Despite the COVID-19 Omicron surge, Everett’s elected officials were able to take the oath of office in a live venue during the City’s Inauguration Ceremonies that were held on Monday night at the Performing Arts Center at Everett High School.
Assistant City Clerk Peter Napolitano administered the oath of office to Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the members of the City Council and School Committee.
The elected officials were preceded on the stage by the Firefighters and Police Honor Guard, while the Everett High School Band played the anthems of the United States Military Services before a much-smaller than usual audience.
Caroline DeMaria, daughter of Mayor DeMaria, led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Father Joseph Chacha Marwa of the Immaculate Conception Parish delivered the invocation.
With the oaths administered to the elected officials, Napolitano announced that because of the COVID surge, DeMaria will deliver his inaugural address at a later date. The speech will be able to be viewed on social media, ECTV, and the City of Everett’s website. (The full text of the speech appears on page 5 of this week’s Independent.)
Bishop Robert Brown of Zion Church Ministries delivered the closing Benediction.
The reception that usually follows this event also was canceled in compliance with COVID protocols.
However, despite the shortened ceremonies, the program adhered to one of the official duties of the mayor to dismiss both the School Committee and the City Council to organize and elect the President of the Council and the Chairman of the School Committee for the coming year.
Hanlon Elected President
City Councilor at Large John Hanlon was elected president by his colleagues to lead the new council in 2022. Hanlon is viewed by his colleagues and residents as one of the most-experienced members of elected government, having served for more than four decades in various capacities, including 22 years as a member of the old Board of Aldermen and present City Council, 18 years as the City Clerk, and two years as mayor. Hanlon also served on the Charter Commission.
Cristiano Leads School Committee
Newly-elected Ward 3 School Committee member Jeanne Cristiano was voted by her colleagues as chairperson of the Everett School Committee. Cristiano is no stranger to Everett political office, having served on the Common Council for Ward 2 more than 30 years ago.
Calling her “a true friend,” DeMaria credited Cristiano for giving him his start in politics when she stepped down from her council seat.
In accepting the position, Cristiano, the city’s Veterans Services Director, thanked “the voters for electing me and my colleagues for the additional honor of being chair.” She stressed that transparency and working together will be the hallmarks of her chairmanship.
In her remarks, Cristiano noted five areas in the schools that she believes should be the focus of attention:
— Security issues at the local schools
— Academic performance for the students
— Looking at the growth of administration staff
— Budgeting to make sure every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely
— Cleanliness of the schools (“It sends a bad message when the schools are dirty,” she said.)
In closing, Cristiano added, ”We will keep kids the top priority and failure is not an option.”
Members also chose newly-elected Ward 6 School Committeeman Michael McLaughlin as vice chairman.
“We need to make Everett children shine,” McLaughlin said in accepting the position adding, “We will be working together as one team.”
The next meeting of the School Committee is set for January 18.