Former Fall River Judge and Corporation Council Joe I. Macy had a decision overruled in a Federal Court case recently.
In a case that came about due to a Charter reform that said if you work for the city, you cannot hold a publicly elected position. A fireman was on the School Committee during a new change, and he was told by the city’s corporation counsel at the time Joe Many a very respected former defense Atty and a judge that because he was already elected during the Charter change that he could continue with his current term and if he wanted to run for reelection then Macy would give his written opinion.
Fast-forward, Hetzler was told when he ran for reelection that he would have to give up his job to run. Hetzler said he would not and got a lawyer to see if his rights were being violated. Hetzler won reelection and his case came up in Federal court. The judge that Hetzler could hold both a city position and be elected by the people to elective office.
The Federal court judge stated that the city of Fall River must pay $10,000 to Mr. Hetzler for lawyer fees. Hetzler did not seek any additional money for having hi 1st amendment rights violated by the city. Hetzler just wanted to serve on the school committee where he has several children in the system. In an interview with The No Spin Zone Show Hetzler stated that this is not about money or me fighting the city or mayor, it’s about being able to serve the city and keep a job I love and work hard at. I shouldn’t have to give up one to have the other stated Hetzler.
We have reached out to Mr. Hetzler to be a guest on our new show Fall River Daily Report, and is checking availability and will contact us with a date. There are questions that still need to be answered by the city. The Charter since it was revised has been challenged a number of times. It was reviewed by the Mass A.G.’s office and approved before it could be used. It was approved for its content structure not saying it was legal.
The Charter is due for another review in a year or two and this time we must make sure it’s done right without spending another $40,000 for another outside agency to come in and mess it all up again. They took an easy job of reviewing the old charter and bring it up to date and made a new charter making it challenging. The city must not have anyone who served on the last charter commission be on any new one. That didn’t work out well and cost us a lot of money to include $10,00 more for this case.
Judge Joe Macy in his youth was the top defense lawyer in the South East. But like all things, age has its way of clouding judgment. We must ask ourselves a question. How qualified is our new young corporation counselor? His resume is nothing like Judge Macy as it related to experience. Does this counselor have the amount of municipal experience to give correct opinions for the city? How many cases are being sent to outside law firms and why? Some say that tom many are going out at a cost we should not be paying with a corporation counselor and a staff.
Josh Hetzler is happy that a competent judge sat on his case and as a result, an unfair discussion was removed. We must make sure that the counselor giving opinions for this city have the municipal experience to make those opinions right. What we do not need is a corporation counsel office that is sending cases out because they don’t have the experience or knowledge to handle them in house.