Boston City Council meeting - March 14, 2018
Happy Pi Day! Please stay warm and safe as everyone digs out from this most recent nor’easter. We started today’s meeting by joining Councilor Essaibi George in honoring Curley School 5th grader Ezeriah for setting local swim records with the Dorchester YMCA swim team and then breaking his own records! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Collective Bargaining: The Mayor filed an order seeking Council authorization to fund the recently settled collective bargaining contracts with the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation. This would include base wage increases of 2% effective the first pay period of July of each fiscal year and new steps beginning in July 2018. The contract is from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2020, and includes increases to existing Quinn Bill/Education benefits (which encourage police officers to earn degrees in law enforcement and criminal justice), modified cumulative risk benefits, and increases to hazardous duty pay. The Mayor also filed orders to fund the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society - Forensic Group contract. This would include base wage increases of 2% effective the first pay period of January of each fiscal year and new specialty differentials beginning in 2018. The contract is from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2020. The matters were assigned to the Committee on Ways & Means for a hearing.
Grants
  • We voted to authorize the City of Boston to receive $195,500 from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The grant would fund the Innovation Delivery Team’s mission to address data-driven processes to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results.
  • We also voted to authorize the Police Department to receive $6,200 from the Detective Joe Gallant Memorial Foundation. The grant would fund the purchase of technology for the Cam-Share program at District C-11 and support the BPD’s School Police Unit in purchasing student supplies and to support the unit’s “Lunch with a Cop” program. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice for a hearing.
Compensation Advisory Board Report: We received the report from the Compensation Advisory Board reviewing the salaries of elected officials, department heads and senior leadership positions as required by city ordinance every two years. Their vendor partner, Segal Waters Consulting, found that the City’s salary ranges are lower compared to the public senior market and recommended salary range adjustments for selected titles to attract and retain talent. These recommendations include moving select positions to a different pay category, increasing the salary ranges for four categories of staff, and increasing the Mayor’s and the City Councilors’ salaries by 4.2% to adjust for the change in cost of living from 2015 to 2017. The complete report is available at: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=235959
BPD’s Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program: Councilor McCarthy as Chair of the Public Safety & Criminal Justice committee and Council President Campbell reported back on the hearing held on Monday, March 12th. At the hearing, Commissioner Evans and the Boston Police Department summarized the preliminary study results of the BPD’s Body-Worn Camera Pilot, during which officers wore cameras for one year, starting in September 2017 and following policies drafted with input from the Social Justice Task Force. 200 videos were collected, and BPD saw a reduction in the number of civilian complaints and the number of excessive force complaints during the time of the study. In 2011, there were 80 complaints of excessive force and in 2017, there were only 21 complaints. The final results will be available in May. The matter remains in committee for further work.
Voter Registration: The hearing on Councilor Zakim’s ordinance reducing barriers for voter registration originally scheduled for yesterday, Tuesday 3/13, was postponed due to snow. We will announce a new date as soon as it becomes available.
Public and Private Sewer Lines and Alleys: Councilor Flynn and I called for working sessions to discuss private alleys and private sewer lines, as well as potential solutions for streamlining and alleviating maintenance burdens on property owners abutting private infrastructure. Some Boston neighborhoods have private alleys that abut commercial and residential properties, where owners of these properties are responsible for the maintenance of the alleys. However, many of these alleys were designated as either private or public as early as the 1850s, and property owners abutting private alleys are often unaware of the ownership status of the alleys, as well as their upkeep responsibilities. The Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) oversees the City’s public water infrastructure and has an agency policy called the Betterment Program whereby residents of abutting private sewers can petition for their sewer lines to be accepted into the public system through a cost-sharing arrangement, but the requirements to make use of the Betterment Program often do not match the situation of neighbors who need it. Councilor O’Malley also stated that some homes in West Roxbury are still connected to septic tanks and would benefit from a discussion of public and private water infrastructure as well. The matter was assigned to the Committee on City, Neighborhood Services and Veterans & Military Affairs.
Good Food Purchasing Standards: I filed an ordinance for the City to adopt good food purchasing standards for all city agencies. The Good Food Purchasing Program, which was developed in 2012 as a set of national standards for local procurement, emphasizing local economies, environmental sustainability, fair labor practices, animal welfare, and healthy food. The program would support small business owners and employees in Massachusetts food production and processing, as well as help address income inequality in our city. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations for a hearing.
Federal Interference in Elections: We voted to adopt Councilor Zakim’s resolution for the City Council to call on the U.S. Congress and our Massachusetts federal delegation to reject the current version of the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act since the current language would allow President Trump to deploy agents of the federal Secret Service to local polling locations across the country. Councilor Zakim spoke about how local elected officials must stand up against unconstitutional interference by the federal government to protect their constituents’ and all Americans’ right to vote free from intimidation.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch at: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
  • Thursday 3/15 at 1:30PM: Meeting re: sexual harassment policy in the Boston City Council (Civil Rights) [Curley Room, 5th Floor City Hall]
  • Thursday 3/15 at 6:00PM: Hearing re: Redevelopment of One Charlestown Project (Housing & Community Development) [offsite at Knights of Columbus 545 Medford Street, Charlestown]
  • Friday, 3/16 at 2:00PM: Working session re: Implementation of Community Choice Energy in Boston (Environment, Sustainability & Parks) [Piemonte Room, 5th Floor City Hall]
  • Monday, 3/19 at 10:00AM: Working session re: Ordinance Allowing Short-Term Residential Rentals in Boston (Government Operations) [Piemonte Room, 5th Floor City Hall]
  • Monday, 3/19 at 2:00PM: Hearing re: Benefits of net-zero carbon requirements and incentives for future construction in Boston (Environment, Sustainability & Parks) [Piemonte Room, 5th Floor City Hall]