Monday, June 11, 2012

Cambridge, MA, USA, City Council to consider Monteiro case again

1. Introduction.
2. City Manager Initiative.
3. City Council’s Hearing Schedule
4. Letter from Cambridge City Councilor Craig Kelley.
5. Evaluation of Councilor Kelley.
6. Evaluation of City Manager’s Monteiro plaintiffs proposal.

1. Introduction.

I am informed by a supporter of Councilor Kelley that the Cambridge City Council sitting at its Finance Committee will be meeting this morning, June 11, 2012 at 9 am. They will be discussing the payments in the case of Malvina Monteiro and others v. City of Cambridge.

This is the case in which jury, judge and appeals court found that the Cambridge City Manager destroyed the life of department head (Cape Verdean, black, woman) Malvina Monteiro in retaliation for her filing a civil rights complaint.

The Kelley supporter has provided a number of documents which I appreciate and will pass on to you.

I will comment at the end.

2. City Manager Initiative.

The following was included in the City Manager’s communications to the Cambridge City Council, the “City Manager Agenda” for Monday, April 23, 2012:

15. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $11,917,462 from Free Cash to the General Fund Law Department Travel and Training (Judgment and Damages) account.

The action at that time was :


The City Manager’s Letter of explanation read:

April 23, 2012

To the Honorable, the City Council:

As I have informed the City Council previously, the disbursement of funds for the legal matters resulting from the 1998 Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination claim was paid from the Statutory Budget Category of "Travel and Training" (Judgment and Damages), and, that the City's Free Cash balance of over $102 million dollars would be the source of these funds. In order for that Statutory Budget Category to conclude Fiscal Year 2012 "in balance" it is necessary to appropriate the funds from Free Cash to Judgment and Damages.

Thus, I am hereby recommending the appropriation of $11,917,462 from Free Cash to the General Fund Law Department Travel and Training (Judgment and Damages) account.

Very truly yours,

Robert W. Healy
City Manager

3. City Council’s Hearing Schedule


Monday, June 11, 2012, 9:00 am

The Finance Committee will conduct a public meeting to discuss an appropriation of $11,917,462 from Free Cash to the General Fund Law Department Travel and Training (Judgment and Damages) account and to discuss changing the Traffic Regulations in Appendix D, Schedule 13 by striking out the penalty fee of $30.00 and substitute in place the fee of $5.00 as it relates to Section 16.7 entitled "Street Cleaning".

(Ackermann Room)

Ed: The Ackerman Room is much smaller than the Cambridge City Council’s chambers. The meeting is scheduled during the day. Both strongly discourage public participation.

4. Letter from Cambridge City Councilor Craig Kelley.

From: Cambridge City Councilor Craig Kelley []
Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2012 12:30 AM
To: Interim City Clerk Donna Lopez;
Subject: Monday's Finance meeting


I cannot make Monday’s meeting of the finance committee and would appreciate this letter being read and entered into the record.

Many thanks.


Dear Committee Members:

Because of Cooper’s ‘moving on’ ceremony today at 9 AM, I cannot make this meeting. I continue to be amazed that the City can spend millions and millions and millions of dollars on what started as a discrimination complaint and wound up as a wrongful termination complaint and no one ever has to say he, or she, is sorry, no one has to explain what processes and procedures have been put in place to keep the sort of behavior that resulted in this judgement from happening again and no one has been censured. I am not surprised that the Manager has not expressed regret for his actions as I think that he truly believes he did nothing wrong and that the case was decided incorrectly. I disagree, but at least I can follow his logic and if he feels he did nothing wrong I see no sense in expecting him to apologize for it. That the Council, as a body, feels no need to apologize to everybody involved, though, troubles me. At the end of the day, the Manager is an employee of the Council and we are responsible for his actions, both the ones with happy outcomes and the ones that are problematic.

I also still wonder how much the various aspects of these cases cost us. I would like to know how much:

1. We paid for outside legal counsel before our appeal of Ms. Montiero’s judgement

2. We paid for such counsel on the appeal of Ms. Montiero’s case

3. We paid for such counsel to handle the Wong and Stamper cases [ed: final two plaintiffs].

4. How much in extra costs- opponents legal fees, interest and so forth- as a result of our appeal of the Montiero verdict.

5. How much, in total (not counting City staff time) these cases cost us

6. If there were similar cases that the City also settled in any department

7. If there are similar cases pending in any department

I propose the following Order:

Whereas: A combination of discrimination and wrongful termination complaints have resulted in many millions of dollars of costs and damages for the City of Cambridge; and

Whereas: The actions that led to these complaints, plus the filing of the complaints and subsequent law suits, caused much anguish for the City employees involved; and

Whereas: It is not clear the that City Manager has ever apologized to the City of Cambridge or anyone else involved for any role he may have played in creating this situation; and

Whereas: It is not clear what practices and policies the City has instituted to help ensure that similar situations do not arise in the future; now be it therefore

Ordered: That the Council extend its apologies to both the City employees who filed the complaints and to the taxpayers and residents of the City of Cambridge for both the angst created by its employee, the City Manager, and the cost to the City as a result of these cases; and be it further

Ordered: That the Council hereby lets the City Manager know of its disapproval of his judgement and actions regarding this situation; and be it further

Ordered: That the City Manager be, and hereby is, requested to report back to the City Council with an explanation of what processes and procedures have been instituted to help ensure that such a situation does not arise in the future.

5. Evaluation of Councilor Kelley.

Councilor Kelley is a firm member of the Cambridge Machine with regard to environmental destruction and zoning machinations commonly written by the Cambridge City Manager’s people. Their zoning initiatives very frequently achieve the opposite of what they claim to be doing.

Kelley practices, and brags of, environmentalism, Cambridge style: Save the world, but how dare you discuss Cambridge destroying Cambridge.

6. Evaluation of City Manager’s Monteiro plaintiffs proposal.

Kelley has frequently been a minority of one on the Cambridge City Council concerning Monteiro. Interestingly, however, he was the swing vote on keeping records on the matter secret.

In Cambridge, swing votes can be much more important than being a minority of one on the “right side”. Nevertheless, Kelley’s “extreme” position for Cambridge is, nevertheless, way out of touch, far less than would be called for with regard to reality in the real world.

The jury in the Monteiro case said $1.1 million real damages, $3.5 million penal damages.

The trial judge described the City Manager’s behavior as “reprehensible.”

The appeals court panel refused to dignify Cambridge’s appeal with a formal opinion. The panel referred to “ample evidence [of] outrageous misbehavior.”

The Cambridge City Council is very clearly being told something.

The Monteiro decision is ample grounds for the Cambridge City Council to very safely fire the Cambridge City Manager for malfeasance in office. Firing could, without question, be done without his golden parachute. Firing could possibly be done without pension. Except for the pension issue any court action by the Cambridge City Manager would be a clear waste of time.