By SCOTT JACKSON
The Braintree company that owns the land on which Quincy opened a 100-spot parking lot two years ago has taken legal action to evict the city from the property.
William Geary, the special counsel to Mayor Thomas Koch for downtown redevelopment, on Monday told city councillors FX Messina Enterprises has begun proceedings in Quincy District Court to evict the city from the lot at 1565 Hancock St., which the city intends to fight. Geary said the two sides are set to appear in court today (Thursday) for a motion hearing and a trial date has been scheduled for Jan. 9.
The city has been using the land at 1565 Hancock St. – commonly referred to as the Messina Lot – since 2016. The Messina Lot is one of several parking areas in Quincy Center where motorists who formerly used the Hancock Lot were re-assigned after the latter closed earlier this year. The Messina Lot provides parking for 100 employees from eight different Quincy Center companies, Geary said, and is open to the public for free during evening and weekend hours.
The city and FX Messina signed a one-year deal lease allowing city to use the land – which was previously vacant – in 2016. That lease was renewed in 2017 but was not renewed this year. Geary said the city continued to make rent payments on the lot since the lease expired this past June.
“We are contesting the grounds upon which they wish to evict us, having paid the rent up to the point in time when they did issue that eviction notice,” Geary said, “and also challenging the grounds upon which they filed this action in Quincy District Court – this is the kind of action we believe is in the jurisdiction of the Superior Court.”
If the city were forced to vacate the lot, Geary said it would create an “untenable circumstance for us, currently and for the foreseeable future.”
An attorney representing FX Messina was present at Monday’s City Council meeting but declined to comment after the meeting ended.
A council order to temporarily take the Messina Lot was introduced in May after talks between the two sides about renewing the lease reached an impasse. In October, a second order to take the lot outright by eminent domain was introduced and substituted for the original bill. The city proposed paying FX Messina $6.8 million for the land as part of that order, which is still pending before the City Council.
Geary on Monday said representatives for FX Messina told city officials to take the property by eminent domain if the city did not plan to stop using the lot once the new municipal garage on the Hancock Lot opens in late 2019. He said the city would continue to need the lot over the next several years for parking, and would then sell it to a developer after that point.
“We believe that we are going to need that lot irrespective of what occurs for a variety of development needs we will have,” Geary said. “The old saying, ‘go into real estate because they’re not making any more of it,’ certainly applies in Quincy Center.”
Councillor Anne Mahoney said city officials should have had a backup plan knowing the lease for the Messina Lot was expiring in June.
“The city knew going into this that we had a potential problem…because we do not have a lease,” she said. “We went into this knowing in June that we did not have a lease.”
Geary said that was not a fair statement to make because the city began using the lot two years ago, with a lease for the land. He said the city was surprised by FX Messina’s decision to not renew the lease this year.
“It did come as a surprise, because up until that point in time we did not anticipate that they would have a change of heart,” Geary said.
Ward 1 Councillor David McCarthy said the city handled the closure of the Hancock Lot well and was optimistic the city could find an alternative to the Messina Lot if necessary.
“There will be other buildings that will come down, other lots that will open up in the area as pieces get moved around where parking will be available,” McCarthy said.
Geary said a full presentation on the effort to redevelop Quincy Center – including projects already underway and others forthcoming – would be made to the City Council early in 2019.
Governor Charlie Baker Monday announced the appointment of Jerry McDermott as Norfolk County Sheriff to serve out the remainder of former Sheriff Michael Bellotti’s term.
With over 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors ranging from a Boston city councillor to co-founder of a Substance Abuse Task Force, McDermott most recently served as chief of staff at the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM). His appointment as Norfolk County Sheriff is effective Dec. 24.
“Jerry McDermott has the leadership skills, experience and knowledge to serve as Norfolk County Sheriff,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With over three decades of service to communities across the Commonwealth, Jerry has focused on building partnerships with local and state agencies as a Boston city councillor and successfully co-founded the Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force leading initiatives to combat drug and alcohol abuse. I am confident that he will serve the people of Norfolk County with integrity.”
“Jerry McDermott’s professional accomplishments and commitment to the people of Norfolk County and the Commonwealth have prepared him well to serve as Sheriff,”said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I look forward to partnering with him to meet the needs of the cities and towns across Norfolk County.”
