Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The strange case of Mark Moquin

Mr. Moquin was up for re-appointment to the Newburyport Housing Authority. He apparently ran afoul of someone in City Hall in between the writing of the letter to the City Council requesting re-appointment, and last night.

Ward 1 Councillor Allison Heartquist first requested that the appointment be heard in one reading, which requires suspension of the Council's rules, and then stood up and made some vague references to "inappropriate actions" and emails denouncing un-named persons in City Hall.

I guess emails denouncing someone are "inappropriate actions" - you know, unless there was some basis for it. I'm not saying there were not inappropriate actions; I just want to know what they were!

I wrote down that Heartquist said he was disrespectful of the mayor and the mayor's staff. She read from a prepared statement that had been folded up into a neat tidy, and very small, rectangle.

Then Ward 5 Councillor Brian Derrivan got up and echoed Heartquist's sentiments, adding something about criticizing siblings (I can only speculate that this had something to do with the re-appointment of one Jane Bagley Holaday to the Commission on Disability).

It reminded me of the time - was it 2 years ago? - that Building Inspector Gary Calderwood's appointment was up for discussion before the Council, and Mayor Holaday (then an at-large councillor) suggested the council put off voting on the appointment until they could hear Calderwood's rebuttal to the criticisms leveled at him.

The Council, if I am remembering correctly, ignored Holaday's suggestion and approved the appointment. I mean, obviously they did re-appoint Calderwood.

It was all very bizarre, given that Moquin was there at the meeting, as was Calderwood when he was up for re-appointment.

Moquin was an honoree at a YWCA breakfast in March.

Only Barry Connell (At-large) voted in favor of the re-appointment, with Council President Tom O'Brien and Greg Earls (Ward 2) excusing themselves from the discussion/vote.


Manager said...

I guess you have to be careful who you piss off at city hall, eh?

Tom Salemi said...

I don't know any of the particulars, but that was one odd piece of council business.

Ari Herzog said...

I respect your desire to know the truth.

I wasn't present when everything went down, but apparently Mr. Moquin used slang insults to the faces of three city officials, including Councilor Heartquist, who stood near each other at a recent Invitation Night venue.

It's not my place to share those words or name the other people. You can ask the ward 1 councilor.

Gillian Swart said...

Ari, it's not only my desire, I think it's that word (I hate it) - transparency.

And there's that old word, consistency.

Gillian Swart said...

By the way, I in no way object to the mayor withdrawing an appointment if she (or he) found an appointee to reflect badly on the city. It's her appointment.

But Ari ... gee, I hardly know what to say. You are an elected official. You voted on a motion and now you're referring me to someone else to justify YOUR vote?

Anonymous said...

Moquin's case proves that the city is more interested in appearances than actual performance. I challenge any of the sitting councilors to testify under oath that they've never used similar language when describing other city employees.

- The Carrot

P.S. Further evidence that Ari will be a one-and-done elected official.

Ari Herzog said...


For me to repeat the words he used and how he used them would put me in the same camp as he. I refuse to do that.

Gillian Swart said...

So you DO know the words that he used?

Ari Herzog said...

Yes, I know what he said in verbatim. On more than one occasion, I'll add.

Joe said...

I'm new in town... is this normal!?

ECC said...

Is what normal?

An inquisitive Gillian grilling a cryptic Ari?


Gillian Swart said...

Well, I was just wondering why, if all the Council knew what was said, why they didn't just all vote "no" (or "yes," as the case may be) and leave it at that.

Anonymous said...


No, this is not normal.

Sometimes it's worse, but it all depends on how the Mayor's bitches are feeling that day.

- The Carrot

Gillian Swart said...

OK, so now we have Moquin's side of things


and I'm not sure the word "bitch" used in that context is that vile that it could not be repeated, or printed in the paper!

Certainly it was not appropriate, unless he and Drew had a previous jocular relationship, like some of us on here enjoy. That does not seem to be the case, however.

I won't comment on the Ward 1 councillor asking him to clear the bottles ... lol.

Gillian Swart said...

BTW, I called one of my Facebook friends "bitch" the other day, and she replied, "That's biatch to you!" My sisters and I have called each other "beeech" for years ... but again, that's all in fun. Fun, fun, fun.

Ari Herzog said...

I'm curious why Mr. Moquin's recollection is partially true and partially missing. As I commented above, at that Invitation Night party, he was verbally abusive to three City Hall officials including Councilor Heartquist.

The b*tch word was used to describe one person; a worse word was used to describe the other. I won't repeat it here.