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Cambridge City Council told they can't learn how a police superintendent got punished for anti-Democratic tweeting

Cambridge Day reports the council formally expressed "its disappointment and frustration" in a Cambridge PD Superintendent who used the department Twitter account to curse out Joe Kennedy and call Ed Markey a clown, after the city manager told the council it has no right to learn how exactly he was punished.

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Comments

If the tweet was an anti-Trump instead of anti-Markey, I bet the City Council would be reacting exactly the same way.

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The tweet was beyond “anti-Markey” (and anti-Kennedy, for that matter). It read:

“Another liberal f[——] jerk who just happens to be better then [sic] the clown he’s running against. Sad for us,”

That's not appropriate conduct for a public employee, regardless of one's political persuasion.

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what's the logic behind not letting the elected representatives who are supposed to oversee these departments know what happened here? I don't see how even the strictest "law-and-order" would be opposed to this - after all, if the Cambridge PD has nothing to hide, they've got nothing to worry about, right?

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MGL c.4, §7, Twenty-sixth (c) exempts personnel file information from public records. While the City Council does appoint the City Manager they are not part of the executive branch of the City government -- akin to how the legislature does not have supervisory authority over members of the executive branch at both the state and federal level.

It's not a matter of hiding things from the City Council. It is a matter of protecting the privacy accorded to personnel records under state law.

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It seems to me that although the council is not legally entitled to this information, they are entitled to fire the city manager and the police commissioner on the grounds that they object to it being withheld...

But I also expect that the lawsuits for wrongful termination -- for refusing to break state law -- would be quite costly. The City Solicitor backed up the City Manager and Police Commissioner and part of her job is to provide the Council with legal opinions.

Per Councillor Sobrinho-Wheeler: The Mass Appeals Court affirmed in 2003 that internal affairs reports are public records, necessary to foster confidence in the process by which police investigate themselves.

http://masscases.com/cases/app/58/58massappct1.html

If the council sued, there's no guarantee that the solicitor's undemocratic interpretation would hold up in court.

Seems like the City Manager's office has nothing but contempt for the city's elected representatives. The solicitor's undemocratic and illogical "legal" reasoning is just a slap in the face to common sense and the principles of accountability.

Between this, his ignoring of city council resolutions on opening streets to foot traffic, broadband access, etc, it's obvious that he needs to go.

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I like the City Manager's cautious approach to COVID 19. Opening streets in Cambridge would be a disaster! Last week walking along the Charles near MIT half the joggers were not wearing face masks! I wish the city would temporarily ban joggers during this pandemic.

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Let me see if I understand your reasoning here. Because some runners weren't wearing masks you think it makes sense to keep them confined to a narrow path shared by you, cyclists, and strollers, instead of closing down part of a four lane, currently superfluous parkway to cars to give everyone more space to distance responsibly?

Also, it's not just Mem drive. There's all kinds of streets with narrow sidewalks that people use to buy groceries or just go for a walk that could easily be closed to traffic to the benefit of all, including you.

Finally, was ordered by the council TWICE to study this and he simply refused, saying he and his advisors didn't feel like it was safe. Screw science and common sense, I guess.

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Most streets with narrow sidewalks already have so little traffic that people can, and do, walk in the street for extra space.

Makes sense. If you were the city solicitor, who would you rather offend: the current council, or all police officers in Cambridge and beyond?

The article implies his punishment was to apologize. That's so harsh and inhumane! /s