Council Postpones Vote on EHS Roof Repairs to Its April 22 Meeting

The City Council voted by an 8-3 margin to postpone the key vote on an $11.4 million appropriation for roof repairs at the old Everett High School building to its April 22 meeting.

Councilors Guerline Alcy Jabouin, Peter Pietrantonio and Michael Marchese voted against the postponement of the vote.

The issue is time sensitive as Mayor Carlo DeMaria has told the Council that the City will not be able to renew its insurance policy for the building if the repairs are not done by January, 2025, when the current policy expires.

Councilor-at-Large Guerline Alcy Jabouin  was upset by the delay in the vote.

“I just want to know why we’re dragging this piece,” said Alcy Jabouin. “We’ve asked to view [the building]. We were not allowed to view it. We’ve had enough time to do all the stuff that the Council’s requesting. I just want to know what the real deal is. What is the issue? Could someone please tell us what the issue is? People are anxious and they don’t know what’s going on. It’s not fair to the people at the building [Webster School Extension pre-K students, parents, and staff, health and wellness center patrons, and Broadway Boxing Club members], the community, and it’s not fair to us.”

In what was a breakout performance for Councilor Peter Pietrantino at the meeting (Pietrantonio also questioned the lack of advertising for positions on the Charter Review Committee and the inconsistency of the City’s payment process for Verizon bills), he said emphatically, “Dead against postponing this. Let’s vote on it. The Administration had enough time to get all the facts and information that we asked for.”

Concluding his remarks, Pietrantonio added, “Let’s not postpone this anymore. Let’s take a stand. I didn’t come on this Council to be pushed around.”

Councilor-at-Large Michael Marchese said he agreed with Pietrantonio’s declaration. “We can’t keep kicking the ball around. I’m all in favor for voting for it tonight.”

Councilor Anthony DiPierro said he had “legitimate questions regarding the tax implications of an expenditure like this.”

“Until Mr. [Eric] Demas [Chief Financial Officer] can present me with those numbers, I’m not voting yes or no,” said DiPierro.

Councilor Holly Garcia asked that a tour be scheduled at the old Pope John High School in addition to the tours that have taken place at the old Everett High School building.

Councilor-at-Large Stephanie Smith said that she was very impressed with “what the Facilities Maintenance has done with the old Everett High School building.”

“They’ve prolonged how long we can use the building,” credited Smith. “But I’d like to [ask my fellow councilors] to reach out to Facilities. Don’t wait [for a tour]. If you want to see the building, call up Facilities. They’re very accommodating to me. I call them all the time. Don’t wait around. It’s on us to do our homework, to get in the buildings. We have to reach out proactively if you want something done.”

Alcy Jabouin and Pietrantonio disagreed with Smith’s comments about certain councilors not scheduling personal tours.

“We did ask to see it, and we were told that we can’t see what we needed to see,” said Alcy Jabouin.

Pietrantonio said he did take a tour “and we wanted to get up to the third and fourth floors and we were told, ‘no.’’’

“So, we did our diligence to meet them, to get in the building – we were told we couldn’t go to the third and fourth floors the first time. We told them we wanted to get in to Pope John High School. They’re not letting us in,” said Pietrantonio.

Agreeing with Pietrantonio’s version of events, Councilor-at-Large Katy Rogers said she toured the old Everett High School building. “We did do our due diligence. And we did show up, and we were not allowed access to the upper floors of the old high school,” said Rogers, adding that she wants to know how the entire building is going to be used in the future.

The stage is now set for an April 22 vote on the $1.4 million appropriation for repairs to the old Everett High School building. The impact of that vote will be felt citywide, but especially in the school district as overcrowding has been an issue at local schools.

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