Fall River Mayor to Address City Council and City State School Committee
FALL RIVER – Mayor Paul Coogan will deliver his State of the City address on Tuesday, but unlike annual charter-mandated events in the past, he will only have a live audience of city council and committee members school in the halls of the municipal council.
“We’ll be talking about COVID obviously, but we’re going to focus on what’s going on in the positive, despite COVID,” Coogan said on Friday. “We will talk about our goals for the future.”
Tuesday will be the first live city council meeting in months, with previous meetings being held remotely on Zoom.
The public is not allowed to attend and Coogan said he did not invite his staff or any department heads.
This will be the second time since taking office that the mayor has found himself delivering the state of the city speech without a crowd.
According to the city charter, the mayor’s annual speech must take place before a joint meeting of city council and school committee before the third Wednesday in March.
This did not happen last year as the number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts began to rise and Governor Charlie Baker shut down the state in March.
In November, Coogan gave a pre-recorded speech that was aired on demand on FRGTV as his first State of the City speech.
The mayor’s speeches on the state of the city have traditionally drawn a crowded audience to city council chambers, with political supporters and state officials usually on the guest list.
In March 2019, former mayor Jasiel Correia II gave an optimistic speech just a week after being removed and then re-elected, while facing a federal indictment.
Coogan’s speech will be broadcast live from 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and can be seen on Comcast Cable Channel 18 or Fall River Government Television’s Facebook page.
After the mayor’s speech, the city council will first meet as a finance committee, followed by a regular meeting.
School committee members may wish to stay for the finance committee meeting, as two major bond issues affecting the school department will be put back on the table.
Two bail proposals were challenged in a February 23 meeting as the split between city council and four school committee members shifted into high gear as controversy over an investigation into Superintendent Matt Malone and his treatment staff became public. A majority of the school committee voted to keep Malone.
The objections meant a vote for a $ 4.9 million loan order to make necessary ADA repairs and upgrades at Samuel Watson Elementary School and a $ 1.9 million loan order dollars to build a synthetic turf varsity baseball field at Durfee High School was pushed back until Tuesday’s meeting.
Councilor Shawn Cadime has made it his social media mission to abandon the school committee’s decision not to fire Malone and demand the resignation of the general manager.
Cadime objected to both loan applications, and city councilor Michelle Dionne joined in opposing the loan for the new high school baseball field.