Newstalk – December 19

On December 19, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from all of us here at The News to all our readers out there, both in the ‘Ville and all over the country. May one and all have a great Holiday season and a safe one, and may all our wishes come true.


Tonight, December 19, the City of Somerville will be holding a public information meeting to discuss the conclusion of remediation work at the Conway Park/15A Bleachery Court site. The city will update the community on the activities related to managing any contaminated soils at the site that occurred during the construction of the new skating rink. The public will also have an opportunity to provide comments. The meeting will be held at the Somerville Public Library-Central Branch, located at 87 Highland Ave on December 19, beginning at 6:30 p.m. See the city’s website for more information:


Tomorrow, Thursday the 20th, is the last day to buy a Christmas tree and wreath from the Full Circle/Next Wave student fundraiser. The lot is located at Foss Park near the MDC pool. Net proceeds will benefit the school’s Student Activities Fund.


If you were unable to make the Illumination Tour last Saturday then you can pick up an  Illuminations Tour Map, and create your own self-guided tour, at Blue Cloud Gallery in Ball Square and Magpie in Davis Square. Maps are $3. All proceeds support the Somerville Arts Council’s public programming.


Congratulations to now former Alderman Bill Roche for a long and distinguished career serving the residents of Ward 1 and, in fact, the entire city. He resigned last week and read his resignation to the board at the meeting. He was widely accepted as one of the best Aldermen here in the city, one who did a lot to bring about the recognition of Ward 1 as a great place to live and work. We wish him the very best in his future and, who knows, we probably will see him sometime in the future as a citywide candidate. He certainly was an Alderman who was and is respected throughout the city.


Former Alderman Bill Roche recommended his successor as all others in the past have done. Maureen Bastardi, who served on the School Board, now leaves that board with an empty seat. She made no recommendation of anyone in Ward 1 to be appointed. We wish Maureen the best and hope she does well for everyone down in Ward 1.


Now who will replace Maureen Bastardi? Very interesting, the process that is underway here. In the past, it’s always been at the recommendation of the one going out of office to propose their successor. Like Charles Ciano did when he resigned the School Board in the 70’s. Tom Taylor did it when he resigned and recommended Dot Gay in Ward 3, and recently with Stan Koty assuming the Alderman seats when recommended by outgoing Macaluso. Koty also recommended Sean O’Donovan to take his place on the school board. Now it appears if you want the seat, you submit your resume to the Superintendent of Schools, who then presents said resumes to the board to be voted on.    The school board should be an independent group of persons representing the children and taxpayers in each Ward. This process they are using can only serve to benefit the Superintendent or the majority of the school board who they want to see stand with them, and not be independent. Do you sense a conflict of interest here? The employee (in this case the Superintendent of Schools) being part of the process of picking his potential boss.    There are so many questions to be asked here. It probably would have been better if Maureen made her recommendation, as she stands to get re-elected to the Alderman’s seat, so shouldn’t the person have been selected by her? Now, this process will be watched and criticized. Since when is it required to submit a resume for elected office? And what is the basis for making the decision? Maureen should just have recommended someone or else have a special election to fill her seat. The other members of the school board – never mind the Superintendent – should not select from resumes. What do you think?


A Christmas Birthday greeting this week to our newly elected Registrar of Deeds Ms. Maria Curtatone, who is going to be celebrating big time. We hear she sent out over a 1000 invitations to her inaugural at the Registry and is closing down her law office at the same time.


Another well-known and highly regarded person celebrating their birthday this week is Somerville Police Captain Jim Polito, a real nice guy and dedicated to his job. We know he represents the Police Department as one of its best. Also this week, Keith Puopolo is celebrating, and to John Power, Electrical Inspector for the city. Our good friend Zack Wells, who lives here and works at Nuance Communications as an analyst, a good guy and sort of new to Somerville as well.


We hear the Mayor is having his annual “Holiday Party” for the department heads here in the city tonight, Wednesday.


DPW Commissioner Stan Koty is doing well and is back to work after his illness. We wish him the best of luck. He looks great, doesn’t he?


We want to send a big “Hi” to a good friend, Cliff Clark, and to his mother, a great lady, Paula Clark. We wish them both and their family the very best Christmas. They both went through a lot this past year but in the end it all worked out for them. We also want to congratulate Cliff on his huge weight loss. He can certainly be proud of the loss, in spite of a challenging year for them.


