Wynn Boston Harbor officials are moving forward without a pause this week despite the news that dynamic Wynn CEO Steve Wynn has stepped down from leading the company, and the fact that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) investigation is digging deeper into the actions of other executives in the company.
Wynn Boston Harbor has referred all media requests on the project to Las Vegas, and Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver had no comment on whether Wynn’s departure would affect the project.
Workers on the site and project leaders have said that the project in Everett is moving forward. A statement from the Wynn Board of Directors said, among other things, they are focused on opening Wynn Boston Harbor.
“The company will continue to fully focus on its operations at Wynn Macau, Wynn Palace and Wynn Las Vegas; the development and opening of the first phase of Wynn Paradise Park, currently under construction on the former Wynn golf course; as well as the construction of Wynn Boston Harbor, which will open in June 2019,” read the Board statement.
Wynn was accused of a pattern of sexual misconduct, including a $7.5 million out of court settlement, last month that quickly altered the gaming executive’s status.
Late last week, he announced that he would step down as the leader of the company – a company that bears his name and has built its brand on the strength of his name. It was a shocking move in a project that has had numerous shocks throughout its short life.
The Board of Directors of Wynn Resorts announced Wynn’s departure.
Current President Matt Maddox has been appointed as the new CEO, and Boone Wayson as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In a statement, Wynn said he had suddenly found himself the focus of an “avalanche” of negative publicity. As it has grown, he said it has now begun to hurt the company he loves.
“As I have reflected upon the environment this has created — one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts — I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles,” he said. “Therefore, effective immediately, I have decided to step down as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Wynn Resorts, a company I founded and that I love.
“The Wynn Resorts team and I have built houses of brick,” he continued. “Which is to say, the institution we created — a collection of the finest designers and architects ever assembled, as well as an operating philosophy now ingrained in the minds and hearts of our entire team — will remain standing for the long term. I am extremely proud of everything we have built at this company.”
Wynn said he endorsed the succession plan and fully supported Maddox as the new CEO.
“He and his team are well positioned to carry on the plans and vision for the company I created,” he said.
He added that he was most proud of the employees in the company. He said it was the employees of Wynn Resorts that made it the most admired company in the world.
The Board said they accepted the resignation with a heavy heart, and pointed out more than 40 percent of their employees are women.
“Steve Wynn is an industry giant,” said Wayson. “He is a philanthropist and a beloved leader and visionary. He played the pivotal role in transforming Las Vegas into the entertainment destination it is today. He also assembled a world-class team of executives that will continue to meet the high standards of excellence that Steve Wynn created and the Wynn brand has come to represent. Steve Wynn created modern Las Vegas. He transformed the city into an economic powerhouse by making it a world-wide tourist destination.”
The MGC did meet last week, and addressed their investigation once again, noting that they are looking into what Maddox and Wynn Attorney Kim Sinatra knew during the background check of the company in 2013.
A commercial laundry that uses bicycles to pick up and deliver linens is looking to locate in the commercial/industrial property on Willow and Congress Streets.
Wash Cycle Laundry, a company founded in Philadelphia that has delivered millions of pounds of laundry and pioneered the bicycle laundry, wants to locate its Boston area operations in Chelsea. They were before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on Tuesday night, and will go before the Planning Board later in the month. In April, the City changed the zoning regulations in the Willow Street area to allow them to consider the property.
Gabriel Mandujano, the founder of the company, said they are coming right now to service the hotels exclusively in Chelsea, and would be using a new, advanced style of tricycle to pick up and deliver laundry throughout the city.
“We leased a portion of the building and are concentrating our efforts on the hotel market,” he said. “Colwen Hotels signed an agreement to bring us to Chelsea. We’re going to be their laundry contractor. The idea is they have a lot of properties in Chelsea, but they have a large portfolio all over Boston too. This will bring those jobs to Chelsea.”
He said they hope to run two shifts seven days a week, and would employ a total of 75 people.
“We are a sustainable company,” he said. “We do a lot of environmental and energy savings in the plant. We are founded in Philadelphia and pioneered bicycle delivery laundry. We delivered millions and millions of pounds of laundry in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. We are though practically sustainable and not religiously sustainable, so the chiefly concerned about safety.”
