Access Producer May 25, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I'm happy to be a Progressive and vote mostly Democrat (though I did vote for Bill Campbell - Republican - for Secretary of the State). Unlike many "independents" (Republicans who are ashamed of how they vote) you can be nice to me for being honest about how I vote. For the person and what they represent, not the party. Democrat is how I lean, though there are many Democratic politicians that have disappointed me. When the poster attacks Al Gore (who was reportedly instrumental in helping the internet blossom and flourish) - when a poster names someone and then belittles them, well, that's why we flag them as inappropriate. And the rants take this off topic. The discussion is the resignation of Bob Covelle and how tight he was with McGlynn and Sheriff DiPaola. He got the job through connections, not skill.

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