By Seth Daniel
City leaders and School Committee members are mourning the loss of School Committee Vice Chair Robert “Bobby” Carreiro – a man with a great sense of humor and who wore many hats in government and private industry.
Carreiro passed on Sunday, Oct. 1, after a long illness.
Carreiro was currently the vice chair of the School Committee and had served on that body for 14 years. However, that was far from the end to his contribution to Everett or to Massachusetts.
Supt. Fred Foresteire said he began his career as a Special Education teacher in the Everett Public Schools in the 1970s, a post he held for 17 years. During that time, he was the president of the Everett Teacher’s Association (ETA).
From there, he entered private enterprise in operating restaurants in Cambridge and Malden for many years.
He transitioned from the private sector to work on litigation matters at the state Department of Housing and Community Development. He finished his professional career as the director of the Everett Housing Authority, where he retired one year ago.
He learned of his illness in January.
“He fought his illness all the way,” said Foresteire this week. “Number one, he was everyone’s friend. He was very capable working with the School Committee and the different goings on within the community. He was a good man and a friend.”
Foresteire, like man, recalled his exceptional career – often being able to work on both sides of the coin.
“He was the Everett Teachers Association rep for many years, negotiating contracts for them, and then turned around later and became a member of the School Committee and the chair of the School Committee,” he said. “He did the whole gamut. He was the type of guy who could be on both sides.”
Foresteire added that a good word to describe Carreiro was that of a “peacemaker.”
On the School Committee, Monday night members didn’t speak much about the death of their colleague, but they did honor him by leaving his chair empty while they gathered around it for a moment of silence.
School Committeeman Frank Parker recalled the great sense of humor Carreiro had, and said his first experience with him was during college. Parker said he had to interview a union leader for a college class years ago, and he chose Carreiro – who was the president of the ETA.
“Bobby had about 16 different jobs and he did do everything,” he said. “Whatever he tried, he could be successful at. Even though he had about 68 jobs, he was always the special education teacher. I think that was the cornerstone of his life. I’ll cherish my time with him and he will be sorely missed.”
Parker and his colleagues remembered seeing Carreiro around Homecoming this year driving a Mercedes in the Parade. At the time, Parker said he looked very good, but his illness caught up to him very quickly.
Parker said the School Committee will remember him as a man with a sense of humor, who kept things light-hearted, but was also able to accomplish the difficult business.
The School Committee will likely not appoint anyone to the vice chair post for the remainder of the term, which ends in December, as a nod of respect to Carreiro.
On the Council, Council President Anthony DiPierro said Carreiro was one of his first supporters during his initial campaign two years ago – and the two were very close going back to DiPierro’s teen-age years.
“Bob was a dear friend and he will be missed,” he said. “When I decided to run for City Council, he was one of the first public officials to endorse me and to give me a donation. His whole career was very impressive. He was one of the first to get the ETA really established…He left his mark in every profession he pursued. He always committed himself and always gave it his all.”
His wake will take place on Thursday at Cafasso & Sons from 4-8 p.m. A funeral Mass will take place at 10 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Everett.
City leaders are still in the mourning process and remembering School Committeeman Bob Carreiro this week, but the wheels of the City Charter are already turning.
Replacing a member who has passed away while in office has a very prescribed process, according to the Charter.
Council President Anthony DiPierro and School Committee members will have to call a joint meeting of the two bodies within 30 days of the vacancy. From there, they will have to consider nominations and then vote jointly to appoint one nominee to fill the term until it ends in December.
One unique situation that exists now is that there is no one running that will be able to take office in January for Carreiro’s seat. Because of that, the Council and Committee will have to convene again in January to take nominations and appoint someone to fill the entire two-year term.
It could be the same person appointed within the next 30 days or another new person.