By: Tom Duggan – January 10, 2014
LAWRENCE – Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera’s Transition Committee Co-Chairs Zoila Gomez and Maggie Super Church released a 76 page transition team report on Friday with detailed recommendations and goals for the Rivera Administration over the next four years.
While a large portion of the report addresses cultural concerns, health, the environment, growing spending on arts and other abstract issues, the Rivera administration’s report is also filled with concrete changes to the city’s public safety operations and financial policies.
Among the recommendations for Rivera’s administration as high priorities according to the report; building a new police station, installing a welcome desk at city hall, upgrade the city’s computer system and recommends the end the Lantigua-era practice of only accepting cash for city services such as parking, birth certificates and permits.
Rivera’s team also recommended that the city stop using the current Ambulance service (Patriot Ambulance was not mentioned by name) and put the EMS system under the control of the Lawrence Fire Department.
The owners of Patriot Ambulance have been embroiled in controversy and contributors to Lantigua’s campaign while Lantigua signs their contract extensions.
Patriot is also under federal investigation for donating two ambulances and a school bus to Lantigua’s adopted home town of Teneres Dominican Republic. FULL STORY
The report cites the benefits to having the firefighters take over the city’s EMS services as follows:
Firefighters respond to all emergency calls anyway, it’s a atural fit for firefighters to do this exclusively, the city does not benefit financially from the existing private contract and firefighters have more medical experience than EMS personnel.
HIGHLIGHTS OF RIVERA’S TRANSITION REPORT
(Full Report Below)
* Be the “Technology Mayor” to improve the city’s operational efficiency. All city departments should be fully trained to use the MUNIS accounting system. We have paid for a good, appropriate ERP system but it is not fully utilized throughout the city departments and not all appropriate modules and functions are being used, particularly the public works functions.
* Make sure all city departments that take in visitors’ money are able to accept credit cards and online payments to make services easier for
residents to pay fines, fees, and bills.
* Build new police department headquarters and upgrade/rehabilitate firehouses, and upgrade/rehabilitate Lawrence’s firehouses.
* Review whether to keep the Emergency Management System (ambulance service) private or bring in-house.
* Create an Arts and Culture Department for the City of Lawrence and hire a director.
* Collaborate with youth organizations and agencies, and establish a Youth Task Force and a city-wide youth center for evening activities.
* Improve the quality and quantity of high-quality rental housing stock in the city.
* Enhance Parks & Recreation through public-private partnerships that emphasize stewardship and programming.
* Support local policies to encourage healthier food choices.
* Create an arts facility similar to the Firehouse in Newburyport (gallery, restaurant, and theater).
* Create a professional museum.
* Micro Latino Business Development – develop a program to work with Latino Businesses to assist in business plan creation, finding bridges to resources, and accessing funds for capital improvements to facilities and retail locations.
* Enhance public library operations and services.
* Consider adopting “CitiStat” performance monitoring and management system (used in Amesbury and Somerville, among other communities). HERE
* Open a City Hall welcome desk on first floor so there is someone to direct visitors where to go and to answer general questions.
* Multi-Faceted Pro-Literacy Campaign
* Expand access to Pre-Kindergarten education: Identify a location for a new Head Start facility in a neighborhood that is currently underserved but in high need.
Rivera’s transition team says that Lawrence needs to set clear written guidelines for all public events and create a “web-based calendar of community events that is easily accessible for event organizers, as well as the general public; and reduce the “base-cost” for hosting events in the city (i.e., police details, Fire, and DPW).”