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Council Votes to Change Control Over Task Force

The Cambridge City Council in a special meeting last night voted to place the Harvard Square Task Force under the joint control of the mayor and city manager.

The council voted to increase the size of the task force from 25 to 35 people with the additional members to be appointed jointly by Mayor Walter J. Sullivan and City Manager James L. Sullivan.

The vote reversed action taken Monday night by the council when it placed task force appointments under the jurisdiction of the mayor, instead of the city manager. The task force had been criticized by members of the council for opposing the Kennedy Library.

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Councilor Alfred E. Vellucci, who sponsored the task force proposal, said the change would ensure that decisions on Harvard Square planning "would not be left to a handful of people with an axe to grind or a personal interest in development."

The amendment raises the question of whether or not Harvard Square belongs to the people who live there. Councilor Barbara Ackermann said.

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"When things happen in Porter Square, only the residents care," Ackermann said, "but with Harvard Square, everyone seems to be involved," She said she "did not vote no" on the proposal.

The council tabled a resolution reaffirming its invitation to officials of the Kennedy Library to build the library complex in Cambridge citing a lack of time to discuss it at last night's meeting and that the decision was not theirs to make.

The council did ask the mayor and city manager to arrange a meeting of the council with officials of the library.

City Manager Sullivan sent a letter Monday to Stephen Smith, president of the Kennedy Library Corporation, asking Smith to meet with him on the library. Sullivan said after the council meeting.

Vellucci said he was unaware of the contents of Sullivan's letter, but added that he wanted a meeting of the full council with library officials.

Smith was in Amherst yesterday, in specting sites for the Kennedy Library offered by the University of Massachusetts.

Smith looked at three sites, calling two of them "spectacular," and rejecting the third because of possible complications with the town of Amherst.

UMass President Robert F. Wood said the university is only interested in the library if it includes both the presidential archives and the museum.

The library corporation is still considering locating the archives in Cambridge, Smith said. A decision is expected in three or four months, he added.

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