By Cary Shuman
Leo Robinson, dean of the Chelsea City Council and the longest-serving official in city government, was elected president of the Council Tuesday at an organizational meeting for 2017.
Robinson, who served on the former Board of Aldermen and remains one of the city’s most popular residents today, received a unanimous vote from his colleagues, Damali Vidot, Paul Murphy, Luis Tejada, Enio Lopez, Giovanni Recupero, and Dan Cortell.
Vidot was unanimously re-elected vice president. Tejada was elected as Council delegate to the Chelsea School Committee.
Councilors Roy Avellaneda, Matthew Frank, Yamir Rodriguez, and Judith Garcia were absent from the meeting.
Prior to giving his inaugural address, Robinson presented an appreciation plaque to Cortell, thanking him for his outstanding service as Council president in 2016.
City Manager Thomas Ambrosino congratulated the leaders of the Council, adding that he is looking forward to working with officials to continue the progress that Chelsea made in the past year.
“I expect that we’re going to be stronger in 2017 than we were in 2016,” Ambrosino told the Council.
Vidot said after the meeting that she was excited to be re-elected vice president. “I’m so very excited to be here and to be able to continue to represent this community. I have grown a lot in the last year and have done a lot of reflection. I have fine-tuned my message and I’m trying to approach this year with more of a balanced, reflective attitude with a lot more knowledge. We did a lot of great things last year and I want to keep it going.”
Following is the text of Council President Leo Robinson’s remarks:
First, let me thank our outgoing president, Dan Cortell, for his leadership here as well as his service to the REACH Program.
As we move forward, there will be some issues that this Council will have to vote on which should be in the best interest of our city and the residents.
The challenges we face will be the FBI Building, Inclusionary Zoning with regards to affordable housing, along with other zoning changes. I will guide and show leadership when we deal with the above issues to the best of my ability.
Let’s continue to move our community forward. A good community, at its core, is a place of peace and safety that provides opportunity for full development. The well being of a community is the sum of its physical, economic, and social natures.
It is easy to see a community as a place: Homes, schools, streets, parks, churches, and shops. These make up a physical infrastructure of a community; their soundness and attractiveness are essential for a good community.
Community also includes economic infrastructure: Jobs, business education, sources of capital and investment. Without economic life and opportunity, a community cannot meet its material needs and a good quality of life cannot be enjoyed.
In closing, I will end with a quote from W.E.B. DuBois in 1905, “We should never forget to urge corresponding duties upon our people: the duty to vote; the duty to respect the rights of others; the duty to work; the duty to obey the laws; the duty to be clean and orderly; the duty to send our children to school; and the duty to respect ourselves even as we respect others.”