Former Mayor Advises City Council

Mayor Tom McLaughlin submits letter to the editor.

Mayor Scott Galvin and Members of the Woburn City Council

Woburn City Hall

10 Common Street

Woburn, MA 01801


Dear Mayor Galvin and Members of the Woburn City Council:

Re:  Appropriation for Residential Water Meters

The reason I signed the Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) back in 2008 resulted from sound legal advice I received from our city’s attorneys. This advice convinced me that the city had no other option than to cooperate and resolve outstanding issues we had with the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection). The DEP was established by the state legislature and has statutory authority to enforce regulations throughout the Commonwealth pertaining to water use and a number of other water and sewer related matters. This was the third time that I am aware of where ACO’s were executed by the City (via its mayor) and the DEP. It is also fair to say that a number of other communities in the Commonwealth have entered into ACO’s with the DEP to avoid unnecessary enforcement actions.


The DEP maintains records that show that Woburn’s water usage far exceeds the usage of comparable communities that already have residential water meters. This is hard information to refute and would become very compelling in any legal action. It certainly does not seem in our best interest to wage a potentially costly legal challenge…..a challenge that was explained to me as one that would be destined to fail. The more likely outcome of any legal challenge would be that a court will eventually order the city into compliance and the city will run the risk of having to pay substantial DEP fines on top of significant legal fees.


If any legal questions remain, I would urge the mayor and the council to obtain a second legal opinion before making any final decisions. This entire issue has to be considered from:  (a) its legal perspective and (b) in light of the authority delegated to the DEP by the state legislature. Seeking competent legal advice at this point may seem to be a reasonable approach as you consider the implications of this appropriation along with any other matters as they pertain to the ACO.


I trust that at the end of the day that you will take the responsible course of action.



Thomas L. McLaughlin

Former Mayor


Editor's note: Letters to the Editor are printed upon receipt; content is unedited and is the letter writer's opinion.