He said that would mean that they would deliver by bike in the Chelsea area, but use vans and trucks to get to Boston and other far off areas.
He said after they get their feet under them, if approved to come, they hoped to begin doing work for other businesses in Chelsea that have a need for a commercial laundry.
He said they would be using a special tricycle cargo bike in Chelsea that has been piloted by the UPS delivery company in Portland. He said they took a trip recently to Portland to test it out and liked what they saw.
“We’re fairly confident that would be the vehicle we would use if we come to Chelsea,” he said. “Philadelphia is completely flat, so we need something here with a little more power.”
He added they are a second chance company, and hope to partner with non-profits in the area to employ at-risk and court-involved residents who need a break. Many of their current employees have a history of homelessness or incarceration, he said.
“That’s one of the main reasons I founded the company,” he said.
If allowed to locate on Willow Street, Mandujano said they could have the build out done in about 30 days.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) on Wednesday, Jan. 31, held a special hearing into the allegations against Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn – a Massachusetts gaming licensee – and said they were not told of the 2005 private settlement, while at the same time urging fairness and speed in the investigation.
The one-hour hearing was unique in that it was one of about three government-level hearings now going on internationally, with others now underway in Nevada and Macau (China). Another is going on privately within the Wynn organizations by a Special Committee of the Board of Directors.
Chair Steve Crosby led off the meeting by saying that the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) would not rush to judgment or impugn anyone.
“Before we begin, I’d like to reiterate that we have a shared sense of urgency about this serious matter, but careful diligence must be a top priority,” he said. “The stakes are enormous and many lives are involved— from the lives of the women allegedly abused, to the lives of men and women in Everett now building the project, to the senior executives and board members of Wynn Resorts. We will get this right and we will get it right as quickly as we can.”
He finished the meeting by saying he wants a very open investigation so the people know what happened.
“The people of Massachusetts have the right to know what the hell happened here with no punches pulled,” he said. “Having to hold back things ifs something this Commissioner will not look favorably on.”
The MGC announced last Friday after the allegations surfaced that they would initiate an investigation in their IEB division. On Wednesday, the first volley of that investigation was launched.
Somewhat of a revelation was when IEB Director Karen Wells said Wynn Resorts or Steve Wynn never told anyone in 2013 about the $7.5 million settlement associated with the recent allegation of sexual harassment by a Wynn hotel manicurist in Las Vegas.
“I corroborated that information with counsel for Wynn Resorts who confirmed that there was in-fact a settlement and that it was not disclosed to investigators upon advice of counsel,” said Wells. “She also confirmed that the settlement itself was not part of any court action or litigation and that no lawsuit was filed at any time. There were no court documents filed that could have been identified in the course of the investigation. This was a private agreement and steps were taken to keep it from the public domain. The circumstances around this $7.5M settlement and the decision not to disclose it to investigators remain a critical element of this review.”
For the commissioners, there was a sense of seriousness, but also one of attentiveness. No one wanted to engage in something unfair to Wynn or anyone else.
“The single most important thing at this stage is to get control of the facts by figuring them out as quickly as possible,” said Commissioner Lloyd MacDonald. “I urge you to be scrupulously diligent and work with speed, thoroughness and objectivity. That will be key.”
Wells said she had no idea how long the investigation would take as they have just embarked on it.
“It’s hard to give a timeline because once you start conducting interviews, it could lead you in many different directions,” she said.
It reads like an off-color joke, but it wasn’t any joke on Monday night when a councillor, a reverend, a Republican and a clerk with a phobia of elevators got trapped for 45-minutes in the City Hall elevator.
“We were cool; no one freaked out,” said Rev. Sandra Whitley, who was stuck with Planning Board member Todd Taylor (the Republican), Councillor Leo Robinson and Council Administrative Assistant Ledia Koco. “These firefighters are amazing and they need all the credit. Stuck for almost 45 minutes, they kept asking if we were alright, plugging away until they had to almost blast the metal doors apart.”
