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Thank you for your vote of confidence and continued faith in my ability

to lead this body.

Over the course of the past year this Council has distinguished itself as
a body that acts responsibly in representing and serving all of our
citizens.

Those who opposed an elective body that included representatives


from each of City’s eight wards often couched their opposition in the
fear that Ward Councilors would only be concerned about issues that
affected their particular ward. As a lead advocate of ward
representation it is my honor and observation to report that this has
NOT been the case.

In fact each Councilor, whether representing a ward or the City at


large, has focused on the issues affecting our City, have done their due
diligence and have given voice to our residents. The fear of pothole
politics and Ward Bosses has not materialized. Neighborhood councils
remain vibrant and this body continues to rely on them for advice on
matters that impact their neighborhoods.

I commend all the new Councilors for their idealism, hard work and
fresh perspectives in addressing complicated issues. Early in your
term, with the leadership of Councilor Lysak, we supported the
continuance of the Immaculate Conception Church; saving a centuries
old place of worship which has served thousands of people. This
Council made the difficult and right decision, even in the face of
threats of litigation against the city and ourselves.

I especially want to commend Councilor Kateri Walsh for her leadership


in reviewing and revising the City council Rules and Orders. This
document had not been revised in fifty years and was a daunting task.
Councilor Walsh did an exceptional job.
This past year we held budget hearings during weekends in order to
allow maximum citizen participation, we made appropriate cuts and
passed a timely budget that maintained services and preserved jobs.
It was also through this Council’s relentless advocacy that the
residents and businesses of our City received a much needed reduction
of their property tax rates.

Moving forward we need to continue to be vigilant of the City’s


finances, environmental health and the provision of City services. We
need to continue to support our Executive branch of government while
holding it accountable.

While 2011 holds the potential for fiscal challenges, we must work to
insure that our residents and businesses do not become the easy
solution through increased fees and taxes.

We must also complete our unfinished business: we need to vet and


finalize our zoning regulations, a work that has been in the making for
the past three years; it is crucial to providing a more business friendly
environment.

We need to pass an ordinance that gives real powers to citizens in


providing oversight to our police; a board that has the authority and
accountability for hiring, firing, discipline and promotion.

We need to complete the work of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes


Committee. It is an initiative that is taking ground as a new source of
revenue across the Commonwealth and across the Nation.

We need to complete the work of the Mayor’s Compensation Review


Committee. While I am personally against any salary increase, the
issue deserves a public airing and a resolution.
In conclusion, let me say that I am proud to lead this body, with it’s
new form of government, you have done your job well. I further
understand that democracy is not always clean, sometimes it is
messy. I understand that in a body of thirteen people we will not
always, nor should we, see things in the same way but we SHOULD and
MUST respect each others opinions and behave with the dignity that
this Chamber deserves. Thank you.