Councilor Adrien Calls for More Information on City Litigation, Lawsuits

Councilor Gerly Adrien is asking that the City Solicitor provide the Council and the public more information on lawsuits and claims against the City – whether related to police misconduct, unlawful discrimination and any other litigation facing the City.

Adrien said she thought the idea was a good one after hearing her colleague Councilor Fred Capone ask frequently for all of the litigation and claims against the City. She said it would promote transparency for the City, and also help make government work more efficiently.

“It always involved us asking for it and waiting months for it,” she said. “I thought maybe the City Council can get a report every six months on what lawsuits we have pending and if we have paid anything out. If we put that on the website and analyze it, we can learn from it. If we get sued because of a pothole over and over, we’ll learn we need to focus on fixing that potholes so we don’t get sued again. I just want more information from City Hall on the website. It’s so easy.”

She said there is precedent with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). After a fight for more information from a citizen, MCAD began putting bi-annual reports of its activities on the website.

She said she hopes to get everything pending in the public domain, including lawsuits against the police and City officials.

“I want anything related to the police,” she said. “I look at other cities and they may have a lot of lawsuits with the police and residents. We may not have a lot of those in Everett, but if we report those we have publicly, we may have more transparency with the police officers.”

She said her request includes police, fire, the Library, and City Hall – to name but a few.

The matter is set to be discussed at the Aug. 27 Council Committee meeting, and Adrien said she is ready to listen and see what can be done to get this kind of information readily available.

The full text of her order is as follows:

“To require the City of Everett City Solicitor Department to post on the City of Everett’s website certain claims against the City of Everett police misconduct and unlawful discrimination; requiring the City of Everett City Solicitor Department to report to the City Council on certain litigation involving the City of Everett; prohibiting the City of Everett City Solicitor Department from approving certain settlement agreements that require claimants to waive certain rights; defining certain terms, and generally relating to improved transparency and oversight of claims against the City of Everett.”

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