As you may have seen, today’s Globe reports that Mayor Menino has submitted a home rule petition that, if endorsed by the City Council and then adopted by the state, would essentially exempt Boston from the Governor’s new rules regarding civilian flaggers at construction sites.
The mayor submitted a home-rule petition yesterday to the City Council that, with state approval, would require construction projects to have police details on roads that have heavy traffic volume, even if the speed limit is below the 45-mile-per-hour benchmark set by the state.
The proposal, to go before the council today, could effectively eclipse Patrick’s highly touted use of civilian flaggers at certain construction sites, at least in the city, where the state is starting significant road reconstruction projections. Under Patrick’s cost-cutting changes, the state uses civilian flaggers on roads with a speed limit below 45 miles per hour.
Why this? Why now?
Menino’s support for using police details on Boston roads could help earn him political points with police unions ahead of this year’s competitive mayoral race. The mayor had a strained relationship with the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, the city’s largest police union, over contract disagreements prior to his last reelection bid, in 2005.
Anyway, I asked Mayor Menino’s three challengers what they thought of his proposal. Here’s what I got.
[I]n short – no, he does not support Menino’s legislation to roll back the Governor’s initiative.
I am in support of replacing police details with civilian flaggers wherever possible. Obviously, I oppose the Mayor’s proposal.
Good answers — both nice and clear, in addition to being on what I think is the right side of the issue.
Currently the City of Boston does not pay for flagmen. This practice adds critical law enforcement officers to our streets while not adding dollars to our budget. Michael’s focus is protecting the residents of Boston with the resources available. What happens in other cities and towns and on our highways is the domain of the Governor.
Huh? I sought clarification.
The Mayor’s proposal was submitted to the council today and went directly into the government ops committee. No discussion was had on this proposal. Michael has not yet reviewed Menino’s specific proposal. There will be a number of public hearings on the proposal before any decisions are made about accepting this proposal in its current form.
Michael is on the record in the past for supporting police details on the City streets because Boston doesn’t pay for it, so it adds police without adding cost to the City’s budget. In addition there is a record of police on these details making active arrests and playing a role in public safety.
Uh, OK. I think what I’m hearing is that Flaherty generally likes the idea of police doing construction details, on the theory that it’s another way of getting cops on the streets thereby improving public safety. He’s not prepared to endorse Menino’s specific proposal yet, but to me he seems generally simpatico with it.