New Bedford Political Leaders Headed for a Showdown [OPINION]
Mayor Jon Mitchell vetoed the city council's overhaul of the long-standing ordinance requiring some city employees to live in the city. What will happen now?
Don't underestimate the importance of the changes made by the New Bedford City Council to the residency rule. This is about more than the residency rule. The city council has decided to reassert itself as a force in serious policy discussions.
During the last budget decisions, some members of the city council – particularly Ward Two Councilor Maria Giesta – flexed some muscle with strategic cuts to the budget. Those strategic cuts didn't stand, but a message was sent and the budget is an annual operation. What was almost done last time can be repeated and might succeed in the next budget.
The ability to cut department budgets and to transfer funds to departments is real power and that power is in the hands of the city councilors when they act together and form a majority.
Will they hang together and vote to override the veto of Mayor Mitchell? The council voted 10-1 to adopt the residency ordinance change. They only need eight of the councilors to stay committed to override the veto and make the ordinance the new law of the city.
I have interviewed Councilors Giesta and Brian Gomes on my radio show and they are not backing down. Councilor Linda Morad, the architect of his ordinance, isn't going to back down. City Council President Joseph Lopes gave a full explanation of his vote for the ordinance to the Standard-Times and zero indication that he will flip on the vote.
There might be some votes for Mayor Mitchell to flip, but the list is getting short. He may decide to let the city council live with their vote and have the voters decide who is correct next November when he isn't on the ballot – but all of the city council will be.
Heading for a showdown.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.