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Public Service Committee Meeting June 9, 2021

Jun 9 2021

6:30 pm Remote by Zoom

,

City Council

Holyoke Massachusetts

 

Notice of Committee Meeting

There will be a regular meeting of the committee on

 

Public service

 

Meeting to take place remotely on Zoom Meetings on Wednesday 6-9-21 at 6:30 PM

Per order of the Chair: Jim Leahy

*** Meeting will take place remotely and can be accessed via www.zoom.us

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84470805647?pwd=ZjRHUmdadnMyUXB1Mi92eWhMSXNYdz09

Meeting ID: 844 7080 5647 Meeting Passcode: 393109 or by call in at 1 (646) 558-8656 with same Meeting ID and Passcode. ***

 

Item 1: 6-1-21 From Acting Mayor Terence Murphy letter appointing Ms. Sheila Biermann as Personnel Director of the City of Holyoke

 

Item 2: 6-1-21 MCGEE -- Order that the public service committee invite in and interview the following translation services fir city council:

Transfluenci - Stacey Chevalier, Interpreter Services Coordinator - stacey@transfluenci.com - (413) 737-1888 - $65/hr. per interpreter, 3 hour minimum

HPS Language Access Services Department - Nick Magnolia, Translation Manager -nmagnolia@hps.holyoke.ma.us - (413) 512-5358 - $75/hr. per interpreter, 3 hour minimum

UMass Translation Services - Dr. Regina Galasso, Director - translate@umass.edu - (413) 545-2203 - $100/hr. per interpreter, 2 hour minimum

All of these providers would require 2 interpreters per meeting so that they can switch off at regular intervals (I suspect this will be the case with anyone you speak to).

There are a few other companies that provide interpretation services in the area, Language Bridge https://www.lbridge.com/ and Concordis Language Services https://www.concordislanguageservices.com/

 

Item 3: 3-16-21 HERNANDEZ -- Ordered, that that a proposal/resolution filed in the past by Councilor Nelson Roman be taken up by the Public Service Committee as it relates to replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People Day.  The City of Holyoke consists of more than 50% of its population being Latinos, predominantly of Puerto Rican heritage.

Administrative Assistant: Jeffery Anderson-Burgos

The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law. Also one or two items may require the committee to enter into executive session at this meeting. Agenda subject to change up to two business days (48 hours) prior to posted meeting time.

Public Service Committee
June 9, 2021

 
Members present: Chairman James Leahy, Vice Chairwoman Libby Hernandez, Rebecca Lisi

Other councilors present: Terence Murphy, Joseph McGiverin, Peter Tallman, Todd McGee

 

Chairman Leahy called the meeting to order at 6:32 PM.

 

Chairman Leahy stated that due to the schedules of planned speakers, there had been a request to take item 3 out of order.

Councilor Hernandez made a motion to suspend the necessary rules to remove item 3 from the table out of order. Councilor Lisi seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 3: 3-16-21 HERNANDEZ -- Ordered, that that a proposal/resolution filed in the past by Councilor Nelson Roman be taken up by the Public Service Committee as it relates to replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People Day.  The City of Holyoke consists of more than 50% of its population being Latinos, predominantly of Puerto Rican heritage.

--->      Approved, 3-0

DISCUSSION
Councilor Hernandez stated that the intent of the order was to revisit a previous motion filed by former Councilor Nelson Roman to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. She then stated that the matter of celebrating Columbus Day implies that Columbus was a hero for discovering a world where nations and cultures already existed. She also stated that the exploration trip had been a conquest of slavery, oppression, and colonialism that culminated in genocide. She suggested that the community should gather to celebrate the cultures of those that are underrepresented, and voices that are not heard or no longer here. She also suggested that the holiday contributes to the teaching of incorrect information in schools and creates a false narrative of the original landowners. She then noted that her own heritage comes from natives of the Caribbean.

Councilor Hernandez made a motion to suspend the necessary rules to allow the public to address the committee. Councilor Lisi seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos offered the instruction on how members of the public could be recognized. He also noted that an email was sent earlier that day from a member of the public wishing it to be included in the record.

