Holyoke City Councilors to discuss travel policy

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke City Councilors are taking action concerning the mayor and his city-issued vehicle. At least one has already filed a motion that involves the city getting reimbursed for personal expenses.

Holyoke City Councilors are gearing up for their next meeting. One thing they’re sure to talk about is the latest controversy involving Mayor Alex Morse’s cousin, Nicholas Duclos, getting arrested for drunk driving while at the wheel of Morse’s city-issued car.

The issue raised a red flag among residents wondering why the mayor had the car at a bar in the first place.

“If it’s a city car and he’s using it for private purposes like going to a bar, I don’t see where that’s justified,” said Feeding Hills’ Richard White.

That’s why City Councilors Anthony Soto and Linda Vacon want to discuss the city’s policy on take-home vehicles and using it for personal reasons.

Vacon filed paperwork Wednesday proposing a rule that anyone with a take-home vehicle pay a weekly fee. “So whatever value they’re claiming on their income list as an earned benefit, would be what I see them at least reimbursing the city for because I’m not aware that we have it as a benefit,” Vacon said.

The spot where the mayor usually parks his city vehicle is empty today, that’s because he announced he’s voluntarily suspending use of the car while the city has a chance to look into the matter.

On Tuesday, Morse answered questions about the controversy explaining he pays taxes on it and the city’s policy allows him to drive the car for personal reasons.

He also stands by his word, his cousin took his keys without his permission. “I have nothing to hide, I want to let folks know that I’m being completely honest about the events that happened Friday night,” Morse said.

The City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss any policy changes surrounding the incident. Councilors have until Friday at noon to file an order for next weeks meeting.

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