Daylight Savings Time: Set YDaylight Savings Time: Set Your Clocks Forward 1 Hour! our Clocks Forward 1 Hour! Vol. 20, No. 9 -FREE- www.advocatenews.net Published Every Friday S’no Foolin’ No School! 617-387-2200 Friday, March 8, 2019 rida March 8, 2019 DeMaria calls for City Council cooperation instead of sanctions By Barbara Taormina C ouncillor-at-Large Debbie DeMaria couldn’t make the City WINTER WONDERLAND: Fellsmere Park was packed with Malden schoolchildren and parents shown enjoying a day of sledding the hills on Monday. Thankfully, the fi rst day of Spring is only two weeks away. (Advocate photo by JD Mitchell) Councillor rolls out a barrel proposal By Barbara Taormina tem of waste disposal and recycling. M ost residents are not fans of Malden’s Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) blue trash bags, but for the past 10 years, the city has resisted any changes to its sysOur 80th Year EDUCATION Next Classes DRIVER 2 Week Night Classes MARCH 18 One Week Day Class APRIL 1 School Vacation CALL - ENROLL or Register Online 617-387-9121 HENRYSAUTOSCHOOL.COM AUTO SCHOOL E EVERETT A “Successful Key To Driving” Since 1938 Gift Certificates Available  $2.59 GALLON                       But this week, Ward 3 Councillor John Matheson proposed allowing residents to purchase and use a city-approved trash barrel as an alternative to the blue bags. “The change would not eliminate the blue bags,” said Matheson. “It would give residents the option of having a barrel that doesn’t require blue bags.” The idea of barrels instead of bags isn’t exactly new. A volunteer advisory committee appointed by Mayor Gary Christenson back in 2012 recommended renting PAYT trash barrels to residents fed up with hunting for stores that carried the fl imsy bags known for ripping and sending trash to the wind. “I have always liked the idea of off ering residents options,” wrote Christenson in response to the advisory committee’s recommendation for barrels. But nothing ever came of it. Now, Matheson wants the City Council to take another look at the idea. Several councillors raised concerns that have blocked any real changes to the PAYT program, and chief among them is money. The city takes in around $1.2 million from the sale of the blue bags and pays out $1.7 million for curbside trash collection and another $900,000 for disposal. “You’ll have problems trying to neutralize this revenue loss,” said Ward 2 Councillor Paul Condon, adding that he does not want to see the city forced to hit its reserve fund to cover waste disposal. Ward 4 Councillor Ryan O’Malley suggested sending the proposal to the Finance TRASH BAGS | SEE PAGE 12 Council meeting this week because she was busy at the birth of a new grandchild. However, she was concerned enough about the council’s ongoing discussion about rules of decorum that she enlisted Marcia Manong to read a statement during the public comment segment of the meeting. “I know it is the nature of our job as councilors that disagreements happen and tempers sometimes fl are,” wrote DeMaria. “But is highlighting our differences by strategizing sanctions with adversarial language that alienates constituents, and each other, really the best use of our time?” For the past couple of weeks, members of the Rules & Ordinance Committee have been discussing rules of decorum for the City Council and sanctions for members who stray outside of those rules. Councillor-at-Large Craig Spadafora proposed that the City Council adopt the sanctions outlined in Robert’s Rules of Order, a manual of parliamentary procedure widely used by all types of organizations and legislative bodies. Spadafora conceded that adopting the sanctions isn’t entirely necessary since the council already runs on Robert’s Rules and differs only when those rules confl ict with the council’s own rule book. Still, by formally adopting Robert’s Rules about sanctions for members who fail to behave appropriately during meetings and debates, councillors, and particularly the council president, would better understand what options exist to maintain order and get on with city business. Spadafora proposed adopting Robert’s Rules for sanctions after some tense debate on executive sessions: closed-door meeting held to discuss sensitive issues, such as contract negotiations, personnel matters and strategies in legal disputes. Earlier this year, Ward 4 Councillor Ryan O’Malley insisted on recording an executive session on the Malden Hospital property. Councillors responded by postponing the meeting to seek a legal opinion about the recording. O’Malley also filed a pair of Open Meeting Law complaints against the council and has suggested that minutes from prior executive sessions are inaccurate and possibly doctored. He also proposed a job performance review of City Clerk Tom Brennan, who he felt was responsible for inaccurate meeting minutes. While some residents who keep current with the ins and outs of city government applauded O’Malley’s push for transparency, others, particularly fellow councillors, felt his approach was unnecessarily confrontational and counterproductive. There’s no doubt the council has been busy responding to complaints, reviewing executive session minutes, and now with considering sanctions for disorderly behavior. This week O’Malley proposed a new set of rules of decorum and ethics for the council which focuses on calling out discrimination and harassment as well as insulting and abusive language in the course of public debate. O’Malley’s proposed code of ethics would apply to councillors in all public settings and on social media, and would be enforced by public admonition, censure and other actions that the council might deem appropriate. Councillors declined to send O’Malley’s proposal to the Ordinance Committee for review since the committee and the council are already sorting through the same questions and issues. In her statement, DeMaria asked if the ongoing discussion about decorum and punitive rule changes is the type of publicity the council wants. “Respect, decorum and morals and ethics cannot be forced or legislated,” she wrote. “I continue to urge each of us to stay focused on our work for our Malden. Clearly, there is not a shortage of work to be done. We must be better for each other and to each other. We must be better for Malden,” she said.

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