Elizabeth Caretti Ramirez, 205 Bemis Rd, provided the following statement for the record:
I am a proud Italian-American.  My mother’s side of the family is from Lago Maggiore. We are in touch with our Italian family e parlo un po' di italiano. When I was in graduate school, I had the opportunity to read Cristobal Colon’s (aka Columbus’) original diary in Spanish.  Here is an excerpt from what I read. I want to warn you, that this passage contains stories of violence, including sexual assault and will not be easy for many to hear. These first excerpts make reference to the Caribe and Guanahani people (aka Arawak/ Taíno) Columbus and his crew met in the present day Carribean islands, “They would make fine servants. ... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” Columbus added, “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”
And as if enslavement were not enough, Columbus “gave” a Carib woman to his friend and crewmate, Michele de Cuneo who wrote the following in his diary: “While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked—as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But—to cut a long story short—I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears. Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores.”
You may accuse me of being a revisionist historian but Bartholome de las Casas, a Dominican friar, whose father sailed on Columbus’ 2nd expedition to the Americas wrote the following:
“Endless testimonies ... prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives. ... But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then.... The admiral, it is true, was blind as those who came after him, and he was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the Indians ...“ Las Casas describes how Spaniards rode on the backs of natives. How the Spaniards "thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades." Las Casas adds "two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys." If this behavior was considered “normal” for the time, why was de las Casas so critical? There were people alive at the time who knew that murder, rape and enslavement were wrong and so we can judge Columbus’ actions under this lens.
With all the amazing Italians that we could look up to, why would we choose THIS man with THIS horrific history to represent the proud history of Italian-Americans?
To add insult to injury, the first people that Columbus and his crew raped, enslaved and killed in the Carribean were Taíno Indians. Holyoke is nearly 50% Puerto Rican who are all descendants of the Tainos.  How insulting that an Italian man who killed and enslaved Taínos and allowed his crew to rape their women man is celebrated in Holyoke. As an Italian-American I do not feel honored. I strongly support replacing the celebration of Columbus Day on the second Monday in October with Indigenous People’s Day, like many among the growing number of cities in Massachusetts have done, including: Amherst, Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Easthampton, Great Barrington, Marblehead, Mashpee, Maynard, Melrose, Newton, Northampton, Provincetown, Salem, Somerville and Wellesley.”

Councilor Hernandez stated that more may have intended to participate but may not have been able to join and would likely speak during public comment at the following Tuesday’s full City Council meeting.

Chairman Leahy asked if she would like the order to be tabled for a future meeting.

Councilor Hernandez stated that it could be tabled to provide an opportunity for additional people to participate and provide information. She then stated that she had a conversation with Homar Gomez from the Easthampton City Council about a resolution their city adopted, adding that many had been a part of the discussions. She then asked for a suggestion on if it should be tabled, or if it could be moved forward.

Chairman Leahy suggested it would likely benefit from more testimony and information.

Greaney noted that New Haven, Connecticut had renamed Columbus Day to Italian Heritage Day.

E. Ramirez stated she had a list of all towns in Massachusetts that had adopted Indigenous Peoples Day.

Chairman Leahy asked Ms. Ramirez if she could provide a copy of her statement to the Admin Asst.

E. Ramirez stated she could. She also noted that the other towns were Amherst, Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Easthampton, Great Barrington, Marblehead, Mashpee, Maynard, Melrose, Newton, Northampton, Provincetown, Salem, Somerville and Wellesley. She stated noted that many public schools systems had adopted it, as well as a much longer list of other U.S. cities.

Councilor Lisi suggested allowing a submitted email to be read into the record.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos read the following email into the record:
“My name is John "J.R." Rivera and I live on 2 Laurel St. and I am here today on the basis of Item 3 filed by Councilwoman Hernandez. Although I believe this to be the bare minimum and a symbol towards how little we've progressed I am in full support of such an item/proposal/resolution. I hope to see less performative action for the purposes of opportunism and more direct action that combat the injustices we see in our streets, departments, and all circles here in Holyoke. As a Boricua (pronounced "Bo'ri.kwa") I appreciate this item but I believe it is opportunistic in approach and I hope to see more direct action to combat systemic racism, over policing, and disparities within my community. None of which I have seen at all growing up here and keeping tune with the circus that is our City Council. Again I, like many in my community, am in full support and hope this goes through swiftly. Sending my gratuity to Councilwoman Libby Hernandez for taking the lead on this.”

