City Manager Jay Ash was a proponent of casino gambling, a forum participant in East Boston last week where more than 300 people turned out to debate the expanded gambling agenda the state has embarked upon.
As a proponent, Ash was his regular self – articulate, informed, hopeful and altogether right on the mark.
Even those who expressed an opposite view were largely taken into his affirmative stance on casino gambling after listening to him.
Overall, his performance as a proponent, and as the leader of this city, put Ash and Chelsea in a positive light.
The expanded gambling/casino opponents at the forum were dreary and inexperienced at dealing with the public by comparison with Ash.
At one point, a woman opposed to casino gambling in East Boston at Suffolk Downs shouted at Ash.
“If you think casinos are such a good thing, why don’t you recommend it for your own city?” she said in a loud clear voice.
“If Chelsea had the room for a casino I would welcome it. It would be welcome,” Ash responded.
That quieted down the woman.
Ash also related a story about a meeting ten years ago with a businessman who wanted to park approximately 10,000 trucks on the Suffolk Downs property.
“No one wants to see that,” Ash told the crowd in East Boston last week.
“You may be against a casino at Suffolk Downs. But a casino there might be the only way to realize the infrastructure changes you want to see made to roads to lessen traffic in your neighborhood,” Ash added.
Ash was unflappable and informed, quite brilliant really in handling the most difficult of questioners.
What the good people in East Boston learned watching Ash in action is that he is a very sharp municipal leader who understands exquisitely the imperatives of development and the nuance of making new business happen.
Obviously, one look around our own community reveals the leadership qualities of our guy at city hall.
After all these years, Ash remains pristine in his management style, inclusive when it comes to the competing constituencies all looking for a leg in, and absolutely honest.
Jay Ash can’t be bought. His judgment is almost unchallenged in matters big and small.
What he showed to the people of East Boston last week at a forum on casino gambling, is what he shows us everyday here in Chelsea.
He listens. He thinks and then he acts appropriately … at all times with everyone who comes his way.
Such are the qualities of our city manager.