Beware of the siren song

I personally have nothing against consultants.      Recently the Charter Commission was granted a consultant by the city council because of a problem: whatever was written up had to comply to Massachusetts General Law.        Whenever I visit the City Council Chambers or the Superior Court House; there is this huge long stack of impressive books either in the back of the room or, in the case of the court house, behind the judge.     

Consultants are excellent for getting a task done.

In this case, making sure the new Charter is perfectly legal.


I don’t care if its green technology, solar power, wind turbines or the Central Waterfront, consultants will act as promoters and will not stress the negative or devil’s advocate position.

Look at the consultants that were hired for the Sewer Plant – all it took was looking on a map to know that negative elements were present.       We have good maps from 1851 that are available online from the Essex County Register of Deeds clearly marking the location of the wharves.        Aerial maps clearly showed the Clipper City Rail Trail abutting the sewer plant and a blind man couldn’t miss this big river and Joppa Flats that would have demanded Chapter 91 conditions be imposed.(Guaranteeing public access.)

But the consultants job was to push it through rapidly with unrealistic numbers so it would be able to catch some of the ‘Shovel Ready’ funding.      Therefore the estimate was deliberately put lower.     And now we as rate payers have to suffer.        I was present at the Sewer Commission public hearings.      The consultant was deliberately ignoring all those external conditions and the commission was upset when someone brought them up.

I say this because whether it’s the purchasing of the lights for the City or taking on money from the solar farm in Salisbury; the consultant’s estimates will not be realistic and will probably be much less than promised.

Already one of my readers has detected some inconsistent numbers on some of the charts when it comes to the purchasing of the lights.     

Ulysses tied to a mastUlysses had to be tied to a mast because he could not resist.      It is so exciting and exhilarating to hear how we’re going to ‘save money’ or ‘make money’.       

Unfortunately, common sense has no ropes to tie us down and in the end, and just about every time, we end up getting dashed upon the rocks of reality.

Shipweck upon the rocks

-P. Preservationist

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