Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker has been speaking out about how Lawrence laid off 23 firefighters due to budget cuts and, as a result, now has to rely on neighboring communities for help with fires more often.
Baker’s spokesman called me yesterday to see if I wanted to talk to Baker, so I had a brief phone interview with the candidate.
Here’s a summary:
Baker said Mayor William Lantigua, a Democrat, and Gov. Deval Patrick, also a Democrat, “have completely dropped the ball on the city and the citizens of Lawrence.” He said that in light of this past weekend’s back-to-back fires, his biggest concern is that communities who provided mutual aid may have second thoughts next time.
He repeated his call for a financial control board or a receiver to go into the city, although he said receivership is unlikely at this point.
If he was governor, Baker said he would “challenge every single assumption there is about how things work and how you get things done.”
“If in every single case you can squeeze a dollar of administration or overhead out of the city… do it,” he said. “Stop doing anything that’s discretionary and really get a focus on things that are fundamental to public safety or citizen safety.”
“The parameters would be to challenge everything.”