Corey Flanders, 55 Nonotuck St, stated that she was in support of the name change and appreciated it being brought before the council.

Jennifer Keitt, Arthur St, stated that she was in support of changing the day to Indigenous Peoples Day. She also noted that Holyoke Public Schools refers to the day as Indigenous Peoples Day and had been for at least a year or two. She then suggested that the City Council and schools should be on the same page.

Councilor Lisi stated that her child had been in Holyoke Public Schools and always called it Indigenous Peoples Day in that time. She also suggested that calling the day anything else would be a misnomer, noting that the point of Columbus Day was to celebrate discovering America, adding that it hadn’t been discovered because there were already people here. She also noted that indigenous people had been relegated to the margins or eradicated in some instances. She expressed support for moving the order forward.

Juan Sanchez identified himself as the President of Nueva Esperanza. He noted that many communities throughout Massachusetts, including the town of Plymouth, had changed the name of the holiday. He also suggested that the proposed change was not new or controversial, but would send a message of solidarity with indigenous communities as well as against historical atrocities.

Councilor Lisi made a motion to approve the order. Councilor Hernandez seconded the motion.

Councilor McGiverin asked for a clarification of what is being adopted, noting that there was no resolution before the committee.

Chairman Leahy suggested it should be complied with.

Councilor Lisi noted that the order states an intent to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day.

Councilor Hernandez stated that was what she filed.

Councilor McGiverin stated that his reading was that the order appeared to be looking into an order filed by a previous city councilor.

Chairman Leahy suggested that the order could be complied with.

Councilor McGiverin noted that did not appear to be the intent of the maker, adding that he sought to have clarity for when the order gets to the full City Council. He stated that while the intentions were clear, a reading of the order appeared to ask that a former order be taken up.

Councilor Hernandez noted that the order refers to the same intent as the previous order which sought to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.

Councilor McGiverin suggested that there needed to be a resolution to make it formal.

Councilor Hernandez asked if the language submitted by former Councilor, Nelson Roman. was available.

Councilor Lisi suggested that the original order should have been referenced on the agenda. She then stated that the intent appeared to be clear.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos stated that he had not been able to find the original order in a search of the committee jacket.

Chairman Leahy stated that the language should be available to be voted on.

Councilor Lisi suggested that if there is no order, the committee could table the matter.

Chairman Leahy suggested authoring a new proposal.

Councilor Lisi suggested amending the order to clarify the intent.

Chairman Leahy stated that there should be a resolution to be read.

Councilor Lisi made a motion to lay on the table.

Councilor Tallman recalled the matter coming up 3-4 years ago, including a resolution. Expressed he understood and supported the intent, adding that a resolution should be in writing.

Councilor McGee suggested researching language passed by other communities and editing with language for Holyoke. He then suggested that it could be filed for the following week’s City Council agenda. He noted that the speaking time rule of a full City Council meeting limits the opportunity for members of the public to fully address a matter. He then suggested that if everyone who planned to address the matter had spoken, the best course of action could be to file an order with resolution language to be acted on.

Councilor Hernandez stated she would prefer not to table it, adding that she would plan to file a resolution.

Chairman Leahy suggested a motion to approve with the understanding that a resolution would be filed.

Chairman Leahy made a motion to approve. Councilor Lisi seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

 

(30:50)

Chairman Leahy made a motion to remove item 1 from the table. Councilor Lisi seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 1: 6-1-21 From Acting Mayor Terence Murphy letter appointing Ms. Sheila Biermann as Personnel Director of the City of Holyoke

--->      Approved, 3-0.

Acting Mayor Murphy stated that he had been impressed with Ms. Biermann during her interview. He noted that she came with a variety of experiences in Human Resources and other kinds of management. He also noted that she had great enthusiasm and has many ideas to assure employees get the support and training they need to be successful. He stated she also had experience with addressing conflicts.

S. Biermann stated that she had degrees in Business Management, Health Science, and Business Healthcare Administration Management. She then noted that she had worked with National Ambulance, working her way up before moving on to a startup company in West Springfield, New England Medical. She added that the she derived the most enjoyment in working with people and the community to make things better. She then expressed an appreciation for the diversity of Holyoke. She also noted that her most recent job with Curative focused on helping communities reopen from the pandemic, adding that the position was coming to an end. She stated that she was thrilled to apply for the HR Director position and had been impressed through the interview process and would plan to stay for many years, if allowed.

