Ward 5 Councilor Robert Van Campen was unanimously elected president of the Everett City Council at its organizational meeting Monday night in the Council Chambers.
Ward 6 Councilor Peter Pietrantonio nominated Van Campen for the Council’s top leadership position.
“We go back 30 years,” said Pietratonio. “I worked for the City. He was an alderman/councilman. He worked in Melrose as the city solicitor, and I worked as the operations manager. He is a fair, honest, trustworthy guy. I have a lot of confidence in him. I think that he can do the job. And I think he can do it very admirably. He comes through with a bunch of experience. He’s an attorney.”
Councilor-at-Large Katy Rogers seconded the nomination. “Tonight, I had the privilege of seconding the nomination for Councilor Robert Van Campen as Council president,” said Rogers. “He received the unanimous support of the Council and I trust he has what it takes to exemplify the leadership required to maintain decorum and create a productive working environment in the Council Chambers.”
Following the official announcement of the vote by Legislative Aide Michael Mangan, Van Campen received a warm ovation from his colleagues and the people in attendance, including his wife, Lisa Van Campen, daughter, Lily Van Campen, and son, John Van Campen, who were seated in the front row of the Chambers.
Following is the text of Council President Robert Van Campen’s remarks:
“Thank you very much.
First, I want to thank my family for supporting my efforts to re-enter public service in Everett. To my wife Lisa – thank you for being by my side along the way. You are loved and appreciated beyond words. We have been blessed with two wonderful children – Lily will be 17 a few days from now, and John just turned 14. They were much younger when I left office in 2014. We love them dearly, and hope they know that in many respects, my service here (and yours) is to ensure every child’s future continues to be bright.
Thank you to the members of this City Council for trusting me with the important responsibility of leading this historic group of women and men. I am humbled and grateful for your confidence.
As we begin, there is no doubt that challenges are before us as a community. Whether addressing our shared budget and tax burden; or working to provide our hard-working public employees with the resources they need to perform their jobs; or finding ways to ensure development is done in a responsible and reasonable manner; or making this city government more accessible to the public and our community more inclusive to all; or conducting a top to bottom review of our City Charter to make sure it remains a viable governing document for this community; or even deciding about future development opportunities along lower Broadway – my commitment to you as President is to ensure our work is achieved in a civil, respectful, compassionate, and business-like manner.
I ask each member to join me in making that happen. I also ask that those concerned residents who appear before us express grievances or speak on issues show the same level of respect and civility that this City Council will afford you. This will be a forum for professional discussion and civic engagement – not personal attacks. There is no doubt we will have disagreements, some will be profound, but our differences should never lead to permanent divisions and animosity among us.
Every member of this City Council, every person in this chamber tonight, every person watching this meeting, every resident regardless of their background, ethnicity, or religion, every parent who sends their children to school, and every business owner who contributes to our local economy has the same objective in mind – a love for this city and a perpetual desire to make it better. Let us never forget that.
I also want to extend my hand to the Mayor and his Administration. We can accomplish anything as a community through cooperation, collaboration, and communication. As we begin our term in office, I ask the Mayor and his team to join this City Council – our School Committee, and our school department – to move our city forward.
God bless each of you and your families in the New Year. Now it’s time to get to work.