June 24, 2008

City Manager's Scores

Have you ever watched the Olympics and wondered how they scored a gymnastic or skating event? That is how I feel when I see the City Manager's grade in the paper today. Maybe we can have Dick Button be a commentator during a City Council Meeting.

The thing that really amazes me, however, that in a 1-5 scoring system that many of the councilors have opted to break it down beyond the decimal point to tenths and even hundreths of a point. I got to ask what is the difference between getting a score of 3.7 versus 3.6, or better yet a score of 4.35? You got to love Councilor Clancy,however, not only does he use only whole numbers but he gave an 18 out of possible 20. I wish that I had him as teacher in high school.

On the serious side, I focus on Economic Development. Councilor Rushton gave him the lowest grade of a 3 and I am not sure if it should even be that high. On the other end, a 4.5 for economic development on the high end, am I missing something? Imagine if City Square, South Worcester Industrial Park, Worcester Univercity Partnership., the NRSA program and ORH were successful, what score would he get then?

Versus keeping this inane system, maybe the City Councilors should vote once per year on the City Manager either 1) you keep the job or 2) you are fired. Either the job is getting done or it is not. This grading system is a complete waste of time.


Anonymous said...

How about the scoring for the councillors as re: econmoic dev'ment

1. Coucillors blew a chance for Mickey D's at Main & Madison but never opposed more low income housing for the site.

2. Council was against any zoning change nec. to develop Wyman Gordon Parcel.

3. Council, I suspect, is adamantly opposed to significant increases in air traffic at the airport which traffic is nec. for a successful airprot

4. Their dev'ment agenda is about 99% composed of dev'ing more low income housing.

5. The remaining 1% of their econ. dev'ment agenda entails constructing little Yellow Boxes.

6. The airport access road.........100% of them are opposed...or an east-west corridor

7. Millions in giveaways to a private not for profit theatre that doesnt even pay property taxes. Next they'll want non profit staus for their soon to be built restaurant.

8. Veiled threats against CSX.

Would you want to bring your large business to Worc?

Bill Randell said...

I am giving Jahn a score of 4.367595.

He lost a tenth of a point for thinking WoMag wrote against the skating rink. As Gabe pointed out, the editorial actually supported the skating rink.

Anonymous said...

Paulie, how can you state that O'Brien has been good to District 4when you have to lay out a $1,000 + dollars to buy "municipal shade trees" that the city s/b paying for?

The money that s/b paying for your trees is going to pay 10 sick days per year taken on average by every city employee.........except the 13% of teh city employees who are out Injured on Duty status......every day is a sick for them....tax free sick day too.

This is the same reason the colleges wont kick in Pilot Payments. City has to get its own house in order before it sticks its hand out.

Anonymous said...


he is one guy slowly changing an entire city..a city that still operates in the 1950's..I'm giving him a high B+..not the keys to my Cadillac and ole lady's hand:>)

I can't fault Mick O'Brien on the current economic development status in the city...that sits with the city council..."tear down that wall"..still gets chuckles from me:>)

I paid out the $1000 for trees early in his tenure here as City Manager-he was in maybe one year...I have owned here 17+ years Jahn..I am seeing the changes..they are fucking slow but they are changes..my house has not been broken into in 3+ years..in the past it happened daily..I have not seen a cat (for you non-city folks thats a term for drunk) piss on the rear of the houses that border me in years...a number of houses in the hood you actually hear the lawn mower running on a Saturday afternoon..I can't tell you how huge this:>)We have some real life happening..I have tenants who have stayed beyond one year and they actually pay their own rent..I receive no checks from "The Man"..they stay cause they appreciate my committment to the houses and neighborhood and they feel safe...they don't feel like they are in Piccidiilly Palace but they do feel at home..I could go on but I have to head to Bill Rodgers Running Center in Fanueil Hall to take care of some business with "The Man"

See ya...BTW you are lucky I am not grading your spelling..it is almost as bad as mine:>)

P.S. I have learned to take the Woostah wins in smaller doses nowadays...I stopped expecting to hit it out of the park all the time a long time ago!!

Anonymous said...

Pawley, eye dew no Howe two spell, beleave it or knot {g}.

Yew still did not answer my question about yore trees, nor did Bill answer my 1 question quizzer from last weak.

Now, to get to my topic at hand


1990 2.55
1991 2.69
1992 3.00
1993 3.07
1994 3.25
1995 3.34
1996 3.53
1997 3.53
1998 3.53
1999 3.53
2000 3.53
2001 3.66
2002 3.87
2003 ?.??
2004 4.10
2005 4.99
2006 5.49
2007 6.13
2008 6.71

Culled from sources believed to be reliable

1. average annual increase over 18 years.