Chairman Leahy observed that while Councilor Murphy had good things to say about her, that the Council preferred to have a role in asking questions prior to hiring for the position.

Councilor Lisi stated that the position was an important one as she would be managing City Hall employees and handling confidential personnel matters. She asked Ms. Biermann what she understood about complaints involving confidential matters as well as what her experience was in working within the laws that govern confidentiality of these issues.

S. Biermann stated that HIPAA had been a large part of any management position she ran in the medical field. She then asked for a further clarification of the question.

Councilor Lisi asked if she understood where the lines are regarding confidential employee matters, where the legal bounds are.

S. Biermann stated that if she ever had any questions, she would refer to Legal to make sure she would be following guidelines, noting that there are often gray areas. She then stated that she would rarely have a meeting alone with an employee due to HIPAA.

Greaney expressed confidence in Acting Mayor Murphy’s selection.

Councilor McGiverin expressed appreciation for her statement that she defers to Legal before making important decisions, adding that many departments and employees may seek legal advice from the HR Director for answers to legal questions as well. He then asked for an example of working as a manager of dealing with employee conflicts.

S. Biermann stated that there are often employee conflicts every day, adding that some are severe enough to require getting attorneys involved. She noted that she was in the middle of dealing with one. She stated that she would collect statements within 24 hours, meeting with those involved where they are most comfortable, and then gather it together into a file. She stated that she would then walk away to temporarily refocus on other things before returning to the matter, reviewing the information, and referencing laws, including keeping up on how laws are regularly changing.

Councilor McGiverin noted that health insurance is connected with the Personnel Department. He noted that the department is very busy during open enrollment. He then asked if she had any experience assisting employees with the choices related to health insurance.

S. Biermann noted that in her work with startups, there had been no HR Department so she was often the person negotiating with health insurance companies and had become great at explaining the plans to employees.

Councilor McGiverin observed that her experience appeared to be private and quasi-public sector. He then stated that the City Council often needs the person in the HR Director position to offer guidance and get information. He also noted that while the City Council is political in nature, they would need an HR Director that is not. He asked if she would be able to ride above politics and give information.

S. Biermann stated that she is the same person in and out of work, adding that she does not bring emotion into her work and is very ‘by the book.’

Councilor McGiverin asked if the offered salary would be enough to meet her needs.

S. Biermann stated that it would be.

Councilor McGiverin noted the importance of assuring employees are satisfied, adding that training would also be an important part of the job.

Councilor Tallman reiterated the importance of training in any position. He observed that she had covered the topic well. He noted that he had worked with the Postal Service which had an EAP program. He then asked how she would utilize the employee assistance program with Holyoke.

S. Biermann asked for more information.

Councilor Tallman stated that it was a program to help with the health and welfare of employees, adding that they could go to their supervisors to get counseling with personal issues, concerns at home, mental health issues, or other issues at home affecting their work. He emphasized that healthy employees are better employees.

S. Biermann stated that the program she had worked with in the past had been a number for employees to call for confidential support. She stated she had been known for organizing a weight loss committee. She also noted that employees had come to her who were dealing with drug and alcohol issues, adding that she is non-judgmental and would just want to get people help. She added that she has made calls trying to find help for employees needing that help.

Councilor Tallman emphasized the importance of city employees having that type of support when they need it. He also emphasized the broad responsibilities of role, including handling health insurance, maintaining employee files, and issues related to discrimination.

Councilor McGee asked how many staff members she had working with her in her previous positions.

S. Biermann stated that it depended on the company, adding that sometimes she had supervisors and additional staff and other times it had just been her. She then stated that she could work with or without staff to assure employees get what they need.

Councilor McGee noted that the HR Department had not been well staffed in the past, occasionally requiring help from other departments. He then stated his intent was to assure she was aware of the history and the staffing issues in the department.

S. Biermann expressed that she was not concerned, adding that she saw it as a sign of better things to come. She then emphasized the value of employee engagement on the ability to keep employees.

Councilor Murphy stated that the employee assistance program was funded through the budget. He then expressed an expectation that Naiomy Colon would help assure that all resources were available for employees that need support.