The firefighters involved in the rescue were Capt. Paul Doherty, Mark Chiaradonna, Gary Poulin, Angel Arrieta, Kevin DeJesus and Lt. Andrew Cerratani.
The situation unfolded Monday after the Council let out for the night. Due to the fact that the stairs in City Hall were being replaced, most everyone had to take the elevator to get down. It gave the old lift quite a workout, and apparently, then those four got on and started going down – everything stopped.
It took some time before anyone realized they were trapped, but enough people were still around to hear them calling for help.
Chelsea Fire was alerted and City Manager Tom Ambrosino directed them to where it was believed the four were stuck.
Firefighters tried to pry open the elevator, but it wasn’t budging.
Firefighters then had to deploy other tools, including an inflatable air bag, to open the doors.
Finally, the job was done and the four emerged from the elevator.
“I was just glad those other three were with me, because these days, if it were just me, they might have left me in there,” joked Taylor.
By most accounts, the order put in by Councillor Giovanni Recupero on Monday night to effectively put term limits on members of appointed boards and commissions in the city would have been voted down in year’s past.
But the new Council has a new outlook, and the order was approved and pushed to a Committee on Conference by a vote of 7-4 on Monday night.
The measure calls for the Council to adopt a policy that would require the Council not to be able to re-appoint any member of a Board or Commission if they have served two consecutive terms already. The provision would only take effect if someone else in Chelsea is willing to serve on the Board. If no one else is interested, then the re-appointment could go through.
“I’m not for anyone serving over and over and over,” said Recupero. “They need fresh ideas. Some of these people on the boards have been there 20 years. Nothing changes with that. It’s all just the status quo. I’m even for term limits on the Council. I don’t think anyone should serve more than 10 years. It should be 10 years and then you’re out. Same for the Boards and Commissions.”
Recupero’s order did get some pushback, with opposing votes from Councillors Roy Avellaneda, Leo Robinson, Yamir Rodriguez and Calvin Brown.
However, seven other councillors were behind Recupero’s idea.
It continued a hot debate that began last year when Councillor Roy Avellaneda attempted to not re-appoint License Commission member Ken Umemba. That political skirmish led to Councillors Vidot and Enio Lopez presenting an order last fall that called for an effort to have more diversity on the City’s boards.
That was followed up by Vidot unearthing in the Charter that the City had not been advertising the open positions in the paper due to an oversight. That has now begun on a quarterly basis.
Vidot said the matter is now moved to a Committee on Conference.
During 2017, CAPIC celebrated its 50th year as a community action agency. Since 1967, CAPIC has served as the federal and state designated Community Action Agency for the communities of Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop although in 1965 the City of Chelsea received its first grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity to establish the Chelsea Community Action Council and Community Action Programs Revere Initiative.
Throughout five decades, CAPIC has been both the first stop for people in need, as well as the last stop when other resources have failed. We are problem solvers, always going beyond what is ordinarily expected and achieving the not so possible. As a multi-service community-based organization, CAPIC has provided comprehensive, one-stop anti-poverty services to thousands of individuals and families who seek help. The unique composition of the Board of Directors representing public, private and low-income sectors of the three communities has been our mainstay that ensures consistency and oversight; safeguarding that the basic mission of the organization was always preserved.
Locally, CAPIC has been the front line of defense for persons in need, especially during times of family crises, and natural disaster as first seen in October 1973 when CAPIC was commissioned by FEMA to relocate 200 displaced families from housing after the great conflagration that devastated over a 20 block area of Chelsea and again in February 1978, when during the blizzard, CAPIC provided housing, clothing, food and emergency oil to hundreds of Revere families displaced by flood waters and those who were snow bound. Most recently, on July 28, 2014, CAPIC placed Revere families who were displaced by a tornado in emergency housing and again on June 13, 2017 when a four alarm fire on Taft Street, Revere caused many to be without shelter. Resources were immediately mobilized and together with Revere officials, families were placed in temporary shelters.
