I’ve been waiting all week for City Council President Jimmy Ferrera to announce committee assignments for the new year. Presumably, city councilors have been, too.
But looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer. Ferrera, who was sworn in to his second consecutive term as the Council’s Grand Poobah this past Monday, won’t formally release new committee assignments until next Monday.
I’ll admit, I’m especially curious to see what, if any, fallout there’ll be from Ward 2 Councilor Mike Fenton’s and Ward 7 Councilor Tim Allen’s decisions not to vote for Ferrera—they voted “present” instead—at this week’s meeting. That was no surprise; both councilors had voted the same way at an informal vote for the Council’s new officers last month. (At-large Councilor Kateri Walsh had also voted “present” at the December meeting but switched her vote to “yes” for the formal vote on Monday.)
Ferrera’s less-than-warm-and-cuddly relationship with Allen and Fenton is not new; last year, in his first time as Council president, Ferrera gave the two remarkably lousy assignments: Allen was named to just one regular committee, while Fenton wasn’t assigned to any. (He did win a spot on just one special committee, the animal control advisory committee.) At the time, Ferrera denied that his decisions had anything to do with political bad blood between him and the two councilors. Allen had also considered running for Council president that year, with Fenton’s support, but dropped his bid when it became clear that Ferrera had a majority of votes In the end, both Allen and Fenton ended up joining their colleagues in a unanimous vote for Ferrera that year.
While we wait for Monday’s committee announcements, check out this piece, by Western Mass Politics and Insight’s Matt Szafranski, analyzing the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the Council committees in 2012, and calling on Ferrera to “show some leadership … rather throw his weight around the Council Chamber.”