23 Responses to “Newstalk – December 19”

  1. Correction says:

    As far as the Ward-one situation Maureen did recommend a replacement to her colleagues. A young man living in the neighborhood about 8-9 years, very active in the community as a member in a couple of neighborhood organizations, as well as the Capuano School PTA Council, and has two young children in Somerville schools. He attends most Ward-one neighborhood meetings and is concerned in the quality of life in Somerville. He would be a very good representative on the School Committee. It is too bad the School Committee did not accept Maureen’s recommendation and instead opted to create a three-ring circus.

  2. I prefer the method of the School Committee person having the option to choose their successor. Did Maureen have the option and choose not to do this?

  3. Correction: Thanks for pointing this out!

  4. j. connelly says:

    Do you sense a conflict of interest here? Somerville News, Are you serious???? Or Joking/Choking?

    The applecart is upset cause it isnt business as usual, political buddies taking care of each other, same companies for year after year, decade after decade, getting the awards for various city contracts.
    It should always be decided by the voters, use some of the raise $$$ allocated for elected officials/Dept Heads raises for the special elections.

    How about eliminate the school committtee and let the aldermen put in a forty hour week now that they are getting full time pay with their recent raise.

  5. Henry says:

    this is another reason why the Mayor and Board of Alderman should do away with the School Board, what a bunch of bozo’s and how sad is that they even suggested that the Superintendent of Schools be involved in this silly process whatsoever. If Maureen really presented her choice to take her place and the school board said no, hopefully my fellow residents of of the city send a message to their representative on the school board next November. If this is true then shows the lack of respect and contempt for Maureen on the present school board doesn’t it? Throw them them out and lets see their resumes.

  6. bill says:

    I agree with Henry. If the school committee wants to see resumes then we have the right to see theirs. You would think since they don’t have the common sense to handle the replacement the correct way they would step up and do what they are asking of others. Well, this committee will not. They are weak and incompetent. The leadership they elected for next year will make it even worse. They are a do-nothing board. The Zoning Board and Licensing Board have more power and more respect. This decision proves to everyone they have no clue.

  7. JMB says:

    So what Bockelman is saying is, the interim school committee person needs to be more qualified and more vetted than any other elected SB member. To be elected, all you need to be is a resident of the ward and get more votes than everyone else.

    To be an interim member, you need to submit a resume, show you’re “qualified” go through an interview process, etc. It seems wrong. Either let Maureen appoint someone or hold a special election.

  8. Jim says:

    When you have a school committee that has a high percentage of pds members, yes you have to submit a resume so they can have a better chance of getting another pds person on the committee. der.

  9. Bill says:

    As crazy as their decision seems we have a chance to show them our displeasure. They are all up for re-election next year. The SC could look very different this time next year. Ward one will be hotly contested, Ward five looks like it will be an open seat and there is a very strong possibility in ward 7 telling people they are running. It will be very interesting for them next year. This issue will be for 1 and 7 and may be for many others a very big issue.

  10. SomMom says:

    As a parent of kids in the Somerville public schools, I would much rather have a School committee member who is vetted in some way than have the outgoing SC member give their seat to whoever they want to give a leg up. For that matter, if I lived in ward 1, I’d be livid that Roche chose to resign at this point, when he could appoint Maureen Bastardi to take his place, rather than just serving out the remaining year of his term. (And how is he going to spend more time with his family if he’s also taking on the job of interim HR person for the city? Are we supposed to see this as anything other than a guy trying to stoke his pension??)

    As your article says (and I don’t know if it’s true), Dorothy Kelly Gay, Stan Koty, and Sean O’Donovan all got their start by being appointed to the School Committee by resigning members. They all used the School committee as a stepping stone to other offices. This very fact — that they didn’t have to be voted in to their first office, and that they used it as a stepping stone — makes me feel that having an open process where choosing a candidate doesn’t take place behind closed doors is much preferable.

    Also, the full School committee is planning to vote on who the next candidate will be. It’s not going to be the superintendent’s choice, as you imply here.

  11. Cole says:

    Like I said in a previous post…2013 is an election year. Lets start talking to the people we want to see elected!!!!!!!!!

  12. How is being elected different from any other career? Naturally, for some, they want to climb the “corporate ladder” to bigger and better places. I would never fault them for that.

