A big question on Lawrence

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The Senate is hard at work on its version of a rescue package for the city of Lawrence. Most people expect something quite a bit more directive – more power for an overseer – than what the House did, which was, to be blunt, irresponsible to the City and to the residents of the state.

I have to wonder how we got here. Sure, there are the charter issues, and the Senate would do a great service to all by insisting that the city council and the mayor, as a condition of the line of credit, revoke the entirety of Section 3.7 of the city’s charter, which ties the executive’s hands on department heads. Essentially the city council has to approve hires and fires. It’s made the quality of services uneven at best, and of terrible quality for the most part.

The House essentially required the city to go into GIC and to move Medicare eligibles off city rolls. More needs to happen in the Senate, like reining in muni employee salary and benefit enhancements, scrubbing the benefit rolls to ensure people are supposed to be on there, etc.

Lots of good things can happen there, but I kind of wonder why people external to the city did not see this coming. I mean if you look back at the city’s 2002 debt management policy statement, which was to guide its actions in important areas of finance, it looks pretty good.

You have a battery of experts they are trying to lean on, including the usual suspects, bond counsel, etc. I wish some reporter would dig into who these people were and question them. I mean, they must have opined that the city was managing itself well before creditors, right? So what would they say now? And where are they now?

Doesn’t anybody do investigative journalism anymore?