NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 28, 2014

Holaday indicates readiness to sue

(Continued)

Holaday, trained as a lawyer, said she has confronted the problem on a step-by-step basis.

Her team has done independent tests on pipes and attachments, they’ve met with contractors and engineers and they’ve been enlisting the aid of state legal officials for many months.

Her team has put together 58,000 “pieces of documentation” in preparation for the day when the city might have to sue those who installed the system, she said.

On a positive note, City Hall officials last night said that contractors have permitted the statute of limitations to be extended, and the city is therefore able to build its case in a relatively deliberate manner.

But Holaday has not been willing to discuss the city’s legal strategy, which has been a source of discontent for some island residents.

David McFarland, a former city councilor (2002-2003) and a Plum Island resident, last night spoke during the “public comment” section and urged the mayor to refrain from executive sessions.

He said that permitting plans to be made outside of public scrutiny contributed to the poor planning and suspect workmanship that got the city into trouble in the first place.

But when the open meeting of the council ended, the mayor and city officials retreated to executive session — reportedly to discuss the legal strategy that is a key component to solving this complex problem.

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