Vindictive politics on tap in City Council @ 7:00?
Tonight is a long agenda in the City Council’s sole August meeting but a lot of drama will revolve around Councilwoman Beth Mason’s proposal to cut all benefits to council members. Oddly, she held the gavel and controlled the agenda for months prior to July 1st and even when she aggressively pursued cutting the mayor’s salary a second time in short order, the idea never crossed her lips.
The question is why now?
As it turns out MSV has learned there’s more than one council member who is expecting a baby in the family. Surely, Beth Mason has that information too. So is this more about inflicting financial pain on another’s family and others who don’t have access to their spouse’s wealth or high mindedness on the budget? While Tim Occhipinti is along for the ride, (he gets benefits through his job and is following his paid marching orders) this is interesting as Councilman Mike Russo, no friend of the taxpayer may be forced to place his vote with his own self-interest at stake. As someone who has lived in subsidized housing his whole adult life and who has seen his family exploit the lay of the land over many years, that can’t be what he has in mind.
Last January, Russo appeared at the hospital board meeting when exclusive negotiations were announced with a bidder. Did Mike Russo speak about the $52 million bonds hanging over the taxpayers or seek assurances they would be protected? No. Russo spoke about his personal insurance Blue Cross Blue Shield plan and his reservations that there could be some higher cost to him if the sale went through. He also said the HMHA had no legal authority to sell the hospital. (Local media never reported it either.) If there is no clear majority voting to retain council benefits how will Mike Russo vote?