When you ask around the city about former Cemetery Superintendent James Barr almost everyone says the same things about him.
He is described as a sometimes difficult man, gruff in nature, but dedicated to his city job and helpful to all those who asked.
Council President Tim Phelan said Barr was a tireless city employee who tended to do whatever was asked of him and that when the chips were down, he’d show up and save the day.
“I know nothing about the facts concerning his demotion but I feel badly for him,” said Phelan.
It is one thing to be demoted.
It is another for the mayor of the city to distribute a press release announcing the fact.
This is exactly what Mayor Judith Flanagan-Kennedy did last week.
Barr’s demotion followed a disciplinary hearing held last summer alleging Barr had been derelict in his duties.
As a result, Barr has been reassigned to the city’s park’s division.
The Barr demotion and reassignment by the mayor caused Ward 3 Councillor Darren Cyr to question the mayor’s motives.
In addition, Cyr said what few of his colleagues have dared to say … that the mayor is not communicating in a meaningful way with the city council.
“There is zero communication between the city council and the mayor’s office,” Cyr said. “She does everything through press releases.”
Cyr went on an on about the mayor not being a bridge builder and that she’s not trying at all to communicate with the city council.
Cyr was articulating what is being whispered throughout city hall and the city at large in political circles and among those who look for leadership from the mayor’s office.
Flanagan-Kennedy is no Chip Clancy.
The former mayor was at work everyday all day with an agenda everyday to meet.
His work ethic was exhausting.
When comparisons are made, there is really no comparison.
Cyr has said that the mayor is doing things that she used to complain about.
“She does everything through press releases,” Cyr repeated.
“This is not the way for us to find out about the demotion of a valued city employee,” he added.