Paul Casino Honored for Years of Service to Chelsea

The City Council’s retiring long-time clerk, Paul Casino, was honored for a half-century of service to Chelsea at Tuesday night’s council meeting, even as some members said they hoped he might stick around a little longer.

Casino officially retired as the council’s clerk at the end of December, but on Tuesday night, he was at his familiar position in the council chambers next to the council president’s chair.

Council President Leo Robinson said Casino agreed to help with the transition into the new year as the council continues to search for a new clerk.

Robinson presented Casino with a Chelsea Clock from the council.

“The inscription on it is Paul Casino: School Committee, Alderman, Acting Mayor, City Council Clerk – thank you for your 50 years of service to the City of Chelsea,” said Robinson. 

While it can be hard to get 11 city councilors to agree on anything, all the members were united in their words of respect and best wishes for Casino on Tuesday night.

“I’ve known Paul for many, many years, and he used to be my boss, and he was a great boss,” said District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero. “It has been my pleasure to know Paul all these years … he’s always been fair, he’s always been open to all of us, anybody that needed any help can go see Paul and Paul will try to help us.”

One theme that came up from several councilors was Casino’s role in helping new councilors acclimate to life and the challenges of municipal government.

“When I first became president of the City Council, he was threatening to retire, and I was like, oh no, you’re not going to leave me,” said Councilor-at-Large Damali Vidot. “I was grateful that you were able to extend your plans and stay longer. I know you have given your all to this City Council and a lot of the things that people don’t see on the other side and all the things that happen behind the scenes.”

Making the jump from community activist to being on the council, Vidot said Casino and departing City Manager Thomas Ambrosino were the two people who restored her hope for what municipal government could be and representing and doing the work of the people.

“I’m super grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work beside you, what you’ve taught me, not just about the City Council rules and Robert’s Rules of Order, but just in terms of temperament and how to navigate in terms of getting work done and how to work with people and reach across the aisle,” said Vidot.

District 5 Councilor Judith Garcia celebrated Casino as a cornerstone of the council.

“I’ve been here for seven years and you’ve shown to be a person with a wealth of knowledge, you are someone who is fair, patient, but above all, you have dedicated not only your personal time to this city, but you have also dedicated years and years of service,” said Garcia. “Getting to know you, learning a lot about the parliamentary procedure, learning a lot about how to navigate City Council and be effective is something that I am going to carry with me in my years of service that are to come.”

District 8 Councilor Calvin Brown thanked Casino for his service, and said he hoped the council would be able to keep Casino around for a little while longer on a part-time basis to help with the search and transition to a new clerk for the body.

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