Executive session set for first City Council meeting


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WATERTOWN — The first action that the new City Council will be asked to take is to decide whether city lawmakers will go into executive session at this evening’s meeting.

In an unusual move, an executive session is scheduled at the beginning of tonight’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

In the past when council members have gone into executive session, the closed-door sessions have always been at the end of the City Council meeting and after council members have gone through the entire agenda.

On Friday, there was no explanation why the executive session was scheduled at the beginning of the meeting. Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. and City Manager Sharon A. Addison could not be reached for comment.

Councilman Cody J. Horbacz admitted he isn’t looking forward to going through a “multi-topic” session, noting he tried calling Mayor Butler to find out more about it.

“I’m not sure what is going on with it,” he said.

According to the agenda, members will be asked to go behind closed doors to discuss three topics: collective bargaining; proposed, pending or current litigation, and employment history of a particular individual.

The reason for the unusual executive session could be that two new council members, Ryan Henry-Wilkinson and Lisa A. Ruggiero, will be attending their first meeting and they need to be caught up on the long drawn-out contract dispute with the city’s firefighters union and some other city issues.

The two new council members will be sworn into office on New Year’s Day.

Ms. Ruggiero and Councilman Mark C. Walczyk said Friday morning they also did not know why the executive session was slated at the start of the meeting.

However, during recent orientation meetings with city staff, Ms. Ruggiero had several questions about the firefighters’ contract and other matters and was told they needed to be discussed in executive session, she said.

After the executive session is finished, the regular meeting open to the public will begin immediately.

A number of appointments to the city’s Ethics Board and appropriation of $2.4 million to renovate the Thompson Park pool are on the agenda.

The meeting is held in the third-floor council chambers of City Hall, 245 Washington St.


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