April 25, 2024

Flynn presses for new council vote on anti-terror funds

The City Council held its final formal meeting of the year on Dec. 13, but its leader wants to reconvene this week to reconsider an earlier decision to refuse $13.3 million in federal aid for anti-terror measures in the city.

Mayor Wu filed an order to authorize the city to accept the money, but the council failed to muster enough support to approve the funds. Her order was rejected in a 6-6 vote at the final session.

Said Council President Ed Flynn in a statement last Thursday: “I am now asking Mayor Wu to resubmit the necessary paperwork next week to the City Council for a formal vote to accept this funding. If city officials fail to exercise that option, I will call for an emergency City Council meeting for next week to discuss our options and to encourage my colleagues to vote to support this funding.”

Wu’s office, when asked for a response to Flynn’s request, said that the matter can wait for the new year and a newly sworn-in council.

“In eleven days, Mayor Wu will swear in a new City Council with four new members,” a spokesperson told the Reporter in an email. “Rather than reopen a vote more than a week after the Council President adjourned the session for the term, the administration is preparing to welcome the next Council and move important items in the new session.

“As communicated to the Council President last week and again this morning, it is unfortunate that this important regional grant funding was not passed under this current Council, but we have been in contact with other municipalities and are confident that there will be no impact on operations or public safety if this grant is refiled and accepted in January.”

Wu, who supports the funding, said the money would assist “planning, exercises, trainings, and operational needs, that will help prevent, respond to and recover from threats or acts of terrorism, including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive incidents.”

Flynn said on Thursday that he was “deeply disappointed that my City Council colleagues failed to provide the leadership necessary to protect our city and many cities and towns throughout Greater Boston.” He will be replaced as council president next week newly elected councillors are sworn in.

The council’s decision prompted Sen. Nick Collins to file legislation that would strip cities and towns of authority over certain federal grants — and shift that responsibility to the Legislature and governor.

City Councillors Ricardo Arroyo, Liz Breadon, Kendra Lara, Ruthzee Louijeune, Julia Mejia, and Brian Worrell voted against the order, according to meeting minutes. Councillors Frank Baker, Gabriela Coletta, Sharon Durkan, Michael Flaherty and Erin Murphy voted in favor, as did Council President Ed Flynn. Councillor Tania Fernandes Anderson was absent and did not cast a vote.

Chris Lovett and State House News Service coverage contributed to this report.

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