New Bedford City Council Flexes Political Muscles [OPINION]
Members of the New Bedford City Council are outraged with Mayor Jon Mitchell and his positions on public safety. Recent fires and shootings are motivating them.
Mayor Mitchell hasn't been able to successfully negotiate a contract with either the police or firefighter unions for years. Year after year has gone by and the tensions between the first responders and the former federal prosecutor have grown in part because of the unsettled contracts.
The city has recently experienced a rise in fires and criminals firing off illegal guns. Just after Thanksgiving, a man allegedly killed a person and nearly killed another with a stolen pistol. That suspect later attempted to kill four police officers in the city. A few weeks ago, a police officer's apartment was shot eight times and the suspect is still on the loose.
Mitchell is trying to improve the finances of the city but he is doing it by reducing the size and capabilities of the police and fire departments. The firefighters from Fairhaven, Fall River, and Dartmouth are sounding the alarm about these cuts and the danger to the public.
The city council is now demanding the New Bedford Chief of Police come in and answer questions in a public meeting. They want the statistics on crime each week. The council wants to know what is going on with the ShotSpotter system that doesn't seem to be working properly.
Mayor Mitchell's big project is the creation of an Advanced Manufacturing Campus to bring industry to the city. Councillor Hugh Dunn, who supports the project, communicated in the meeting that the project might not work if Mayor Mitchell cuts Engine 8 from the fire department.
Budget season is coming up and the city council is flexing some muscle.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.