  13. bill says:

    Courtney, there is absolutely no problem with them moving on and climbing the ladder. I actually think that is the great part of our government. My issue and that of others is how they are handling the vacancy… it’s wrong

  14. Luke says:

    That’s a good point, Courtney. I’ve read comments that criticize for being a “career politician” and other that use the old “stepping stone” remark. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  15. Dicky Bird says:

    Guess I am on the outs?

  16. Dicky Bird says:

    As stated before an open draw???

  17. Henry says:

    hey Som Mom….look it up, Stan Koty recommended Sean O’Donovan to the fill his seat back in the 90’s on the school board when he was appointed to the Board of Alderman, Koty ran and was elected to the school board going back to the early 80’s before that.
    Now you obviously sound like someone working for the Superintendent or maybe one of the members of the School Board and gang of 6. The School Committee has the Superintendent collecting the resumes, and then submitting them to the board for a vote on the ones HE feels competent to take Maureen’s place or is he going to submit only those names that would vote for him to keep his job, (isn’t his salary over $200K and hell I hear he still lives on the Cape. Please if the School Board is going to elect a candidate then why not the candidate Maureen picked since she represented Ward One for several years and she has the best knowledge of who would best fill her seat. This is a sham, a farce, no matter who they select, that person will be perceived as a stooge for the majority of the board and the superintendent himself. What a disgrace these people are suppose to set and example to the children here in the city, maybe the comment made that the board should be abolished as elected sounds just about right, then everyone could submit their resumes like they do in Boston to the Mayor.
    As an old time Somerville resident, we abolished the elected Assessors back in the 80’s and now its who’s qualified to be appointed, why can’t we do what Boston did and abolish the elected School Board, they have no power except to hire and fire the Superintendent, so you can see why he would have a special interest in reviewing the resumes, can’t you?

  18. Henry says:

    by the way i live in Ward One and no matter who the school board (oh excuse me the Superintendent) selects, I will make sure that person doesn’t get my vote or anyone else i know. I hope the person that Maureen selected will run and the residents of East Somerville will decide who represents them not the gang of 6 plus Superintendent! Far to long East Somerville has been getting the shaft, the gang of 6 might regret this move, this 2013 is election year in the city. The school Board should do the right thing and Vote Maureen’s choice to represent us here in Ward One, we voted for her and trust her judgement.

  19. WardOne says:

    Let me get this straight, the Superintendent is screening the applications and the school board is voting on those applications or resumes, right? The entire school board, mayor and president of the Board of Alderman should be ashamed of themselves for even considering this. I agree with a lot of my neighbors, let Maureen do what has been done for many years in the past, select her successor here in Ward One.

  20. I find myself agreeing with WardOne. The outgoing elected official should be able to appoint their successor as the appointee is really representing the outgoing official in a way. Should Ward oners not be happy with anyone’s choice, 2013 is an election year!

  21. Boss Tweed says:

    The school committee is changing the way things have been done for years because the way things have been done for years is undemocratic and nepotistic. Why should someone get appointed to the school committee, let alone the board of aldermen, with no democratic process whatsoever? And then we wonder why people end up serving 17 years without any contention. I say down with replacing hacks with hacks. Let us choose our own hacks!

  22. Richard Karpley says:

    The city charter has not changed. When school committee members resign their posts prior to the completion of a term, the remaining members choose an interim member with a vote. How they vet the candidates is not defined, but I don’t see why anyone should support a candidate without seeing a resume or conducting an interview. Nowhere in the charter does it state that an outgoing member gets to select his or her own replacement. As several mentioned above, the public gets to decide in the fall of 2013. If Maureen’s favorite person chooses to run – and I hope he or she does, the voters will choose, hopefully on qualifications and not because any of the remaining six members of the school committee back any particular candidate.

  23. amen says:

    SomMom–you’re out of line taking a stab at why someone makes a change in employment. also, wrong in your reasoning. as an Alderman, you’re expected to be at several meetings per month, as well as committees, neighborhood groups, boards, etc. to do the job properly. Annual Budget hearings can take two weeks of meeting every night of the week with dept. heads to review expenses and requests. You’re expected at community events and an amazing number of other things. I’ve worked with the board on things and the good ones do all this plus maintain full-time employment. So taking a full-time city hall position removes all those other things and allows more time for your family. A little too quick to judge, especially when you don’t have the info.

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