Flynn presses for new council vote on anti-terror funds

Council President Ed Flynn in a 2021 photo. WBUR/Jesse Costa photo

The Boston City Council held its final formal meeting of the year last Wednesday— but the body’s leader wants to reconvene next week to reconsider its earlier decision to refuse $13.3 million in federal aid for anti-terror measures in the city.

Mayor Wu filed an order to authorize the city to accept the money, but the council did not muster enough support to approve the funds. Wu’s authorization order failed in a 6-6 vote on Dec. 13.

On Thursday, Council President Ed Flynn appealed to Mayor Wu to re-issue the funding order to allow for another vote.

“I am now asking Mayor Wu to resubmit the necessary paperwork next week to the City Council for a formal vote to accept this funding,” Flynn said in a statement. “If city officials fail to exercise that option, I will call for an emergency City Council meeting for next week to discuss our options and to encourage my colleagues to vote to support this funding.”

Mayor Wu’s office, when asked for a response to Flynn’s request, said that the matter can wait for the new year and a newly-sworn-in council.

“In eleven days, Mayor Wu will swear in a new City Council with four new members,” a spokesperson told The Reporter in an email. “Rather than reopen a vote more than a week after the Council President adjourned the session for the term, the administration is preparing to welcome the next Council and move important items in the new session.

“As communicated to the Council President last week and again this morning, it is unfortunate that this important regional grant funding was not passed under this current Council, but we have been in contact with other municipalities and are confident that there will be no impact on operations or public safety if this grant is refiled and accepted in January.”

Mayor Wu, who supports the funding, said the money would assist “planning, exercises, trainings, and operational needs, that will help prevent, respond to and recover from threats or acts of terrorism, including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive incidents.”

Flynn said Thursday that he was “deeply disappointed that my City Council colleagues failed to provide the leadership necessary to protect our city and many cities and towns throughout Greater Boston,” said Flynn. “As a member of the U.S Navy, I have studied anti-terrorism issues in different regions across the globe. I understand how dangerous the world is and that Boston is not immune from a terrorist attack. As the launching site for the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the site of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, the people of Boston know all too well what’s at stake. Delaying or blocking this funding any further only puts our people at higher risk, and that is something that our City and Commonwealth cannot afford.”

Flynn, who will be replaced as council president in January when newly-elected councillors are sworn in, is not the only elected official seeking to revisit the federal funding matter.

The council’s decision prompted Sen. Nick Collins to filel legislation that would strip cities and towns of authority over certain federal grants — and shift that responsibility to the Legislature and governor. On Monday, Collins said that Boston shouldn’t get to make the call on behalf of the whole region.

“That just doesn’t affect the people of Boston— this grant was to support other municipalities, including Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, and Winthrop,” Collins said. “Many communities across this region over the weekend had to shut down synagogues because of bomb threats, the rise of anti-semitism. We were a launching pad for 9/11 here in Boston and we all remember too well the pain of the marathon bombings in 2013.”

City Councillors Ricardo Arroyo, Liz Breadon, Kendra Lara, Ruthzee Louijeune, Julia Mejia, and Brian Worrell voted against the order, according to meeting minutes. Councillors Frank Baker, Gabriela Coletta, Sharon Durkan, Michael Flaherty and Erin Murphy voted in favor, as did Council President Ed Flynn.

Councillor Tania Fernandes Anderson was absent and did not cast a vote.

On Thursday, Councillor Arroyo, who lost his district seat in the fall election and will not serve on the council next year, pushed back against Flynn's proposal to revisit the matter. In a post on X (Twitter), Arroyo wrote: "Rule 34 of the Council Rules you submitted and approved prohibits this. Take a break from politicizing and enjoy the holiday break with your family."

In response, Flynn posted: "I'm not going to give up on this issue."

Chris Lovett contributed to this report. State House News Service coverage contributed to this article.


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