Here we are today, a vibrant organization that provides a myriad of life sustaining services to over 15,000 area residents annually. During 2017, CAPIC provided nearly 2,000 at-risk, low-income individuals and families with access to food and basic needs; prevented 33 families from becoming homeless through the utilization of United Way EFSP funds; prevented an additional 23 families from becoming homeless through EOHHS Flex funds for rental assistance; distributed 1,500 winter coats to needy adults and children through a partnership with Anton’s Cleaners Coats for Kids program; distributed donated Christmas/holiday toys to 450 low-income children; provided 50 victims of domestic violence with comprehensive case management, advocacy, and counseling services; and provided 100 street-involved individuals in Chelsea with substance/alcohol related issues with direct comprehensive support service. In addition, CAPIC’s Mobile Outreach Team conducted intensive street outreach in Chelsea to identify and refer street-involved homeless individuals experiencing alcohol/opioid addiction for services which included 50 sober living placements and 40 medical interventions with a volunteer licensed physician.
CAPIC also partnered with MGH on the Merck Foundation: Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care Grant. This is a two-year grant program that works to improve equity by advancing cancer patient-centered care for underserved populations. In May 2017, CAPIC was designated by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as the official Continuum of Care -Balance of State Homeless Provider for Chelsea and Revere. Given this official designation, CAPIC is commissioned to assume responsibility to coordinate homelessness prevention activities for Chelsea and Revere and also coordinate the Annual Point-In-Time Count (in conjunction with DHCD), and organize volunteer efforts for counting unsheltered persons in Chelsea and Revere. CAPIC also received an FY’17 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the City of Chelsea to enhance access to health care for low-income populations in Chelsea.
In addition, CAPIC helped 3,431 low-income households keep warm during the winter months through the Fuel Assistance Program, as well as provided weatherization and heating efficiency services to 80 households, and replaced and/or repaired a total of 435 inefficient heating systems; provided 400 individuals referred by the Social Security Administration with responsible payee support services; filed tax returns for 192 individuals; and provided over 500 low-income children 0-13 years with Head Start/educational support, child care, after school, and summer camp programming, as well as over 400 families with parenting skills and healthy family development through the Chelsea/Revere Family Network program. CAPIC Real Estate, Inc. in partnership with CAPIC purchased a 13-unit lodging house at 72 Dehon Street, Revere, in an effort to preserve tenancies through affordable housing.
Our ability to accomplish this work, past and present, is a direct result of those people who have chosen public service as a career and the dedicated members of the Board of Directors and Policy Council. They strive to have a better community, with employment opportunity, safe housing, education, food, clothing and healthcare for everyone. We express our gratitude to our elected and appointed delegation that without their support we could not succeed. There are also the compassionate partners at DHCD and HHS that understand the plight of the poor; there are those in sister organizations whose collaboration and cooperation make our work more effective. Perhaps the greatest asset that we have and sometimes overlook, is our clergy, whose spiritual guidance and prayers have given us the courage and motivation to persevere in an environment where it isn’t popular to be poor.
We have also forged strong alliances with the local police and fire departments and greatly appreciate the support and assistance we receive from the city and town Community Development and Health Departments. Over the years we have relied on our historic alliance with local school departments that have provided us with space for Head Start and After School/Summer Camp programming. Special thanks to former State Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Representatives RoseLee Vincent and Dan Ryan; and Senators Sal DiDomenico and Joe Boncore for their untiring support for CAPIC throughout the years.
A quote from CAPIC’s third Executive Director: “Progress has not been easy- there have been crises, cutbacks, quarrels, opposition. Yet, when it was most important, we have always closed ranks and worked together, and so accomplished much. Perhaps even more important are our less tangible accomplishments. Because of CAPIC, thousands of Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop residents, especially low-income people, have become aware of their rights and responsibilities, and the value of working together to improve opportunities for all.”
In 2011, the Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) was in total disarray, and Chelsea resident Tom Standish had a long history of putting things back together.
As the chair of the CHA since 2011, putting things back together is exactly what Standish, the other Board members and the staff at CHA did in the wake of the Michael McLaughlin corruption scandal.
Now, with his work seemingly done and the CHA now a high-performer in the public housing world, Standish has stepped aside from his long-time role as chair of an organization that was quite literally brought back from the grave.
