In response to the press release from City Council President Cliff Ponte Jr. and Vice President Pam Laliberte, along with the memo of Attorney Lauren Goldberg, Corporation Counsel Alan Rumsey has issued his opinion concerning the submitted FY2022 budget being adopted, and his opinion sides with Mayor Paul Coogan.
Rumsey began his statement by saying that to date, no member of the City Council has ever requested his opinion on the current budget issue.
The Corporation Counsel went on to say the he is “required to fairly and impartially represent the best interests of the City of Fall River. Attorney Lauren Goldberg, however, was retained by the City Council, at a rate of $275.00 per hour, to represent the interests of the Council.”
The City Council had previously agreed to hire their own counsel after the group had an issue concerning Rumsey not attending City Council meetings.
Concerning the City’s Council’s vote to reject the proposed municipal budget in its entirety, Rumsey stated that “pursuant to § 6-4(b) of the City of Fall River Home Rule Charter, a city council’s vote to completely reject the proposed municipal budget is ineffective, and cannot be subsequently converted into a purported line-by-line vote to reduce all expenditures except those required by law.”
Rumsey referenced § 6-4(b) of the Charter and his full legal opinion regarding the issue.
According to Rumsey, this issue had been previously addressed by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in the following 2019 guidance.DOR's FAQs re City Budgets
In his final remarks, Rumsey said that “it appears that the purported “rejection” of the proposed municipal budget was also improper because it occurred in the Committee on Finance, not in the City Council as required by Cushing’s Manual of Parliamentary Law and Practice” which he submitted a copy of.Cushing's Manual
Pam Laliberte is scheduled to be on “The Fall River Show” on Fall River Reporter at noon tomorrow with Marc Dion to discuss the issue. Mayor Coogan is expected to be on the show for his usual Tuesday appearance.