City Manager Contract Renewal -
July 20th, 2pm

Volunteer to speak on the City Manager's Contract Renewal, July 20th, 2pm

On Monday afternoon, the Government Operations Committee will discuss the renewal of the City Manager's contract.

The City Manager is the primary person responsible for the day to day functioning of Cambridge. He is tasked with executive leadership of all city departments, and has the sole "power of the purse" on deciding how to fund various initiatives in Cambridge. His contract expires early in 2021, and is being considered for renewal by the City Council.

It is unlikely that the City Council will consider not extending the City Manager's contract at this point, but offering public comment on the types of things the Council should consider in how long to extend the contract, and what elements to include, may be worthwhile.

We encourage you to give public comment on this issue!

Sign-up Instructions:

  1. Sign up to give public comment Monday, 7/20 at 2:00pm here: https://www.cambridgema.gov/Departments/CityCouncil/PublicCommentSignUpForm

    1. Public comments will be given over Zoom. Use the same name to sign up and as your user name on Zoom

    2. You can enter "City Manager's Contract" For Agenda Item.

    3. After signing up, you will receive a Zoom meeting link via email. Keep this email.

  2. Download and install Zoom so you are ready to go Monday evening: https://zoom.us/download

  3. On Monday, keep an eye on your email. The City Council may send out updated links close to the meeting time.

  4. Click the link to join the meeting. Keep your microphone muted until you are called to speak, and choose a quiet spot with few distractions if one is available to you.

  5. If you have a pre-written statement, submit your comments in writing at clerk@cambridgema.gov

  6. If you are unable to comment in person, you can also email the council to give them your comments.

Talking Points:

  • State your name and your street address.

  • If this is your first time giving public comment, explain that this is your first time and why you are motivated to give comment now.

  • Consider the following topics and supporting arguments, and choose a few that are important to you:

    • Oversight / Performance Review

      • The City Council effectively performed no oversight or review of the City Manager's performance over the course of his 4 year term.

      • The Council has repeatedly requested information from the City Manager with no response -- in some cases, requesting simple information dating back to 2016 (e.g. an inventory of city-owned properties) with no response.

    • Police Transparency and Funding

      • Public records requests show that the City Manager has not been completing annual inventories of material owned by the Police Department which are legally required by statute in the City of Cambridge.

      • During this year's budget process, the City Manager initially identified 35 positions that would experience delayed hiring across the city, while continuing to fund all vacant police department positions fully.

    • Desire for Cambridge to be a progressive leader in Policing reduction

      • The City Manager has the responsibility to achieve the Council's goals, so the Council should set and maintain clear expectations for the City Manager around how he should interact with police

      • The Council has previously not taken a strong stand on policing, but in the wake of the Defund the Police initiatives nationwide, we should request the chair treat this as a priority for the City Manager now and in any contract renewal consideration.

  • State your desire for action

  • Thank the council for the time to speak

General Tips:

Public comment is important. It says a lot to the City Council when a resident takes the time to show up. It means that people are paying attention and care. You are giving the City Councillors a sense of what is important to their residents, and you are putting pressure on the City Manager to take action.

You will only have two or three minutes, and short statements are effective. Err on the side of a shorter statement rather than a longer statement. You do not need to use all 3 minutes, and you should prepare what you are going to say ahead of time. It is OK to read a pre-written statement.

Details are not as important as sharing the values that you hold. It is OK to not have specific suggestions or deep knowledge of the City Manager's role. Showing up and speaking is the most important part.


Here is a model to follow:


  • “My name is <NAME>”

  • “I live at <address>"

  • “I have never given public comment before but this is very important to me so I am motivated to be here now”

  • “I want to see bold action, and I think that we should <maintain more oversight over the City Manager> / <demand more transparency from the city manager> / <expect the city manager to achieve the following goals>.

  • “Thank you for the time to speak, this is very important to me and I will be paying attention to changes made.”

Careful!

  • Pay attention - if your name is called and you do not respond, you may be skipped!

  • Use the same name on Zoom as you did on the sign up form for less confusion

  • If you get “booted” from the call, dial back in!

  • DO NOT mention city Councillors or members of the public by name

  • Be respectful and focus on the issue. Do not give Councillors ANY reason to back out on support because of “respectability”of activists.

Want to Get Involved? Join us!