2. 16% average annual increase over the last 4 years

3. Note that rates were frozen (no pun) for 5 years ..1996 to 2001......and after the freeze look what happened......right though the roof go the rates.

4. Moylan says we can thank Mcgovern, Kennedy, & Kerry for unfunded mandates from Washington that are continually pushing rates higher..therefore when we pay off the debt that was incurred to finance all teh mandated capital improvements to the system........our rates will tehn drop........right???


Anonymous said...

Oooooops ....s/b 6% annual increase over the last 18 years

Bill Randell said...

How about bedroom fees for new construction. It is to be 660 not it is 1320 per bedroom.

Anonymous said...

Actually it was 330$ per bedroom when implemented back in 1987......then went to $660 then to $1320...........but hey they dont ++++ around when they raise these sewer connections fees plus they're very consistent...........when they are increased.....they are doubled !!!!

Wonder what ever happened to that gal who wanted to open the laudramat on Grafton St. and was arguing with the DPW about the sewer hook up fee ?

She should have formed a CDC to develop that property......then all she'd have to pay would be a $50 administrative fee to connect to the sewer system.

Add that to my above list of city council "anti Business initiatives"............non profits pay squat for sewer hook up fees.......&.....for profits pay the full monte.

That special bank account set up for these sewer connection fees s/b examined................inquiring minds want to know exactly where some of this money is going.........Mr Delsignore where are you ??

Bill Randell said...


No way do the CDC's pay their fees. Look at the building on May Street. There are something like 50 apartment at 1,320 per bedroom that comes to 66,000 in hook-up fees.


Anonymous said...

gentlemen...there have been some success locally..once in a blue moon we have to acknowledge them:>)

Bill Randell said...

The people I know, who put comments on the blog, are all hard working, actually quite positive guys. The second you ask questions and become critical, then you are deemed negative and not a team player.

We all know that there are some succeses in this City and that is why we are all here. This blog is not here to be a cheerleader but to place some constructive criticism and hopefully make the City of Worcester an even better place to live and work.

David Z. said...

I am a big fan of Mike O'Brien (and I must admit I'm becoming a fan of Paulie). I love what Paulie is doing in his hood and I agree that a lot of the economic agenda over the years has been driven by the city council and past administrations that were of the mind set that “Worcester is Worcester” and we don't have to roll out the welcome mat for anyone from outside our world.

However, there are good things going on in the city regarding economic development. Is it fast enough for those of us that have invested a lot of time and energy in this city; probably not. Yes we have missed a lot of opportunities over the years in the economic up cycles but given the current climate, we are in strong competition with everyone else in the state and outside the state. And in fact, we may have a “leg up” which I’ll explain further in my current diatribe.

There is a great column in this week’s Worcester Business Journal from the head of “Choose Worcester”. Here is the link - The Reasons to Choose Worcester. If the link doesn't work simply go to their website and search for "Choose Worcester". I’ve taken the following from the article to illustrate my point:

“PharmaSphere, a nascent biotech company that hopes to use plant enzymes to produce life-saving drugs, plans to invest about $5.5 million to build and equip a 50,000-square-foot facility at 49 Canterbury St. in the South Worcester Industrial Park.”

Now I know all the naysayers will simply tell me that this startup could fail like so many others and it is a crapshoot that any real jobs will come from it. But isn’t that what the same naysayers said about the UMass Biotechnology Park and the WPI Gateway Park development. In fact, Gateway Park just attracted the Worcester location of Anna Maria College.

And I firmly believe that CitySquare will get off the ground with demolition starting by early 2009 at the latest. Think about it, gas prices are not going anywhere but up. The current down economic cycle will actually promote projects like CitySquare which are being targeted next to mass transit. I would love to live, work and play in the same neighborhood but if I can’t work there, nearby public transit is the next best thing. Every down period in US History is marked by those that see the big picture especially when thinking in terms of getting in on the ground floor of economic opportunity. IMHO, this is the “leg up” that CitySquare has going for it in marketing this project.

Anonymous said...

Maybe in the interest of full disclosure we should list the successes that some bloggers are pointing to.

I suggest that these bloggers start the list and others can add to it.

I will say we've certainly erected/re-habbed up a few nice looking commercial buildings in the last decade or so............but nice looking buildings that arise only with taxpayers subsididies should be taken with a grain of salt.

