Bevilacqua Again Seeks Resident Input Without Conditions

Joseph J. Bevilacqua during an earlier appearance on the Open Mike Show.

Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

council_agendaA Haverhill city councilor is adamant residents should be able to talk about their concerns at city council meetings without first asking for permission.

Even though his first attempt to adopt such a policy failed last year, Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua is asking his colleagues Tuesday night to back his idea.

“Residents should be able to talk about issues of concern to them without first asking permission from a city councilor. After all we work for the taxpayer,” Bevilacqua told WHAV today. “I think that’s absolutely wrong. People should have freedom of speech in Haverhill.”

Last April, eight of nine councilors rejected two motions from Bevilacqua—one to allow the public to address the council at the start of meetings—and another to allow three nonprofit groups per meeting to announce events or discuss their organizations.

“If someone lives in the city, pays a tax bill, works in the city, goes to school in the city, helps our city—some way, shape or manner as a volunteer—they should have the right to simply walk in that door and speak to us without approval,” Bevilacqua said at the time. “And it’s that point that I can’t understand why they need our approval to speak to us when they pay the bills. I think sometimes we forget that.”

Critics then, including Councilor William J. Macek, called Bevilacqua’s proposal a “flash in the pan idea because the school committee does it.”

Paying for School Renovations

In another agenda item, President John A. Michitson, with Councilor Colin F. LePage are asking for update from Mayor James J. Fiorentini about whether the state has been asked yet to pay for proposed renovation projects at Consentino, John Greenleaf Whittier and Tilton schools. In May, 2016, Fiorentini’s revised five-year capital improvement plan called for a $5 million renovation at Consentino in the fiscal year beginning July, 2018. In the following fiscal year, the city would spend $675,000 for repairs and new lockers at John Greenleaf Whittier School. It did not include a plan for Tilton School improvements. LePage, during a June appearance on WHAV’s “Open Mike” program, suggested the city set aside at least $300,000 for work at the Tilton.

The Haverhill City Council meets tonight at 7 p.m. in Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers at Haverhill City Hall.

3 thoughts on “Bevilacqua Again Seeks Resident Input Without Conditions

  1. I was stunned it failed by an 7-1 vote……I don’t see the downside whatsoever. I don’t think you’d have people lined out the door and you could limit the time to 2-3 minutes per person. All these councilors claim to be “for the people”, yet on this topic only one is proving to be.

  2. Flash in the pan?? Really councilor?? How about allowing a resident to come in and speak regarding their concerns. Why should anybody need a councilors permission to speak? If it wasn’t for WHAV posting the agenda it would still be a hidden agenda. I might add that this is relatively a new feature on WHAV.
    I may not support BevilQua on everything but I think this should go forward. I know there are residents who come before the council on a constant basis, I’m not sure how to address him, I meant them.
    Last I checked they were elected for the people by the people. Take away their health care and pension and I question how many of them would be there.