Mayor-elect Paul Coogan will be facing many more problems that even he and his team were thinking they would face.
Over the last few weeks, Mr. Coogan and his team have been meeting with the department head to ask what there needs are and what can be changed right away. Every department head has told Coogan that they require staff, and some said they are unable to keep up with the workload with the current short staffing levels were told.
So, what will Paul Coogan do? Between the issues at the Assessor’s office, Crime, Drugs, Schools under preforming, No City Administrator, Rents out of control, and the many other problems that this city faces. He surely will have more then he would prefer going in.
Mayor-elect Coogan has been at City Hall just about every day and can be found talking with staff and his Transition Team. The talk in the community is a wait and see attitude. When speaking about Mr. Coogan’s ability to take on all that is pending, the people have a let’s see outlook.
Most people are supportive of Coogan. They feel that the city has seen some good forward movement and hope he can build on it. The main concern heard was who will serve in the Coogan Administration. Because Coogan put several people on his Transition Team that had prior dealing with old mayor’s and are some times called the Old Boy Network. The people hope he (Coogan) keeps his word and give jobs based on experience and not friends.
People remember, they will be watching to see if Mayor Coogan, does what he said he would do. Coogan said many times that he would be open to working with ANYONE that had something positive to help the city regardless if they were a supporter of his or any other camp. Only time will tell if he keeps his word or does what others have done and fill jobs with supporters, family, and friends. We hope not.
The city has about 9 million in savings. Coogan may have to go into it to fill positions that are needed in all these departments. That can be a problem with using it to fill other holes that may come up in the budget. Coogan will have to be very careful with this one.
The city has a big problem with what is going on in Somerset. The metal scraping company that is on that side of the river could be damaging the Taunton River with the metal shavings entering the air and falling into the water. Somerset has a Town group that is fighting this zoning issue and has asked why Fall River is not involved too. After all, if Taunton River should become contaminated by the company, we stand to lose the most. All we have done on the waterfront could be lost. For sure, the State will stop funding the RT 79 North work that is going to open up waterfront space of us to use and develop our waterfront.
Paul Coogan would be smart to reach out to the group fighting this and get more information. By him not looking into it sends a signal that he is not up to date on what’s going in with the city. Atty Pat McDonald, a city lawyer, is one of the people fighting this and stated he would love to get the city of Fall River n board. This issue could be another LNG type issue. We need to be proactive.