County probes Center Market payments

By Dave Ryan

Dorchester Banner

CAMBRIDGE – Local government purchases from Center Market are under review following a 3-2 vote at the County Council’s Jan. 8 meeting.
Vice President Jay Newcomb (District 1) moved to pay bills, except for those from the market, which he wanted to “put on hold” until prices can be compared to what other businesses charge. Former council president and current member from District 3 Ricky Travers belongs to the family that owns and operates Center Market.
“I think departments have been told they have to buy from Center Market,” Mr. Newcomb said during the meeting, adding that he has received complaints from constituents on the issue. “I think everything should be above board.”
Mr. Travers refuted the allegation, saying, “There has been no discussion by myself or anyone else” requiring purchases from the Race Street store. He also noted that the county has dealt with the market for many years.
Council member Lenny Pfeffer (District 4) said payment should be made for service rendered and goods already received. “We do have to pay the bills,” he said.
As it became clear there would be a divided vote, Council President William Nichols (District 2) said quietly, “I deserve big bucks.”
He asked Mr. Travers if a delay of “a couple of days” while prices were checked would make a difference. Mr. Travers did not speak, but shook his head no.
The motion to put a hold on payment to Center Market and check prices charged to the county passed 3-2. Council members Newcomb, Nichols and Libby Nagel (District 5) were in favor. Members Travers and Pfeffer were opposed.

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