Monday, July 28, 2008

Tom Kozak's Abuse of Power

I love watching city council meetings for many reasons but at the top of that long list is watching Tom Kozak trying to stay awake for the duration. Based on his desire to nap through meetings, he clearly isn't on the Council because of his love for public service.

So why is he on the Council? Former Mayor Lambert and the Herald News seem to indicate that Kozak is on the Council to use his position to get things done to further his own self interest. Referring to Tom Kozak, Mayor Lambert in 2003 said, "I don’t think elected officials should try to use their positions to get things outside the rules, and when that fails, use their position to make threats," said Lambert.

This Herald News article from 2003 (it is actually a good article) tells the tale of Tom Kozak's attempts to muscle his request to get granite curbing installed on Langley street, shortly after he built his new McMansion there, through city hall. When Kozak was told by then director of municipal services Jim Smith that he would have to get on the request list like everyone else, Kozak began threatening Smith's job. Smith wrote that Kozak told him he "used to be able to call up and get sidewalks and other things done" when former City Administrator Robert Connors worked at City Hall prior to Smith’s arrival.

Best quote I have read this month ----

"Unfortunately this has been a pattern of behavior from Councilor Kozak," said Lambert. "I know for a fact at least two or three times when the councilor called and asked for something to be done, and when he was told it could not be done, that department head was told they would pay in appearances before the City Council. That is just not correct," he said.

Perhaps Tom didn't learn a lesson about his wrongdoing in 2003 because he started with his personal demands again in 2006. According to this 2006 Herald News article, "Instead of going through the normal procedure for getting a stop sign installed on his street, City Councilor Thomas Kozak attempted to fast-track the process Tuesday."

Can we PLEASE get him out of office? He never does very well - usually comes in 7th 8th or 9th so it wont take much.....who's with me?!

(please note the second picture in the post below this, it appears as though Kozak got his granite curbing)


Anonymous said...

The way I see it is that this guy is only in office to get what he can out of the city for himself and his family...a nice part-time paycheck, health benefits, summer jobs for his kids, etc., etc. He's not interested in the people of this city at all. Just like you said about him trying to stay awake at council meetings, when he's there, he can barely keep himself upright and most of the time seems more interested in his manicure and keeping his "you're-not-foolong-anybody" comb-over in place rather than in the issues at hand. He puts out the bare minimum effort to get re-elected and the bare minimum effort while in office. I agree 100%--lets get rid of him. He's a lazy do-nothing who's looking to collect a nice little city retirement check when he finally decides the leave.

FRC said...

While I agree with the sentiments above, I have heard several times that Kozak's kids are involved with summer jobs, but is this a confirmed fact? Is there proof to support the claim?

I dont see how thos guy gets re-elected so often.

Fear and Loathing in Fall River said...

The problem with mediocre politicians being elected, as I see it, is with the system the city uses. 9 at large councilors assures a very entry cost for a new councilor.

If the city were broken down into wards with possibly a couple at large councilors, I feel there would be more competition for the seat. You would have a smaller base to convince to vote for you. Also, a weak councilor would be more likely to be thrown out. In this method it is the top 9 that win out. But if Kozak had to run against someone from his ward, he would have a harder time getting the votes if he wasn't a good councilor.

FRC said...

I think there would be a lot more progress and a lot less blight if City Councilors were responsible for a small area. Not only that, it would be more accountable and more likely to feel threatened by challengers.

Anonymous said...

I still can't understand how Kozak keeps getting re-elected. He does nothing!!!!! And now hearing all this.....What is everyone thinking

Lefty said...

I really don't have much of an opinion on Kozak. Can we vote him out? Sure! Will we? No, it's not going to happen.

The power of name recognition and incumbency means too much in this city.

I have to agree with my buddy Fear and Loathing, it's time to move to a ward system. Such a system would make it easier for a challenger to mount a successful campaign.

Anonymous said...

Guess who suggested that Councilors be elected by Wards when he was running for Mayor? Eric Poulin! 9 Wards in the city equals 9 Councilors. Makes sense but people didn't vote him in even though the point that it would cost less to run by ward instead of citywide maybe attracting good candidates for whom money could be an obstacle is a good one.

It would also potentially bring much needed fresh ideas and new blood to the Council and not just wealthy people like Mike Lund who can afford to masquerade as fresh ideas and new blood when they are really part of the 'ol boy network. I'm for Councilors by ward, where do I sign? Can we start a petition drive on this one?

shamrock said...

I am beginning to think that many Fall Riverites think that we currently have councilor representation by ward. I have heard the question asked several times recently, "who is your city councilor."

I was listening to Fast Eddie and newsman Alan Zeric (I am sure I didn't spell that correctly but I couldn't verify the spelling on the wsar website since it has been under construction for 4 months) on WSAR today and Alan asked Eddie who his city councilor was. Eddie said he didn't know and Alan (the fall river news reporter) proceeded to tell him how to find out who his councilor is.

I agree that a ward system would be a great idea. It would require that the councilors take some ownership in their wards and would allow for a higher standard of accountability.