An imperial city manager? Coronavirus crisis should not override basic governing principles
I would like to discuss the Cambridge mask ordinance – not the merits of the ordinance, but the merits of the process used to put the ordinance in place.
The ordinance was an emergency decree by the city manager. While clearly there is the need for the city manager to have authority to deal with emergencies, I question whether this authority was appropriately used in this instance – since the emergency decree was announced minutes before the City Council was scheduled to have a discussion on this topic.
While the current crisis has led to major changes in our way of life, I hope that it does not lead to an overriding of our basic principles, which is to have public debate from our elected representatives about the measures that will affect our lives, especially when they involve substantial financial penalties.
If this were a single instance, it wouldn’t be of great concern, but the city manager has already used his authority to overrule the majority opinion of the council on another matter affecting the lives of Cambridge citizens – the closing of Riverbend Park.
If the city manager is hoping to exercise unfettered executive authority like some others, shame on him! If he is doing this with the support of members of the City Council, shame on them!
I hope that other Cambridge citizens will join me in demanding that the city manager respect the input and authority of our elected representatives.
Theresa Hamacher, Raymond Street