Monday, October 08, 2007

From Mayor to UMass: Lambert leaves early

By now, most of Fall River knows that Mayor Ed Lambert has excepted a position at UMass Dartmouth, his last day as mayor will be October 26th.

The position, as a director and research associate for the newly created Urban Issues Initiative will allow the Mayor to utilize his experience "gained in public service, senior leadership and management". The position will pay the Mayor $85,000, plus a $35,000 stipend a year.

Now already people are saying that this is pretty much a political gift, a position created specifically for the Mayor. I'm not blind to why people would think that, but I also have no proof of it. People are wondering what qualifications Ed Lambert has for a position that may include teaching public policy. Well, obviously he has plenty of political experience. The Mayor also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a Masters Degree in Education from Bridgewater State College. Does this mean he's qualified? I don't know. Does this mean that $120,000 a year is reasonable, again I don't know. What do these positions usually pay? It does seem rather high.

So is this a job that just happened to come along at the right time for our departing mayor, or a
'hack' job, I'll let you decide.


General said...

I certainly hope that Mr. Lambert does not bring his style of urban leadership to UMass Dartmouth.

1. We are still waiting for a non-exsistent Watuppa Heights Plan. By the way, it will probably end up costing the people of Fall River a great deal in tax dollars. Great urban planning!

2. A new court house he pushed with non-exsistent parking. Great urban planning!

3. A waterfront study ($550,000 cost to the taxpayers) that called for additional waterfront celebrations. We might lose the one we have! Great urban planning.

4. A waterfront study that called for a theatre to be located under a noisy and dangerous bridge! Great urban planning.

5. A bike path that has been in the works for 12 years. Great urban planning.

6. Trash pick-up without mandatory recycling. Great urban planning.

7. A downtown area that is dead. Great urban planning.

By the way, a quick prediction. Now that Ed did get the job that he wanted it is obvious that he made a deal with a certain someone who is very powerful at UMass Dartmouth. This certain someone had stopped Ed from getting the job in the past. This certain someone is also a big supporter of B C for mayor.

Predication: Ed got what he wanted, now he has to pay up and endorse B C for mayor. only time will tell.

Lefty said...

I 'generally' have a better opinion of Mayor Lambert than you.

I think it's fair to point out failures like the ones you do, but how much of these failures are 100% the mayor's fault or due to a lack of ability on his part? How much stalled at the state level, or by lack of support of the council or the city at large?

I'm not going to 'declare' for any candidate (at least I have no intention to) but I will say the Mayor has said he won't and I'll be disappointed if he goes back on that.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor's track record isn't very good. So far he has told us that he won't be leaving until January. Previous to that he told us he wasn't planning on leaving at all.

I'm sure there are many more inconsistancies. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he decided to come out for one or the other Mayoral candidates. I think it is obvious which one he will come out in favor of.

Faye Musselman said...

Given the political corruption under the radar in Mass, Fall Riverites have been lucky to have had the longevity of Lambert as Mayor. As one who has visited FR regularly since 1977, I have seen the positive changes during his tenure.

Re his acceptance of the UMass Dartmouth teaching offer....isn't it the way of things? The natural segway from public policy making or local, regional, state government experience is to teach, consult, write a book, and/or do the lecture circuit. So what's to fault there. Lambert has lots of years left - not only to be a wage earner or but to impart upon others his knowledge and experience.

Citizens of Fall River: From an outsiders viewpoint - you've had a good run with your outgoing Mayor.

Anonymous said...

What an outsider would fail to see is that the City won in a lawsuit against BFI an amount in excess of 10 million dollars. The money has since vanished with no explained benefit to the community. Even though it was said that this money would be used to keep property taxes low, the property taxes still increased by 14%.

For someone who was in the Legislature during the Education Reform Act of 1993, there has been no substantial improvement in the education system during the Mayor's tenure in office.

One by one, projects are announced and don't reach a conclusion, for instance, Watuppa Heights, 5 YEARS without a Housing Improvement Plan.

With this new policy position, Lambert may take a similar role as President Carter. Afterall, Carter is involved with Habitat for Humanity and someone will have to build the affordable housing at the Watuppa Heights location. Also, Carter has also played a role in the supervision of elections, and after last month's debacle, there is ample opportunity for Lambert in that arena.

Oh, and I think there is some data from 2004 by the Office of Health and Human Services which that cases involving heroin in Fall River TRIPLED from 1996 to 2004.


So, if you enjoy poor educational attainment and the rampant use of illegal drugs, then I agree, Mayor Lambert has done an excellent job.

Lefty said...

