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A majority of the Cambridge City Council voted last week to fire City Manager James L. Sullivan, but the fight over the removal of the manager appears to be only beginning.
The vote to fire Sullivan came in a tumultuous council session, during which some 500 supporters of the manager argued repeatedly with the five councillors opposing him.
The manager will remain in office until this Thursday when he will receive the public hearing required by law to complete his removal.
After that hearing, an organization of supporters of the manager is planning to collect signatures on a petition to put the manager issue to the city's voters at a special election.
Those opposing the firing include President Pusey and M. I. T. President Howard W. Johnson, who together sent a telegram to all nine councillors asking them to retain Sullivan. "Now, as never before, we need stability and continuity in the administrative branch of city government," it said.
The council has not yet named a suc-
cessor to Sullivan, but there is considerable speculation that Assistant City Manager John Corcoran may serve in the post, at least on a temporary basis.
Sullivan has been city manager for nearly two years. He is the third manager in slightly over four years to be fired by the council.
Under Cambridge's Plan E charter, the council is supposed to set general policy guidelines for the city government, while the city manager runs the government on a day-to-day basis.
The recent firings of city managers have been largely the result of shifts in the balance of power among various coalitions of councillors. This time, however, the firing is taking on a more ideological tone.
In a statement issued before the council voted to five him. Sullivan charged that his support of "citizens" participation" in local government led to his removal: "The real issue is whether or not the members of this City Council truly represent the interests of the citizens of Cambridge or their own self interests."
"The days of rule from a chamber in City Hall are over, for the people are, will, and must be involved in those decisions which affect their everyday lives," Sullivan said.
The manager's statement was greeted with a standing ovation by the spectators present at the session, who were overwhelmingly in favor of the manager.
The spectators led by a group called SOC'M (Save Our City Manager)-carried signs reading "Keep Tammany Hall Out of Cambridge," and "Professionalism Not Politics." During the evening, several spectators shouted at anti-Sullivan councillors, who replied in kind.
The council majority which voted against the manager has not yet given Sullivan a list of reasons for his firing, but is expected to do so before Thursday's hearing.
The five councillors who voted to fire Sullivan are: Daniel J Chlinton. Thomas Coates. Edward A. Crane '35, Thomas W. Danehy, and Mayor Alfred E. Vellueci. Though he has publicly denied it. Crane is believed to be the moving force behind the anti-Sullivan coalition.
For 14 years, Crane was the informal leader of the council and a close advisor to City Manager James J. Curry '19, until Curry was fired by the council in January 1966. The anti-Curry move touched off the series of coups and counter-coups centering around the managership which have been the meat of Cambridge politics since then.
If it is successfully completed, the firing of Sullivan will probably represent a political comeback for Crane.
The members of SOC'M are now planning to attempt to gain the approximately 3500 signatures of Cambridge voters needed to put the firing onto the ballot. Yesterday, Michael J. Amato, president of the group, said he felt the effort would be successful. "I'm sure we'll get at least that many signatures. We'll try to get a lot more," he said.
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