Gardner Government Watch

January 24, 2022

Official Seal of the City of Gardner, MA
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About Contributing Journalist Scott J. Graves in his own words

Scott J. Graves, Esq., B.S. Biology, M.S. Pharmacology, J.D. Law – Father, Born-and-Bred Gardnerien-American, Gardner Native of Acadien Heritage, Gardner High School Class of 1982, Gardner Citizen-Voter, Gardner Homeowner/Taxpayer, 30-year Gardner Business Owner, 30-year Gardner Lawyer, former 16-year Gardner City Councillor, former Gardner City Council President, and former Gardner City Solicitor and Head of the City of Gardner Law Department.

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“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”


The City Council held its second Meeting of the year on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

As was the case with its first Meeting, there was very little official action required of the City Council.

The City Council unanimously approved the Golf Course Commission’s decision to spend $200,000 of its “own” money.

The Gardner Golf Course idea was established in 1933 – on land of the Wilder Farm, originally operated by William Wilder (and before that Joseph Bacon). The Golf Course opened in 1936.

The Golf Course operates within its own “Enterprise Fund.”

A City Enterprise Fund is a separate accounting and financial reporting arrangement.  The revenues and expenditures of that one “city entity,” like the Golf Course, are kept separate from the City’s general budget fund (the City’s Treasury). 

So, when the Enterprise Fund spends money, it doesn’t come from the City Treasury, it comes from the revenue (fees) collected from the Enterprise Fund, and kept within that Fund.

One member of the Golf Course Commission is also a City Councillor – Alek Dernalowicz. He abstained from voting. We have asked why he abstained. Councillor Dernalowicz has not responded.

The Golf Course reported that it has a net balance of money to spend.  It has $373,749 to spend. So, it is buying not one or two, but five (5) new lawn mowers that cost $62,000, $45,000, $29,000, $11,000, and $53,000.

The Golf Course also spent $8,450 on renovations to a restaurant located in the Wilder Farmhouse (called the “clubhouse”).

The Golf Course’s annual expenses are $839,162. So, it appears as if the Golf Course is doing very well in the age of COVID lock-downs. We do not know what the City’s mask mandate is going to do to the golfers handicaps this season, or whether that might affect the Golf Course’s revenue (it being expected that some players may not want to golf with a mask on).

The only other official legislating that the City Council did was to refer the Mayor’s choice for Assistant City Solicitor, Ethan Kolodny, to the newly-established “Appointments Committee.” So, when the Appointments Committee meets, that one appointment will be its only matter for business. We’ll be sure to report on that Meeting when it takes place as that Committee’s maiden voyage.

Ethan Kolodny works as a private lawyer for the City Solicitor’s (John Flick’s) private law business. Both Flick and Kolodny work at Flick’s private law business, and, at the same time, serve as the Citizens’ public lawyers.  The Kolodny appointment is a re-appointment.  His confirmation will later come back to the full City Council for a vote.

The only other City Council action was ceremonial.  

The Mayor was given the City Council stage to make a series of Executive Branch/Nicholson Administration announcements, as follows:

The Mayor said that he appointed John Flick as City Solicitor (no action was required by the City Council);

The Mayor also appointed Rachel Roberts as his Executive Secretary (no action was required by the City Council);

The Mayor announced that the City has two new Firefighters on the City’s Firefighter Force: Jamie Henderson and Christopher Dauphinais (no action was required by the City Council).

The Mayor made a series of speeches that had nothing to do with the City Council – and were general city matters.  These included that the Engineering Dept. was given an award for its GIS (Geographic Information Systems) interactive map – which can be accessed on the City’s website under the GIS Department (part of the Engineering-Survey Dept.).

The Mayor also announced that there are eighteen (18) Army National Guard soldiers assigned to Henry Heywood Hospital – a non-public hospital located in Gardner, and not operated by the City of Gardner.  The Hospital is short-staffed, but the Mayor did not say why.  This is the second-highest National Guard presence in the Commonwealth. We have reached out to the Mayor for comment about why the Hospital is “short-staffed,” which is a direct quote of the Mayor. We will report accordingly if he responds.

No City Councillor brought forward new City Council business.


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