Former mayor, long-time City legislator and current Assistant City Clerk David Ragucci announced on Tuesday his intention to retire at the end of January, 2021, ending 42 years of service to City and state government and a full-circle ending serving the community he grew up in and continues to cherish.
Ragucci announced his retirement around noon on Tuesday and said he was grateful to have finished his career in Everett – where he spent so many years living and working and serving the community.
“I am retiring and it has been a pleasure working for the City of Everett,” he said. “The people that make this job a pleasure have been great. It was wonderful working for the community I was born and raised in and raised my own family in. It was more than a pleasure. The people that had their trust in me, I can’t thank them enough – the entire City Council, the mayor and the people of Everett. It’s been my honor and privilege. That may sound cliché, but it’s appropriate. I was able to end my career here where it began.”
Ragucci began his work in 1980 when he was hired by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a fraud investigator, and he worked at that job for 16 years. Simultaneously, in 1980, he was elected to his first term as the Ward 6 City Councilor in the old bi-cameral system. He did that for three terms, then moved up to the Board of Alderman for 12 years.
Then, for eight years, he served as mayor of the City during a time of great expansion. He served four, two-year terms as mayor, and ushered in several important projects.
Following that, he spent nine years as the Town Manager in Stoneham, and then a few years ago came back to Everett to serve as Assistant City Clerk under City Clerk Sergio Cornelio.
During his time as mayor, Ragucci was known as a hand-on mayor. Few could forget his time spent plowing the streets during more than a few blizzards – something chronicled on the news broadcasts. While such things may not have resounded with the unions, it was more than popular with the blue-collar residents of Everett at the time to see their mayor pitching in to lend a hand plowing the streets in an emergency situation.
“A lot of enemies were created during those times, but more friends I think,” he laughed.
He said on Tuesday he felt his crowning achievement as mayor was prevailing in the fight to locate Everett High School on the ledge at Glendale Park. He said it was a major political battle, and a lot had to be done, but as he drives by the school now, he said he is happy how it turned out.
“I had a tremendous fight in five years of my mayoral tenure on putting the high school in Glendale Park,” he said. “I find that to be quite a rewarding site when I drive by it. Many people didn’t think it would turn out this way. I like to think that was a crowning achievement of my administration. That was a fight by a lot of people for a long time.”
One of the hurdles to overcome was the order by the National Park Service to replace the parkland taken for the school. At that time, he said, the NPS was requiring a two-for-one swap – meaning that they planned to take five acres for the school and would need to come up with 10 new acres of parkland elsewhere.
“Never before and never again did the National Park Service require a replacement of two-for one,” he recalled. “To find 10 acres of land in Everett and it had to be contiguous, they were really putting the nails in our coffin. But we worked it out and ended up getting the GE parkland that is now a beautiful, beautiful open space for the City.”
He said it is heartening to see that all of the concerns from the neighbors about the school have, in time, been proven wrong – and the idea paid off very well.
Clerk Sergio Cornelio said Ragucci actually gave him his start in City government. He said few know it, but when he was 18, Ragucci hired him out of high school for the night watch at the Department of Public Works. That’s where he began his career, working for Ragucci, and now it has been interesting the last few years to have Ragucci working for him.
“He really gave me a good start,” said Cornelio. “To have him come back and work for me was a role reversal. It was nice and we made a good team. He brought a wealth of historical knowledge. He’s worked in government since 1980, so he was a big help to have here in the office. It will be sad to see him go, I’m happy for him because he deserves it after 42 years.”
Ragucci will continue to serve on the Redevelopment Authority Board, but his last day at the Clerk’s Office will be Jan. 28. He said he will stick around short-term to train his replacement in the role of Assistant City Clerk, but after that it will be a lot of rest and relaxation.
“Long-term, I see a lot of golf and a lot of beach in my life,” he said.