On the City Council agenda Monday, February 10, were 15 appointments by the mayor to a number of City boards and commissions, most of which were reappointments. Council voted to confirm all of the appointments, but not before a lengthy debate over whether they met the residency requirements of their positions.
When it came time to vote on the appointments, Councilor Michael McLaughlin said that he was unsure that all appointees met the residency requirement. Members of boards and commissions have to either live in Everett or own property in Everett. The councilor said he had doubts about two names in particular.
Councilor McLaughlin emphasized that he did not have any concerns about the performance of the two appointees, and that in fact they were close, personal friends of his. Rather, he wanted to ensure that all appointees were held to the same standards. He later told the Independent that if the Council were to confirm someone who did not meet the residency requirement, anyone who was previously not confirmed for that reason could claim discrimination.
The councilor motioned to table all 15 appointments until a list of residences could be provided, a motion that ultimately failed. He then motioned to table only the two names about which he had doubts, a measure that again failed.
“We’re up here to make decisions,” said Councilor Peter Napolitano. “Don’t hold up the meeting indefinitely over minutiae.”
Council did come to the agreement that in the future all appointments should be accompanied by proof of residency in a private memo to Council prior to the vote.
“I hope this is the last time we will not have the residency information before us,” said Councilor McLaughlin. “We cannot have this happen again. It’s an embarrassment to our body.”
But Councilor McLaughlin was not the only elected official with concerns about the names to be confirmed.
Councilor Gerly Adrien expressed that she had contacted the City Solicitor’s Office and the Mayor’s Office about the list of appointments, requesting additional information on those named. Independent confirmed that she had reached out to them via email on Thursday, February 6, for that information.
“I wanted to see their résumés and letters of interest for their reappointment. I haven’t gotten those,” she said. “I’m not comfortable voting on people until we have the information in front of us. We are appointing people for two to three years and we don’t have the accurate information.”
Councilor Adrien said, residency concerns aside, she didn’t feel she could confirm appointees whose qualifications she was unfamiliar with.
“If you don’t know them, you can take my word for it that they’re good people,” said Councilor John Hanlon. “It feels like we’re insulting them.”
“I know most of the names and they’re all good people,” said Councilor Fred Capone.
“I’ve known most of the people [listed] here for over 20 years,” said Councilor Michael Marchese. “I won’t make an issue and insult them.”
Unsatisfied with the responses from her colleagues, Councilor Adrien recused herself from voting on the appointments.
Council confirmed the appointments of William Hart and Giuseppe Tozzi to the Board of Assessors; Carmine DeMaria, Ian Laliberte, Joseph LaMonica Sr. and Richard Zullo to the DPW Commission; John Barrett, Robert Norton and Dominic Puleo to the Housing Authority Board; Brian McCarthy to the Election Commission; Phil Mastracola and Michael O’Connor to the Planning Board; Phil Antonelli to the Licensing Commission; Aimee Farrell to the Disability Commission; and Kim Ferrante to the Library Board of Trustees.