Former City Council President Rich Dell Isola will return to the Council perhaps as soon as next Monday to fill the vacancy now left by the resignation of Peter Napolitano – as is dictated by the City Charter.
Dell Isola, who was the last man out in the City Election in 2019, said he will take the seat and likely run again for it in the 2021 City Election.
“I’m going to go in like I left a year ago,” he said. “When I became president last year, I said we had to work as a team. I hope that can happen. Me, personally, I don’t see a team right now. We have to work together with the Mayor’s Office, the School Committee and everyone as one. I’m going in as a team player and whatever is good for the residents, that’s what I’ll do.”
He said he understands that there is what is likely to be a competitive City Election next year, and he’s ready to cast his hat in the ring as of now to run for re-election.
“As of now, I am going to run next year,” he said. “Being out for a year, you begin to look at politics differently. I want to have us working as a team.”
City Clerk Sergio Cornelio said the City Charter dictates the at-large Council replacement process, calling for the sixth-place finisher in the five-seat race to automatically take the seat if accepted.
The caveat is that the City Election cannot be less than 90 days away (which would be August 2021) and that the replacement candidate must have received at least 20 percent of the ballots cast. In this case, the City Election is nearly 11 months away, and Dell Isola received approximately 33 percent of the ballots cast in the 2019 election.
Cornelio said the Council would have to vote on the matter, but that is a formality as the Charter is specific in saying the 6th place finisher is automatically the new councilor on a vacancy.
“By his vote, he automatically gets it,” said Cornelio. “It goes to a vote of the Council, but the Charter says they ‘shall’ vote for that candidate. It is a formality vote really. He automatically receives it according to the Charter because he was 6th and had more than 20 percent of the ballots cast.”
The Council has 30 days to take the action of voting Dell Isola in and swearing him into office. Cornelio said they were contemplating taking that action on Monday, Dec. 14, but the agenda hadn’t yet been set.