Faye thanks for commenting, I personally think that sometimes to really appreciate view you need to step back a bit. In doing so you may miss some of the detail but you do get to see the big picture. As an 'outsider' you bring a perspective many of us may miss.

Anon, certainly Mayor Lambert has not solved all our problems. He or his administration has it's pros and cons, it's strengths and weaknesses.

What happened to the BFI money? I like you don't know. Is drug use a problem that Lambert has been slow to address? Yes!

Education reform and quality, well hold on how much of the city's state and federal funding have been cut? So when the president fails to properly fund the 'No Child Left Behind Act' and the state which demands that the city meet MCAS requirements but cuts back on funding THAT'S the Mayor's fault too?

Projects are announced that don't reach completion? No mention of the project that do? A new North End fire station, new schools, the miles of new water mains (which have NOTHING to do with the CSO project), the new boardwalk, the Iwo Jima memorial.

Taxes have gone up 14%? Did the residential taxable rate per $1,000 go up 14% or does it have anything to do with the elevated assessed values? In fiscal 2003 the residential taxable rate per $1,000 was $10.71 in fiscal 2007 the rate was $7.18. Does the mayor now have control at setting the assessed values of our homes?

You talk about what an outsider would fail to see but what about what you fail to look at?

Anonymous said...

So, in 12 years, all we get is a new fire and police station, some water pipes, a boardwalk and a statue.

Please let's not give credit for the new school. At 90% reimbursement rate, even my pet dog could have figured that one out.

Lefty said...

Well let's nominate your dog for mayor, because the 90% reimbursement program was in place before Lambert took office and no one else took advantage of it.

The replacement of water mains was decades overdue and extremely extensive. There has been about 50 miles of roadwork. There has been sidewalk improvement, new street lights in downtown. Money budgeted to repair and renovate Government Center since 99, held up by waiting for the state to complete IT'S repair work. The Advanced Technology Center, the Cherry and Webb building, the creation of the bioreserve, and the opening up of over 300 acres for commercial development. The library renovation project.

Now, I don't give Lambert all the credit for every good thing that has happened in the city. I also don't give him all the blame for every bad thing.

I think the Mayor has played a positive role in many of the things that have happened in his administration. At the same time I realize that there are areas where he has been deficient. Fall River's drug addiction, gang issues are two notable areas. I disagreed with him on the bingo hall, the downtown courthouse, and Watuppa Heights to name a few.

However, I'm not going to just credit or blame him for something without looking into the background for at least a little bit of information. For instance I didn't credit him with the new police station because I believe much of the groundwork was laid out by the previous administration.

Is Ed Lambert perfect, no, of course not, and I've heard plenty to let me know he's no saint either.

I'll ask you this, who has been a better mayor and what did they accomplish?

reynolds said...

I appreciate that you tried to do a fair analysis Lefty. Sounds like you would say Ed Lambert was mediocre or maybe you would lean more than that and say he was a good Mayor.

I appreciate anon's opinion too though, in 12 years people could ask the question, "was it really enough." I think anon's opinion would maybe be that Lambert was maybe mediocre or maybe mediocre at best with anon leaning toward calling Lambert a bad mayor.

I do think that in the end for better or for worse because of the fact that Ed Lambert will have his name on the plaques of so many new buildings that history will probably judge him at least as a good Mayor. You can be ticked by that anon but people years from now will see that name over and over again on several buildings so it definitely won't be a name that people will forget, love him or hate him Ed Lambert won't be easily forgotten.

I'll let you guys fight it out over whether Lambert was good or bad, I want to lean toward good but maybe it is just best to say he was fair or mediocre. If you take the view that a lot of previous mayors didn't do much and he did more than they did then I guess saying he was good is okay but let's look at one thing that maybe we can agree on - Ed Lambert was an excellent politician - he could speak well - he could effectively manipulate the media - his singing and dancing made him likeable to seniors and others - he could certainly play "the game" for those that want to call politics a game. Certainly if he wasn't an effective politician he wouldn't have been in office for 12 years, he will end up being our 2nd longest serving Mayor and maybe some things got done, maybe some things did not but the longevity factor alone is fairly remarkable and hard to dismiss.

Lefty said...


once again, I find myself agreeing with much of what you say.

If someone doesn't like Ed Lambert that's fine. I think you're right he certainly is a masterful politician and I personally give him very good marks while realizing he too had his glaring faults.

I do compare what Lambert attempted to accomplish to what wasn't by others. I also realize that 1/2 of his tenure was under a difficult and trying conditions.

I still ask, not to be smug, not to rhetorical, but because I'd really like to know, who was better?