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Holyoke City Council Special Meeting March 30, 2021

Mar 30 2021

6:00 pm Remote by Zoom


*** Meeting will take place remotely and can be accessed via Meeting ID: 848 8816 6185 Meeting Passcode: 049840 or by call in at 1 (301) 715-8592 with same Meeting ID and Passcode. ***


March 26, 2021


City Clerk Brenna Murphy McGee

536 Dwight Street, Room #2

Holyoke, MA 01040

RE:         Special Meeting of the City Council

Dear Mrs. McGee:

Please be advised that a special meeting of the Holyoke City Council will be held:

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

6:00 PM


The agenda will include:

  • Revisions to the Home Rule Petition

Sincerely yours,

Todd A. McGee

City Council President


March 30,2021


The meeting was called to order by President McGee at 06:10 PM.


President McGee, filling the roll of Clerk, called the roll.   Absent members:  1 (Lebron-Martinez) Present Members 12 (Anderson-Burgos, Bartley, Greaney, Hernandez, Leahy, Lebron-Martinez, Lisi, McGee, McGiverin, Murphy, Sullivan, Tallman, Vacon)


The name of Councilor Anderson-Burgos was drawn to head the roll call voting.


Revisions to the Home Rule Petition

President McGee observed that State Rep Pat Duffy and Atty Crystal Barnes were in attendance. Stated that following the City Council’s passage of the petition for the special legislation, a few language change recommendations had come back from the state legislature.

Councilor Anderson-Burgos made a motion to suspend the rules to allow Rep Duffy and Atty Barnes to address the Council. All councilors voted in favor.

Atty Barnes noted that the councilors should have received redline and clean copies of the petition. Observed that nothing in the change for the plan, noting that only language had changed. Stated that she worked with Rep Duffy to understand what the state was looking for. Stated that their concern related to a question on whether having an acting mayor meant that there was a vacancy, adding that specific language was added. Also noted that the councilor serving as acting mayor would be able to act in both roles. Also stated that the language related to the person taking over as mayor was strengthened to make clear that the person would continue as mayor with the start of the new term in January. Noted that additional language provided a ten-day period for the Council to appoint an acting mayor following passage of the act.

President McGee stated that a special meeting could be called to appoint an acting mayor.

Atty Barnes clarified that the only change was to specific a time period to appoint, adding that the rest of the Council’s intend remained.

Councilor Leahy noted he received a letter from Atty Barnes announcing her resignation, noting that he wished he could vote against it and had high respect for her work. Added that she should stay in contact, reiterated that she had gone great work for the city. Asked for a clarification on the process and the timeline.

President McGee stated that Rep Duffy planned to return the petition to the state legislature the next day, adding that they would then have to decide how quickly to move on it.

Councilor Leahy asked if the State Senate had to take it up as well.

Rep Duffy stated that the State Senate would need to pass it as well. Noted that the scrutiny came from the House counsel, adding that she was keeping Senator Velis in the loop and that the Senate’s counsel would agree with the House counsel. Also noted that the legislature wants to respect the city’s wishes and plan and believes it to be a sensible course of action. Suggested she could not promise a date, but the intent was to push it through as soon as it can be.

Councilor McGiverin expressed his appreciation for Atty Barnes, noting her hard work and her empathy. Observed that the Council had worked hard on the issue. Expressed appreciation to Rep Duffy for her work on expediting the process and keeping the Council informed.

Councilor Lisi expressed appreciation to Atty Barnes, Rep Duffy, and Senator Velis for pushing the petition through. Expressed concern for the timeline. Asked for a date when the Council would need to consider holding a special election, adding that there may be a 60-day requirement after the vacancy. Reiterated a need to consider steps if the legislature doesn’t move quickly enough.

Rep Duffy noted that Secretary of State Galvin was observing the situation, adding that he shares Holyoke’s desire to not hold a special election. Expressed confidence that the process would not require 60 days.

Councilor Lisi expressed a hope that the process can move efficiently.

Councilor Tallman expressed good wishes to Atty Barnes, noting the dedication she gave to the city. Also expressed appreciation to Rep Duffy for assuring the process moved swiftly.

—> Amended petition received and adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays– 11 Yeas–Nays 1 (Bartley)–Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).


Adjourned at 6:23 PM

Jeffery Anderson-Burgos
Administrative Assistant to the City Council

Holyoke City Hall
536 Dwight St, Room 10
Holyoke, MA 01040
Regular hours 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Meeting days 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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