S. Biermann stated that she had been in contact with Ms. Colon already and had looked forward to working with her.

Councilor Lisi made a motion to confirm the appointment. Councilor Hernandez seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Chairman Leahy stated that the appointment would go before the full City Council for a final vote.

 

(54:50)

Councilor Lisi made a motion to remove item 2 off the table. Councilor Hernandez seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 2: 6-1-21 MCGEE -- Order that the public service committee invite in and interview the following translation services fir city council.
TransFluenci - Stacey Chevalier, Interpreter Services Coordinator - stacey@TransFluenci.com - (413) 737-1888 - $65/hr. per interpreter, 3 hour minimum
HPS Language Access Services Department - Nick Magnolia, Translation Manager -nmagnolia@hps.holyoke.ma.us - (413) 512-5358 - $75/hr. per interpreter, 3 hour minimum
UMass Translation Services - Dr. Regina Galasso, Director - translate@umass.edu - (413) 545-2203 - $100/hr. per interpreter, 2 hour minimum
All of these providers would require 2 interpreters per meeting so that they can switch off at regular intervals (I suspect this will be the case with anyone you speak to).
There are a few other companies that provide interpretation services in the area, Language Bridge https://www.lbridge.com/ and Concordis Language Services https://www.concordislanguageservices.com/

--->      Complied with, 2-0.

DISCUSSION:

Councilor McGee stated that the Council sought to hire an interpreter for Spanish translation of meetings. He noted that there was a funding approval from former Mayor Morse to use funds through Holyoke Media. He then stated that the initial plan was to use the same interpreters as the schools. He added that while waiting for the contract, Holyoke Media’s legal counsel advised them that there may be a conflict. He stated that Scott from Holyoke Media provided a list of potential organizations that the Council could work with. He stated that the order had been filed, adding that two of the organizations backed out.

Chairman Leahy recognized Jessica Ridley from TransFluenci.

Councilor McGiverin asked who backed out and why.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos stated the UMass Translation Services backed out because they collaborate with Holyoke Public Schools (HPS) in some areas and didn’t believe it would appropriate to compete with them for the contract. He then stated that HPS backed out due to ethical concerns with the City Council contracting with someone from the public schools. He added that there may have more details on the reasoning that he was not aware of.

Councilor McGiverin asked if UMass is contracted with HPS.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos clarified that they partner with them in some areas, according to a letter sent a couple days prior.

Councilor McGiverin asked if UMass understood that HPS are a part of the city. He suggested that the reasoning was questionable. He then asked who else backed out.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos stated that HPS backed out.

Councilor McGiverin asked why.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos stated that it was his understanding that there were ethical concerns. He then suggested that Councilor Murphy could explain more.

Councilor Murphy noted that he received an email that day from HPS inquiring as to why they were being asked to attend the attend. He stated that he explained their intent was to interview potential interpreters. He then stated that they expressed that would likely not be attending. He also stated that there was not a clearer answer. He added that he believed they had a contract directly with Holyoke Media to interpret School Committee meetings, adding that their expectation may have been to contract directly with Holyoke Media and not with the city.

Councilor McGiverin asked why Holyoke Media contracts with interpreters for HPS but not with the City Council.

Councilor Murphy stated that he did not know they were contracted that way but that it appeared to be so.

Councilor McGiverin stated that there appeared to be expressions of legal concerns that he did not understand.

Councilor Murphy noted that one company did come in.

Chairman Leahy stated that the interview would begin with detailing the company’s background the services they provide. He then stated that councilors would ask questions.

J. Ridley, Operations Manager, stated they had been in business for 20 years. She stated that they had contracted with the state of Massachusetts for the last four to five years, as well as a contract with the state of Connecticut. She stated they provide many translation services for almost any language. She then stated that they provide services for many hospitals, including Holyoke Medical Center, as well as for schools and other community organizations.

Chairman Leahy asked how the translation service would work, specifically for a City Council meeting.

J. Ridley stated that they would learn about the intended format. She then asked if it was Spanish translation that was being sought.

Chairman Leahy confirmed it was.

J. Ridley stated that when it is in person, it could be done in a separate booth to avoid disrupting the meeting, adding that headphones could be used for larger groups. She then stated that they would need to understand the setup for the meetings but that they would be able to accommodate the needs.

Councilor Hernandez stated that she had been in meetings with translation services, noting that they have been disruptive in some situations. She stated that that the booth would be nice to avoid disruptions.

