Rick Torres isn’t exactly receiving welcome-wagon attention at City Hall. The Republican City Council-elect says he was trying to introduce himself to department heads on Monday as he prepares for his seat on the city’s 20-member budget and legislative body. The reception, he says, was more like man from Mars.
The outspoken owner of the popular Harborview Market in Black Rock says he wasn’t trying to throw his weight around as a new elected official, he simply wanted to make introductions and learn about the information flow from departments to the City Council, something that has been a source of concern for some council members throughout the years.
Torres was particularly nonplussed when he visited the office of Finance Director Anne Kelly-Lenz whose duties include preparing monthly financial reports on the fiscal condition of the city. “I just wanted to introduce myself and they told me to see Andy Nunn,” says Torres, referring to the city’s chief administrative officer.
If nothing else, Torres learned about the city’s tight chain-of-command structure. Kelly-Lenz reports to Nunn who reports to Mayor Bill Finch. Maybe Rick should invite the mayor to Black Rock for a sandwich and conversation. That would be some give and take, Torres discussing government reform while the mayor educates on reducing the carbon footprint. Translator, please!
Torres says he’s contemplating throwing his hat into the ring for City Council president even though he knows he’s a long shot against incumbent Democrat Tom McCarthy who’s had the position for six years and should have the votes lined up for another term as leader. The new council will be sworn in December 2.
Torres says he will be a reform-minded watchdog on the council. “I am really looking forward to this.” Torres also ran into city employee councilman from the East End, James Holloway, the longest-serving member on the council. Holloway, according to Torres, provided some sobering news. “You’re not going to change a thing.”
Welcome to the City Council, or in other words, “Round Up The Usual Suspects.”