The City Council voted former Councilor Peter Napolitano as the new assistant city clerk last week in a solid 10-0 vote that one councilor said was just another back room deal.
“I’ve been involved in the City all my life,” said Napolitano. “By being a former councilor, I have the benefit of being able to hit the ground running because of my knowledge of City Hall and its operations. Choosing me is a decision you will not regret.”
The Council met on Wednesday evening, Jan. 13, to take the final vote on the matter after Councilor Anthony DiPierro ran a marathon, nine-hour, executive session (private) meeting on Saturday, Jan. 9, to sift through more than 31 applicants for the job, interviewing 19 on Zoom. In the end, two showed up for the final vote, Everett resident Colleen O’Neill and former Councilor Napolitano. Four applicants had been referred to the Council for the Jan. 13 meeting by the Legislative Affairs Committee, but two withdrew on the day of the vote, Jan. 13.
Napolitano, in the end, received a solid 10 votes of 11 members, mostly due to the fact he was familiar with the legislative process and City Hall – and wouldn’t need as much training. That said, several members had hoped there would be a longer process with more final applicants, and Councilor Gerly Adrien called the process a “sham” and thus did not show up for the meeting or the vote.
“I think it’s great that 31 of our residents have applied for this position and want to work for our City,” said Councilor Richard Dell Isola. “I wish we could hire both of these candidates.”
Said Councilor Michael McLaughlin, “For me, it won’t be a personal decision. We have to think about who we work for and that’s the taxpayers of Everett. We have one applicant that will hit the ground running on day one and we need that now due to the times we’re in.”
Councilor Adrien did not attend the meeting, and characterized the process as another back room deal. She said the deal had been in the works since last summer, and pointed to the fact that Napolitano resigned the day that the former assistant city clerk, David Ragucci, announced his retirement.
“I find this whole process very disturbing,” she said, noting she did not attend the meeting or vote on the matter. “It was not fair and open to everyone. This was truly a scam on the Everett residents and all who applied for the position. Leading this City starts at City Hall and ends with the administration at City Hall. I am sick and tired of seeing the lack of transparency and all these backroom deals still happening in our city. When will it be enough?”
Councilor Fred Capone also had concerns with the process, but he did confidently cast his vote for Napolitano in the end.
“I thought there should have been a more thoughtful process,” he said. “The meeting (on Jan. 9) did go much smoother than I anticipated. We had a lot of qualified people. I did think more individuals should have been referred out of the Committee and before the full Council, but four applicants were chosen to go forward. Two have withdrawn and we had two very qualified individuals in front of us. Both can do the job…, but I feel this whole process should have been more thorough and thoughtful.”
Councilor Jimmy Tri Le said he felt the final two candidates were great choices, but in the end felt Napolitano would get up to speed faster than O’Neill.
“Not to discount Colleen or anything, but for me I will have to go with Napolitano because he’s been in government and would hit the ground running and would require minimal training,” he said. “Had it been two candidates coming in fresh, given her experience, I would have definitely gone with Colleen. It’s nothing personal though.”
Councilor Rosa DiFlorio said both candidates were very qualified, and despite voting for Napolitano, she requested that the City keep O’Neill’s resume on file for any future positions.
O’Neill graduated from Everett High School and achieved her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Salem State in Criminal Justice. She worked for the Department of Homeland Security in transportation security, and then left for five years to start a family. She eventually caught on at SkyZone in Everett and has risen up to work in the franchise headquarters in Somerville since 2017. There, she reports to the chief operations officer and has been in charge of securing permits from cities and towns, among other things.
“I am from Everett and decided to raise my children here,” she said. “I would love to be employed with the City in some fashion.”
Napolitano is graduated from Everett High in 1976 and was in the Navy for eight years as an avionics technician and a military police officer. He also has owned a retail business in Everett Square for some time. He began his political career on the Common Council in 2000 and continued there under a platform of reforming the City Charter. He had served as a Councilor-at-large until resigning in December.
He begins as assistant city clerk this week, and will be training under Ragucci.