J. Ridley stated that the interpreters would have a headset with a microphone, adding that anyone needing to hear it would have a headset.

Councilor Hernandez reiterated that it could be disruptive trying to hear in English with Spanish translation happening in the background.

Councilor McGiverin noted that City Council meetings are live meetings that are also broadcast on Zoom, through livestream, as well as the public access channel. He then asked if they would be able to provide live service at the same time for an entire meeting.

J. Ridley stated it could be recorded as well.

Councilor McGiverin stated that Holyoke Media would handle the broadcasts.

J. Ridley stated they would work with Holyoke Media to incorporate the translation.

Councilor McGiverin noted that meetings include 13 councilors, the City Clerk, lawyers, and occasionally the public with multiple issues discussed during a meeting. He then asked if the service would require one interpreter or two.

J. Ridley stated that it should only require one. She then stated it would be simultaneous interpreting so that the translation would follow right behind the meeting.

Councilor McGiverin asked if the work for the state was with the trial courts.

J. Ridley stated they had in the past, adding that they had since hired their own interpreters. She then stated that they do a lot of legal work, depositions, unemployment hearings. She stated they have a sister company, TransFluenci Edu, that handles the training of all of their interpreters.

Councilor McGiverin asked if they had done any government work with elected officials.

J. Ridley stated they had. She added they had done work with investigative bureaus. She then reiterated that they had been in business for 20 years and likely had been involved in almost any scenario.

Councilor McGiverin asked about their focus on integrity.

J. Ridley stated that quality and customers service were their highest priorities, adding that if there are issues, they want to correct them right away.

Councilor Tallman noted that the Council had been working to address this for several years. He then asked if there would be a backup if it an interpreter was getting tired, noting that many meetings can go on for several hours. He also asked if there would be a backup in case a scheduled interpreter could not make it.

J. Ridley stated they assure they have someone available if someone can’t handle an assignment. She then stated that if there was a potential for a meeting to last for 4-5 hours, they could break it up in a way that makes sense and would be the most cost effective for the City Council.

Councilor Tallman asked a clarifying question, that simultaneous interpretation was within seconds of the original words being spoken.

J. Ridley confirmed that was correct. She noted that the interpreters are specifically trained for that skill.

Councilor Tallman asked if they utilize people to test to assure the interpretation is accurate.

J. Ridley confirmed they do, adding that her business partner will occasionally check in. She noted that others will often provide their own feedback.

Councilor Tallman noted that there are times when something may be said with a certain meaning that gets lost with translation. He stated the intent was to assure that words and meanings are translated as close as possible.

J. Ridley emphasized the importance of utilizing people from the area, noting that the region has a high population of those of Puerto Rican or Dominican descent.

Councilor Murphy expressed appreciation that they focused on matching the Spanish dialect to that of the local population. He suggested providing two interpreters at the beginning of the contract to assure things go well. He then asked if there would be a price difference with one person or two.

J. Ridley stated the price would be per interpreter, clarifying it would be $65 an hour per interpreter.

Councilor Murphy extended an invitation to look at the Council chambers the following week to determine where the interpreter could be.

Greaney emphasized the importance of translating what councilors say precisely without any political twist. He also emphasized the need to assure Spanish residents have the necessary technology to listen in Spanish.

J. Ridley stated that those details would require a conversation with Holyoke Media to determine what technology would be utilized to allow those residents to hear the meetings in Spanish.

Greaney stated it would be critical to have that information.

Councilor Murphy stated that he understood Holyoke Media had purchased the necessary equipment in order to provide access to the translation.

Councilor Hernandez suggested that if the equipment had been purchased, the Spanish speaking population should hear it in Spanish when they tune into public access channel 15. She then asked if it would be another channel.

Councilor Murphy stated that they may have to select a Spanish interpretation option after tuning to channel 15.

Councilor Hernandez asked to clarify that they would not need special equipment in their homes.

Councilor Murphy stated that they would likely only need their television.

Councilor Hernandez made a motion that the order had been complied with. Chairman Leahy seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Chairman Leahy noted that Councilor Lisi may have lost her connection. He then stated that the order would be taken up at the next City Council meeting.

Councilor Hernandez made a motion to adjourn. Chairman Leahy seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

 

Adjourned at 7:57 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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