“I am honored that the Governor and Lieutenant Governor have put their trust in me to serve as Norfolk County sheriff,” said Jerry McDermott. “I’m looking forward to working with the professional law enforcement team, local officials and community leaders involved in the recovery community. There is a great deal of work to do in lowering the recidivism rate and enhancing initiatives focused on successful re-entry programs.”
Jerry McDermott has 30 years of experience in the public and private sector. He was named chief of staff at the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) in March of 2018. Prior to joining DCAMM, Jerry handled Community Relations & Economic Development for Eversource. He was the state director for former U. S Sen. Scott P. Brown. He also served as executive drector of the South Shore Habitat for Humanity. Before running the Habitat affiliate, Jerry served as a Boston city councillor from 2002-2008. As a councillor he ran the Committees on Ways & Means, Post Audit & Oversight and Historic Preservation. He also served as co-chair of the Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force, spearheading initiatives in the community to address drug and alcohol abuse though education, prevention and awareness such as a Youth Drug Summit, Boston’s first Teen Alcoholics Anonymous group and a Parent Drug Survey used to understand the community’s perspective of drug abuse.
During his time on Council, McDermott worked with colleagues to lead the development of the first sobriety high school and he fought against the overprescribing of OxyContin.
McDermott resides in Westwood with his two daughters.
By SCOTT JACKSON
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 firefighters was on hand Monday morning inside City Hall to watch Jack Cadegan be sworn in as Quincy’s new fire chief.
Cadegan, 63, has served with the Quincy Fire Department for 33 years including four years as a deputy chief. Cadegan replaces Joseph Barron, who served 10 years as chief prior to his retirement this July.
City Clerk Nicole Crispo swore-in the new chief during the ceremony, and Cadegan’s wife, Karen, pinned him with his new badge.
Mayor Thomas Koch said Cadegan has the right temperament to lead the department, which has an annual budget of $25 million and whose ranks include more than 200 firefighters, officers and civilian employees.
“I know the job of being a manager, being the chief, being the leader of the department is not an easy one. You try to balance all of the issues at hand, all the needs, all the requests, and I think Jack Cadegan has that ability,” Koch said. “He’s got the right temperament. He is a quiet leader but a very effective leader, and he obviously has the respect of the men in the department.”
By SCOTT JACKSON
Mayor Thomas Koch and two other Quincy officials were among those across the country who received bomb threats Thursday, though law enforcement believed the threats were not credible.
Koch, the mayor’s chief of staff, Chris Walker, and Director of Operations Helen Murphy each received a bomb threat Thursday via email, Walker said Friday.
“The mayor, myself and Helen Murphy received a spam email that a number of people across the country received,” Walker said.
Officials, he said, were able to quickly determine there was no serious threat because the message was generic in nature. Quincy police were called and performed a sweep of City Hall that turned up no threats.
“It was pretty easy to determine it was not serious, but you can never not take these things seriously,” Walker said.
City Hall was not evacuated after the officials received those threats because police were already aware of similar emails being sent out to businesses and others across the country at that point, Walker said.
Similar threats were reported nationwide, including cities such as New York, Washington, Chicago and San Francisco. Businesses and universities were among those who received the emails.
The emailed threats to Quincy officials came weeks after the city’s email system fell victim to the Emotet virus. Walker said the virus has largely been contained, but not fully.
“We’re not 100 percent out of the woods yet, but the number of infections is down 90 percent from its peak,” Walker said.
More than 4,000 events were logged on Nov. 30, he said. That number has fallen to 100 this week.
Walker said city officials continued to work to address the issue. In the interim, he said residents who receive a suspicious email from the city with an attachment labeled “invoice” should delete it.
“No resident would be receiving an invoice from the city,” Walker said. “They should not be opening them.”
Additionally, he said residents or anyone receiving an email purportedly from a city official should check the actual address from which the email was sent.
Ward 3 Councillor Ian Cain will host a community Tuesday night to discuss recent break-ins in the area.
Quincy police officials will be on hand for the meeting to answer residents’ questions and discuss the department’s response to the break-ins.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. inside gymnasium at the Wollaston Elementary School, 205 Beale St.