David Z., I would suggest to you that we are not in strong competition with other areas when it comes to subsidized low income housing construction. Other areas dont really want to compete and frankly we are knocking the ball over the Greeen Monster in this area of economic dev'ment and it's going to come back to haunt us big time. It already has the school dept financially bursting at the seams.

Also, I guess everyone is happy with the 16% annual increase in water & sewer rates over the last 4years. Nice to see we have bloggers who can take thsi kind of a hit year after year.

Paulie must be esp. pleased with his q'terly water billing for his 3 decker or may be he thinks it 's cheap compared to the MWRA? I assume those trees need an ocassional watering {g}

Bill Randell said...

Dave Z:

Very familiar with Pharmashpere parcel.. The abutting business offerred $50,000 while Pharmaspere bid $1. Pharmasphere won the bid.

Putting that aside Pharmasphere has yet to take title to the parcel.


Anonymous said...

BTW July 1, 2008 combined residential rate will be 7.32............

2000's rate was 3.53 (last year of the rater freeeze)...so in 8 years the combined water sewer rate has doubled....

This should bring in lots of industry that uses copious amts of water..........huh???..............let us not forget the commercail rate is even higher...............

Wonder if they froze the comm. rate back in 1996?? Oops I forgot, commercial water users dont vote.

What did it say on my high school mens room wall?

Flush it twice.....it's a long way to the cafeteria..and the city gets all their water for free.......

BTW.........do city schools pay for their water usage.......probably not but they should

Bill Randell said...


I wonder if we had to put grease traps in all the school kitchens?


Anonymous said...

Often laws are enacted by the city and the city exempts themselves from these laws.

Was the grease trap issue a state or city or fed'l law?

E.g. The city is exempt from their own zoning ordinance. The city is also exempt from the newly passed nuisance ordinance that the council pushed so hard for. I am sure there are other laws the city is also exempt from.

If anyone cares to see the effect of the city exempting itself from the new nuisance ordinance, I invite them to take a ride by the salt shed at Clark St & East Mountain St someday......although I think the city may still be on the hook for the condition of that structure under the Uniform State Building Code..........but check me on that.

The shed in question gives new meaning to the terms, implosion, yard waste drop off site, hypocritical, and double standard. Meanwhile the rain water soaks the inside of the shed, the shed superstructure continues its implosion, and the salt stored in there washes into Poor Farm Brook.......then to Lake Quinsig...and I assume ultimately it makes its way to the Blackstone and it becomes the water upon which Providence celebrates its summer WaterFire events.

Someone should ask our "Green" council about this ecological debacle

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to know if WPI got any special sewer/water connection considerations for that new dorm they're building on Dean & Boynton St. That is a dorm.........right??. They demo'ed an existing apt block and an existing Brick house (their former police headquarters).

I wonder if they squeezed in add'l bedrooms to the existing sewer hook up(s) and got off scott free.

The more I think about it.......colleges should have to pay more than the currently req'd 1320 per bedroom sewer fee.......just think of all the beer that college kids drink then think of all the add'l discharge it generates.....plus in the co'ed dorms I assume they have 2 warm bodies per bedroom as opposed to typically just one warm body per bedroom for many newly built houses.....esp the low income housing where Sec 8 dictates a separate bedroom for each littel bunny wabbit once they reach age 6.

Anonymous said...

Jahn et al;

I have been as critical about this city's direction as anyone..to answer your $1,000.00 question - it was chump change as far as I was concerned..it got the ball moving on the trees from the git go..I pushed the city hard for trees and so much that I was willing to put up my own money to do it and then a number of other property owners did the same..we now have many trees on the strip..it was worth it...would I have rather not had to? SURE..but things happen differently in Woostah!

As for the water...it is not a huge issue for me Jahn...moving out the shit is...good folks are not avoiding Worcester Urban cause of water costs or property taxes..they are because of the crime/grime...crappy kids in the school system who are disrupting good kids education..porch after porch of losers hanging on them...drive down Winfield Street someday and check out the swill that lines the street..that is keeping good folks out of Worcester!

Get me some good tenants that work, pay the rent on time and are part of the community-I'm willing to pay a fair property tax and water bill

Anonymous said...

speaking of economic development..has anyone realized that all major projects happening in the city are bourne of companies from outside the city..Mayo Group, Berkeley, Pharm College...Bank of America "possible" project in the Canal District ....are there any local companies building anything substantial locally??

Anonymous said...

Hey Paulie,

Heard you couldn't SALUTE the flag last night!!!