The Worcester Regional Chamber of Corruption CEO's days are numbered so let's add up the numbers he scored for business.
In just about a week, Tim Murray will have been paid a total of $1 million dollars from The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce's shrinking coffers. That's hefty compensation for presiding over four years of mediocrity and failure. Word is that he's looking for his next soft landing after wearing out his welcome at the Chamber. The McGovern Crime Family arranged the Chamber gig four years ago following Murray's resignation in disgrace from the Lieutenant Governor's post. Corruption, arrogance, a car crash and dirty campaign money forced that move. Political connections and an insular executive board forced out the Chamber's previous CEO.
The jig is up for Murray. He never embraced the mission of a chamber of commerce. Instead, he turned it into a chamber of corruption. No one should be surprised that a man without business experience and a political closet filled with more skeletons than the Catacombs would fail. Murray never delivered new businesses to the Chamber's due paying ranks. Plus, his desire to run for office again caused him to steer clear (insert crash joke here) of anything that would tarnish his Democratic chops. Murray never leveraged his experience on the Worcester City Council to reduce the business killing gap in the residential and business property tax rates. Murray was also silent when the trade unions and their allies on the City Council held up a private project by demanding all union labor be used. In his defense, Murray did speak to The Telegram about the news that Berkshire Bank has purchased locally owned Commerce Bank.
Murray said, “From Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium to their support of area nonprofits and social service agencies to investing in our neighborhoods, the bank has been there again and again helping to enrich the lives of their and our neighbors, Mr. Murray said. “Berkshire Bank’s acquisition of Commerce Bank will likely result in more consumer options for businesses and individual customers alike. The Chamber will welcome them to the region and assist them with any transitional requests that they might make.”
That quote sounds like the comforting words of a funeral director to a grieving family. The fact is, another part of the Main Street business community has died. Berkshire is moving their entire operations and administrative offices to Boston. It's quite likely that the the only presence Commerce Bank will have on Main Street is a branch office. That means more empty office space.
The real tragedy here is what this all means for Worcester. Murray is not completely responsible for Worcester's non-renaissance. There are other McGovern Crime Family loyalists from the public and private sector who share the blame. Please allow me to present the sad facts.
Worcester has :
- Public schools that continue to be "perceived" as poor.
- Stagnating commercial and residential property values.
- Violent crime that is "perceived" to be significant.
- A dual tax rate, which penalizes commercial property owners paying $33.98/$1,000 of assessed value as compared to residential property owners paying $20.61/$1,000 all of which contributes to the lack of private investment, unless the private investor receives a TIF plan.
- A risky, expensive and incomplete Downtown Revitalization Plan which could contribute to a significant increase in taxes if bonds are issued to fund takings by eminent domain after owners ignore requests to improve their properties.
- Leadership which has no vision, much less competence.
All this has contributed to the following:
- A lack of private investment.
- No true economic growth as measured by people or businesses (other than restaurants) moving to Worcester.
- A 40% industrial and commercial property vacancy rate.
- A ½-occupied 446 Main Street – Worcester’s only class A office space.
- 26 empty storefronts on Main Street, mostly on the north side of the street between City Hall and the Old Courthouse.
- An empty Old Courthouse.
- A useless Auditorium.
- Parcels being taken of the tax rolls due to the acquisition by non-profits, thereby exacerbating the burden of commercial and residential taxpayers to fund the Worcester budget.
- Huge undeveloped land parcels such as the old Wyman Gordon site, the old Diamond Chevrolet and Harrington Richardson sites on Park Avenue, and the old Worcester Bus Depot.
- No non-food retail moving into City Square.
- No food-retail moving into City Square (The Sole Proprietor turned down the opportunity to relocate).
- No food- or non-food retail that has located near the recently renovated Voke Lofts.
- Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Total Wine and other stores that locate in Shrewsbury, just over the Worcester city limits on Route 9.
- GE Life Sciences, Whole Foods northeast corporate headquarters, among others, that locate to Marlborough.
- No non-food retail moving anywhere in to Worcester.
- A Chamber of Commerce that is failing. (See above.)
- No restaurant that has located near the Hanover Theater.
- Taxes that have gone up by the maximum each year to fund a City budget that also goes up by the maximum.
- The high probability that there will be hundreds of market rate apartments that are vacant in the City Square project.
In closing, allow me to remind readers that I love the City of Worcester and I believe in her. Unfortunately, you should always be truthful with your loved ones.