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Vote on city messenger appointment put on hold


March 21, 2014
By G. Michael Dobbs

news@thereminder.com

CHICOPEE – The City Council’s Human Resource Committee had approved former City Councilor Jean Croteau’s appointment as City Messenger, but the final vote was been postponed due to an interpretation of the city charter.

At the March 18 meeting, Councilor James Tillotson raised the issue the charter would not allow Croteau’s appointment as Croteau is a former councilor and there would have to be a year’s waiting period. The Law Department gave Tillotson “a preliminary response.”

The position’s title is a “misnomer” Croteau explained to Reminder Publications. The job entails the facilities management of both City Hall and the Public Safety Complex. Part of the job also includes the distribution of mail to the various city departments.

Tillotson added that mayor Richard Kos wanted to have “an outside firm” evaluate the maintenance of city buildings.

The news was a surprise to Croteau who attended the meeting and said he only learned of the Law Department’s decision just before the meeting. He said that he had spoken to the previous city solicitor about the charter and his candidacy for the position as well as the state Ethics Commission and had not been told about any conflicts.

The council voted to meet on establishing a code about its own conduct. Councilor Shane Brooks said that other communities have such rules in place and that those will be researched for possible adoption here.

The motion came after the reading of second letter concerning the activities of Ward One Councilor Adman Lamontagne was read into the record. This letter came from Jeremy Procon, the president of interstate Towing Inc. at 1660 Westover Road. The letter Feb. 28, dealt with an incident on Jan. 22 in which Lamontagne spoke to them about a neighbor’s compliant about where one of the company’s vehicles was parked, followed by a telephone conversation on Feb. 24 about whether or not the front sidewalk was adequately cleared.

Procon write, “I write this letter utterly confused as to why we have become the object of someone’s derogative attention.” He continued, “ I welcome anyone to compare our properties to any other towing an recovery business. If I sound a bit slighted, that’s exactly how I feel. I take offense to anyone who accuses or implies we are anything less than superior with maintaining out equipment, our properties or our business.”

Lamontagne said the letter was “almost 100 percent true.” He added he received a complaint about the vehicle and the company moved it and that he was confused why the letter had been sent. He voted against it being added to the record, while the council approved that motion and to send the matter to it Rules Committee.

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