NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

September 7, 2013

Debate forms over 'branding' of Newburyport

BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
STAFF WRITER

---- — NEWBURYPORT -- The City Council is scheduled to meet Monday at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, and one item on the agenda is Mayor Donna Holaday’s veto of a recent council order.

Holaday has vetoed a measure regarding the branding of the name “City of Newburyport.”

The action does not interfere with any municipal business. But it does indicate that the mayor is rejecting the marketing judgment of the majority of the City Council, which passed the measure 7-3.

Several weeks ago Councilor Bob Cronin proposed an order holding that “the City of Newburyport hereby refrain from allowing the use of the name ‘City of Newburyport’ or any similar expression, term or name that may represent or appear to represent City of Newburyport approval, endorsement or support to plans, events or organizations without the endorsement of the Newburyport City Council by majority vote.”

Cronin indicated that he was displeased that Union Studio, which works for the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, was using the city seal in some of its paperwork regarding a commercial proposal for the waterfront.

He indicated that this and other organizations should not use the municipal name without explicit approval.

Several councilors, including Ed Cameron and Barry Connell, stated that Cronin’s proposed order was too broad and perhaps unenforceable.

Voting against the proposal were Cameron, Connell and Allison Heartquist.

Favoring the measure were councilors Cronin, Greg Earls, Tom Jones, Ari Herzog, Steve Hutcheson, Tom O’Brien and Dick Sullivan Jr.. Councilor Brian Derrivan was absent.

Holaday’s veto indicates she has decided to quash the matter.

In a letter to councilors that will be read at the Monday night meeting of the council, she said, “First, it is overly broad. As written, it would appear to prevent the mayor or Planning Department from expressing a position regarding a plan or program submitted to those offices for consideration.

“As such, this order may intrude into the executive authority of the mayor and administration of the city.”

Holaday added, “Second, there is the issue of enforcement. The name of the city itself is in the public domain, and enforcement of the prohibition would be very difficult.”

Councilors are expected to discuss the issue at its upcoming meeting.

Also on the agenda is a request from city officials that the council accept a report to outlines a plan to create affordable housing opportunities.