Thursday, March 10, 2011

Should the Cambridge City Manager be employed by Cambridge, rather than raising his pay?

The following letter appeared on line in the Cambridge Chronicle on March 10, 2011. It is posted at It appeared on page 11 of the hard copy.


Cambridge Chronicle

The comments about how much the City Manager should be paid are strange.

The city council regularly ignores the City Manager’s real record on civil rights and the environment while bragging about matters which have next to nothing to do with their responsibilities to the City of Cambridge.

Key to how much the City Manager should be paid is whether he should even be employed.

In Malvina Monteiro v. City of Cambridge, now on appeal, a judge and jury have very clearly spoken.

Malvina Monteiro was the head of the city’s Police Review Board. She and others filed civil rights complaints. She lost the discrimination complaint, but she won on her claim that the City destroyed her life in retaliation for her filing the complaint.

The jury awarded about a million dollars in real damages plus $3.5 million in penal damages. The numbers have passed $6 million and are growing.

The judge wrote an excellent opinion supporting the jury. She quoted the City Manager’s testimony at length and found him “reprehensible.”

The City Council should want to know whether or not judge and jury are correct.

The City Council can still can hire an independent, knowledgeable lawyer to review the case. The expert could tell the City Council if it should fire the City Manager or continue the appeal.

Instead, the City Council does not want to know if it is true, as the judge and jury found, that the City Manager is “reprehensible.” The City Council just spends millions on the appeal and considers raising his pay.

The City Council could settle the Monteiro case. The City Council could get an order from the judge authorizing the City Manager to be fired for his behavior. The judge’s order would certainly find his Golden Parachute void on public policy grounds.

The judge might also authorize a small extension of existing law and authorize the firing of the City Manager without pension. Such a small extension of law would probably be determined legal or illegal on appeal, but they are on appeal anyway.

We hear a lot of noise about how much to pay the City Manager. More important is whether he should be fired without golden parachute and, possibly, without pension.