, Gloucester, MA

December 7, 2012

The Mayor's Desk: An up-and-down week in City Hall

The Mayor's Desk
Carolyn Kirk

---- — This was a real roller coaster of a week in the mayor’s office.

The week started on a high note with the conclusion of the State of the City presentation at City Hall on Monday night in front of more than 100 citizens. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of questions or feedback on how our team is doing for the city, but I was delighted with the warm reception we received.

A low point was hearing the news of one of our DPW workers who collapsed on the job. But the quick and calm response of his DPW colleagues who administered CPR saved his life. I visited the yard and thanked each and every employee for their heroic actions, and then went to the hospital to visit the employee in the hospital who is now recovering.

Another high point was traveling into Boston for a dinner to accept an award from the MassEnergy Consumer Alliance for the city’s leadership on clean energy. My traveling companions were City Councilor Paul McGeary, Clean Energy Commission Chair Candace Wheeler, and commission members Linda Brayton and Linda Stout-Saunders. We shared some laughs, and felt proud to represent the city of Gloucester.

Meanwhile, back at the office, the phone calls, letters and petition signatures were all mounting regarding the possibility of the revocation of the charter for the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

More than 600 people have signed the petition in support of the charter school. No matter where you stand on this issue, in the coming weeks ahead, we need to be sensitive about the families whose children are currently enrolled, and understand the turmoil they are going through.

Standard & Poor’s issued their latest ratings report on Gloucester, and we have been upgraded to A+. CFO Jeff Towne came flying into the Mayor’s office with report in hand, and while there were some high-fivess exchanged, I leave it to the imagination about whether or not a happy dance also took place.

This high was followed by the low of the letter submitted by Dr. David Hill, developer of the proposed Hampton Inn. He states that Gloucester is as difficult a development environment as he has ever encountered in his 30 years in the business. Expansion of the commercial tax base is the antidote to rising taxes for homeowners which most people claim to want relief on but at the same time is fought every step of the way.

But the roller coaster hit another high Thursday night with a very successful Ladies Night in downtown Gloucester. Clearly we are doing something right when it comes to commercial activity as hundreds of ladies took to Main Street shops and restaurants. The lights glimmered, the storefronts sparkled, and really, the city just shined.

This was a week unusually filled with ups and downs.

Rather than have to ride the roller coaster next week, let’s hope for something more like, um, the Merry-go-Round?

Carolyn Kirk is mayor of the city of Gloucester.