5/5/2020 0 Comments
Councilor Flaherty filed hearing orders on third party delivery fees, online city services, nursing home regulations, and access to grief counseling.
BOSTON, MA - Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty filed four hearing orders relating to the City’s COVID-19 response during the April 29th Boston City Council Meeting. Councilor Flaherty said “The four hearing orders demonstrate the variety of ways COVID-19 is impacting our city. From economic impacts on our small businesses and residents to equal, safe access to city services for all Bostonians, protections for our most vulnerable populations, and easy access to grief counseling for those who have lost loved ones to this terrible virus, this pandemic is impacting every aspect of our lives. My hope is that, through the four hearings, we are able to provide residents with trusted sources of information, make meaningful progress towards solutions for some of these issues, and, ultimately, make life just a little easier for our residents in these trying times.”
The hearing orders are as follows:
Councilor Flaherty filed the delivery commission fee hearing order alongside District 2 City Councilor Ed Flynn and District 6 City Councilor Matt O’Malley. This hearing will determine if the City of Boston should enact a cap on the commission fees charged by these delivery companies.
“Regulating delivery fees was already a topic of discussion among many in the restaurant industry prior to COVID-19, but, as with many things, this pandemic has added an increased sense of urgency to our action on this matter,” said Councilor Flaherty. “I recognize that these delivery services have bills of their own to pay, but to this point, their practices feel exploitative. My hope is that the stakeholders can come to a solution that is economically viable for the restaurants, delivery companies, and consumers independent of a hearing, but nonetheless look forward to working on the issue and if necessary, a productive hearing on the matter.
The hearing order for online city services was filed alongside fellow At-Large City Councilor Michelle Wu. This hearing would help take stock of what city services are already available online and importantly, determine what additional steps can be taken to expand the range of accessible online city services. Moving city services online will help remove existing barriers to and modernize them, as well as ensure that the proper balance is struck between ensuring the safety of City employees and residents post COVID-19.
Councilor Flaherty said, “Much like the delivery fees hearing order, this is another topic that was being discussed prior to the pandemic. The city has already done an admirable job in moving many services online to protect frontline workers, but I believe more can be done, and that these changes will benefit the city in the long-run by making our services more accessible to those who need them well after COVID-19.”
The hearing orders regarding nursing home safety protocols and access to grief counseling are both sponsored solely by Councilor Flaherty.
“Unfortunately, nursing homes, senior and assisted living facilities have been hotspots for this deadly virus across the country and here in the Commonwealth,” said Councilor Flaherty. “While there have been exceptions, far too many of these facilities have released limited information about both the internal steps they are taking to combat the spread of the virus among their vulnerable guests, and the statistics of how the virus is spreading. My hope is that this hearing can simply serve as another trusted source of information and an outlet for people to receive information about the best practices of these facilities.”
“It goes without saying that this pandemic has uprooted every aspect of our lives, including traditional end of life family moments, ceremonies, and grieving processes. I recently lost a loved one and can speak to how different and difficult the grieving process can be during this time when you can’t say I love you, goodbye, and properly mourn your loved one. While everyone is working quickly to meet needs of our residents, I want to ensure that as a City, and an employer, we have a discussion to ensure that grief counseling services are widely available to those that lost loved ones during this time,” Councilor Flaherty said regarding the Grief Counseling hearing order.
These hearings are yet to be scheduled. Once a date has been announced this office will share the date, time, and instructions for viewing and public participation.