Four City Councillors plowed their way through a list of 29 exceptional candidates on Monday night, and after more than two hours of deliberations, chose four people to be on the critical City Manager Screening Committee.
The members of the Committee, who will be charged with whittling down some 30 or so resumes to the final list of four, are:
- Juan Vega, Centro Latino/Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) Board
- Mary Bourque, superintendent of schools
- Barbara Salisbury, resident/CHA Board
- Sharon Caulfield, Bunker Hill Community College Chelsea Campus
All four picks are Chelsea residents and they will join Bernie Lynch, a former city manager of Lowell and Chelmsford, to deliberate in private, executive session meetings for the purpose of culling the resumes. Resumes for the city manager position are due by March 31 and many have already been received. The City’s search firm, the Collins Center, will assist and help direct that culling process.
Two alternates were also selected for the Screening Committee in case someone ended up having a conflict of interest or could not accept the appointment. They were (in order):
- Jim D’Amico, Century 21 Real Estate
- Molly Baldwin, CEO of Roca
D’Amico is the only one of the picks that is not a Chelsea resident, but he is the only pick that represents the City’s flourishing business community.
“I like this slate and I think it’s a good group to roll up their sleeves and get to work,” said Councillor Brian Hatleberg, chair of the special committee. “We’ll deliver this slate of names to the Council for a vote at the March 23 meeting.”
Councillors who made the decision were Committee Chair Hatleberg and Councillors Calvin Brown, Joe Perlatonda and Dan Cortell.
Of particular concern to the Special Committee was choosing candidates with a diversity of skills, races and ethnicities. It was also paramount amongst the Committee to choose a Spanish speaker and someone from the non-profit sector, which were both satisfied in the pick of Juan Vega,. Caulfield, who is African American, was seen as a good choice to represent the black community and the education community.
Another major concern that crept up was residency – which has always been an issue at the Council. Most of the public called for all members to be residents, as did most of the members.
Vega and Bourque were two names immediately discussed – along with Salisbury.
Others seriously considered were CHA Chair Tom Standish, Ted Coates (formerly of Seafarer’s Friend), and TND Director Ann Houston.
The final moves were not without controversy.
Councillor Joe Perlatonda was not in agreement with the pick of Bourque – as were some councillors not on the Committee – as he felt it was a potential conflict of interest for her. He also was a strong advocate for putting a person from the business community on the panel. There is no member of the business community in the final list of four, though none of those from the business community were residents of Chelsea.
“It’s just another example of Councillor Perlatonda getting rolled over,” he said afterward. “I was told that all four of us had to be in agreement before this was finished, but I don’t agree. We had another meeting scheduled for (Tuesday) night and I was prepared to come back, but I guess they wanted it done in one night. I know Mary Bourque is hired and fired by the School Committee and not the City Manager, but she has an office in City Hall and gets a paycheck from the City. That’s a little too close to a conflict for me. I think it was a mistake to leave the business community out, resident or not.”
Other members of the Committee said they had made serious compromises to their list based upon the advocacy of others, and they called on Perlatonda to make the same compromise in making D’Amico an alternate. Many saw the addition of Caulfield, who was suggested strongly by Perlatonda, as a compromise on their part.
Much of the conflict over D’Amico – at least on the surface – revolved around the fact that he isn’t a Chelsea resident.
“I know for me, residency matters,” said Hatleberg. “For myself personally, it would take a pretty substantial expertise offered for me to say it should be someone from outside of Chelsea.”
Perlatonda, a frequent advocate of residency ordinances for public safety officials and City workers, said he didn’t understand why his colleagues were so bent on residency with this selection, but not on other matters.
“When we’re at the Council meetings and we’re talking about residency requirements, no one wants that,” he said. “Now, we seem to want all Chelsea residents on this Committee. I don’t get that.”
Those who applied but were not selected were:
- Sylvia Ramirez, Chelsea Collaborative
- Brian Capistran, Chelsea Fire Union president
- Emmanuel Johnathan Tellez
- Judith Dyer
- Ted Coates, formerly of Seafarer’s Friend
- Joe Vinard, Chelsea Bank
- William Hart, Bunker Hill Community College
- Saratin Rizzuto, Metro Credit Union
- Lindsey Cimochowski
- Dennis Cataldo, Cataldo Ambulance
- Gladys Vega, Chelsea Collaborative Director
- Sandra Whitley, People’s AME Church
- Stanley Troisi, Soldier’s Home
- Deborah Washington, Chelsea Black Community (CBC)
- Kalimbo Akeem Bujiriri
- Damali Vidot
- Carol Resnek
- Theresa Czerepica
- Roseann Bongiovanni, Chelsea Collaborative
- Mary Belen Power, Chelsea Collaborative
- Ann Houston, TND Director
- Marianne Winship
- Tom Standish, CHA Chair