Shannon Sevier May 08, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Its about time you told people what happened Mayor McLaughlin! Its been a long time coming!
Pat May 08, 2012 at 07:42 PM
the current mayor said he would fight water meters...what has he done to fight this?
Earnhardt May 09, 2012 at 12:42 AM
The problem is he is trusting the council and the mayor will take a responsible course of action. They can't even get together to fix a roof!
Shannon Sevier May 09, 2012 at 01:32 AM
No that's not the issue Earnhardt the Council is trying to keep this Mayor honest Since he lied his way to the corner office blaming Tom McLaughlin for the city's water meter issue!
Earnhardt May 09, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Ohh I agree! the mayor is a lier. But the council continues to fight amongst themselves and with the Mayor. The whole lot needs to go at the next election. Read the paper. every issue that comes up is arugued and dragged out, And then along comes the Mayor saying he will fill everyone in later.... he is a master at avoiding issues.
Earnhardt May 09, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Liar.. sorry! I do know how to spell! lolol
charles May 09, 2012 at 11:33 AM
I believe the former mayor hit the nail on the head when addressing the legal question on water meters. He was not afraid to step up and make a tough decision. Like it or not water meters will make us conserve water.
Earnhardt May 09, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Nothing wrong with meters. I would rather not have them, but it's inevitable. Too bad the Council and the Current Mayor spend all thier time bickering, Reminds me of that old saying about fiddling while Rome burns
Janet Levesque May 09, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Pay attention to the meetings. The council isn't fighting with themselves. there are one or two aldermen who always take the mayors side. They won't hold him accountable and he is taking advantage of them.
Janet Levesque May 09, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Remember that arguments sell papers and get you to read articles. It's too bad that is all they focus on when so much happens. I am now watching on tv cause I can't believe the difference between what I read and what happens in truth. Check it out, you'll be amazed.
Pat May 09, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I too watched the council meeting to get a true picture. I was shocked at the lack of respect by the city lawyer to one of the alderman. The tone of the city comes from the corner office.
Harry Sheets May 10, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Are you people for real!
Earnhardt May 10, 2012 at 12:47 AM
All they do is argue. Its just like Washington politics. And I do not get ALL my news from the papers. I ALSO attend meetings! so I see it first hand. its all chest thumping and head butting. And seems to me They Mayor knows he has at least two he can play like a fiddle. Sad but True. Rome is burning like it or not.
Janet Levesque May 10, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Earnhardt, Do you mean there are two people on the council that do what the mayor wants every time? I was trying to figure why he waited this long to ask for the money and I think its because the council has no time to ask questions before the deadline. they have to give it to him or else. You know what I don't care if we have to wait to pay fines if we get an idea of what they are doing with the money. It's a lot of money and then we'll have to pay to install the meters too? We get hit two times. Once in the taxes and then when they put the thing in my house. He had all these years to come up with a plan but he doesn't want anyone involved in it except for him.
Earnhardt May 10, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Janet, Thats exactly right! it's all a power play. and he has at least two who will back him everytime. As far as I know, we do not have to pay to have them installed, I will never pay to have a water meter installed in my home, and I suspect not many others will either, The Mayor is too busy trying to prove he is the boss and no one is going to tell him what to do. He waits like you said until the last minute knowing he has at least two votes everytime.its not a majority, but its enough to get them arguing about it. and Our ward Alderman is almost never there and when he is he remains pretty much silent, so thats 3 anyways. as long as he has that, then eventually he gets his way. he is good at playing them against each other, so good they don't realize they are being played. Seems like a lot of folks see it though.So the Mayor gets his way eventually. Think about it, who have you been reading about in the paper that have been supporting the mayor's proposals lately when they come up for debate?
Karla Vallance May 10, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I'm the Patch regional editor who works with Danielle Masterson. While I am a firm believer in the right to have robust comment forums and discussions, name-calling is not called-for, nor does it further your argument much. I would appreciate it if any accusations were accompanied by proof. Otherwise, they remain just: name-calling. An activity that should end after junior high school. Make your case or your argument, and don't get personal about it. For more details, see our Terms of Use: http://woburn.patch.com/terms.
KEEPING IT REAL May 10, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Clueless! you people need to do your homework. Maybe with meters we will find out about all the illegal water hook-ups that went on when SOMEBODY worked for the D.P.W. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Karla Vallance May 10, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Keeping It Real, two points from our Terms of Use: 1) A real name is required for posting on Woburn Patch (http://woburn.patch.com/terms) 2) Anything that "is threatening, harassing" is forbidden. Telling anyone they "should sit quiet before someone EXPOSES HIM" is threatening. So please take your post down or I will take it down.
Aaron B May 10, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I'd like to see some more coverage of this issue on Patch. I saw an article over at a similar local news site, but the only recent information I see here is this letter from the former mayor. What's the broader context for his letter, what is the current mayor doing, and what are councilors doing?
Earnhardt May 11, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Last nights article in the local paper will give you a good idea as to who is with the Mayor and who is against. Funny though. he still didnt come out with his so called reasons why it must be done yet. He must ne writing them down as he thinks of them.
Sandra Culhane May 11, 2012 at 08:42 PM
CLUELESS??? Are you talking about Fred Russell? I do my homework and you need to go back to school because you don't..
Tiger Woods May 12, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Sandra, don't go protecting family. Keeping it Real is right all of a sudden SOMEBODY who used to work for the D.P.W. Wants people to think he is all on the up and up. Your actions always find a way of catching up to you. I have been waiting for years for someone to "call him out". NO HE IS NOT TALKING ABOUT FRED RUSSELL! Why doesn't THIS mayor néed an assistant?
Kimmy May 12, 2012 at 04:12 AM
You gutless coward " Tiger Woods". Use your name or shut up. Kim Logan...613 Main St
charles May 12, 2012 at 09:52 AM
Go for it Kimmy. Sounds like the Tiger getting off the subject.
Shannon Sevier May 21, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Tiger this Mayor does have an assistant! Marie works two jobs now or dont you keep up? And she gets compensated for both. These water meters go all the way back to Mayor Rabbit and things got lost in the shuffle. It was an epic failure on alot of levels and not one person or group can say they are totally blameless. We did have a window of time when certain people were in office BUT it was ignored and the last two mayors have tried to "fix" the issue. Forcing the City Council against the wall is not the way to handle it and if your calling out Alderman Gately more got done under his DPW run through this city than under anyone else and he was just a highway foreman and as an Alderman his ward is getting cleaned up and he is respected down there So Tiger and Keeping it real keep your threats and calling out to yourself no one wants to hear it!
Earnhardt May 21, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Dick Gately has nothng to hide. He the only one with a spine on there. He si not in the mayor's back pocket. He even takes care of Ward 6 on most issues, Because our Alderman has no clue. So Don't even try to taint him. Tiger and Keeping it, are bomb tossers thats all


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