“It was a clear case of corruption and the need to restore normalcy to the government,” said Standish recently from his home on the waterfront, a few weeks after stepping down as chair. “Really, it was transparent that someone was controlling the situation and had everyone in line. There needed to be five people who had the strength of character and expertise to guide the CHA back to normalcy. As it turned out, we guided it to high performance.”
After the McLaughlin scandal, few thought that the CHA would ever be put back given the tangled web of accounting fraud and the money not expended on facilities for so long.
Tenants were angry.
The public was angry.
The federal government was angry.
Those five board members, led by Standish, helped restore the confidence.
Standish said he saw a posting about the City looking for talented people to serve on the new board – as the old board had been removed quickly on suspicion of corruption with McLaughlin. With a deep resume as a regulator in the Connecticut government and in other endeavors, he was chosen right off. At the first meeting, his other four colleagues quickly elected him as the chair when he voiced concern over the minutes from the previous meetings – challenging the Board’s attorney.
From there, the rebuilding took place, including the hiring of current CHA Executive Director Al Ewing – who had served previously in the CHA administration.
“It was our task to establish a route that would bring us to restoration of faith in the performance of the duties,” said Standish. “We went on the war path. We got the support of Al Ewing and he did a fabulous job of brining a fee accountant in and an accountant from outside to do an audit…That gave us a lot of confidence in Al. You can change a lot with a big organization if you can get competent, honest people. For me personally, that was a turning point in the organization.”
Another turning point, he said, was when they were able to get the full services of the Nixon Peabody law firm and Attorney Jeff Sacks to help them guide the case against McLaughlin on behalf of the CHA. That was also assisted by Charlestown attorney Susan Whalen, whom the CHA hired.
Standish said, through a mutual friend, he had heard that Nixon Peabody was looking for a case to work on pro bono that would make a difference. As it happened, that case was the CHA’s.
“They were going to pay for it 100 percent,” he said. “It wasn’t one of those where they said they would help us for 75 cents on the dollar. It was 100 percent…Susan Whalen in conjunction with Nixon Peabody were able to move the case forward and were able to get a decision.”
While the matter of McLaughlin’s $200,000 pension is still outstanding, and the McLaughlin matter still appears as a potential Executive Session item on every CHA meeting agenda – for the most part justice was done.
Standish said he was very relieved on the day McLaughlin was sentenced in Boston Federal Court, knowing that justice had been rendered for the tenants and the taxpayers. However, he said he was conflicted about the time and type of sentence – noting that he is glad he did not have to make a recommendation to the court.
“In the end, McLaughlin said he was just trying to keep up with his neighbors,” he said. “He said they all had nice cars and nice houses and he just wanted to keep up with them. It was a totally different McLaughlin than we had seen up to then.”
Overall, Standish said he would look back at his time on the CHA as something of a gift – a way he could give back, and in turn, be given to.
“I was energized by it,” he said. “There are a lot of people who run out and look to be fulfilled in life by making money, but try as they may, nothing is more fulfilling than giving to society…The thing that’s great for me is to see public housing work in Chelsea. I’ve come to realize that high-minded people make this world work. We have been a high-performer every single year since the first one. We worked very hard – many long hours and all uncompensated. It has been invigorating and exciting. I regard it as a gift to have had the opportunity.”
There were more than a few big news items in Chelsea this year.
In fact, there were too many to include in a review of the year in news as the city began to move faster and faster throughout the year.
Here is a sprinkling of some of the top news items from the Chelsea Record in 2017:
• Chelsea High students returned in January to a fly-free building. Student had missed a substantial amount of school in December due to a fly epidemic in Chelsea High. Work crews used the Winter Break to fix the problem.
• Chelsea the Sanctuary City was upended and scared for what the future might hold when new President Donald Trump issues an executive order in January to defund Sanctuary Cities. Chelsea and Lawrence quickly file a lawsuit to prevent the order from being acted upon. The order was later ruled unconstitutional by an Appeals Court on the West Coast.
• On Feb. 16, more than 41 businesses in the Broadway area close down for the day and more than 2,000 students are absent from Chelsea Public Schools during the national Day Without an Immigrant protest. The streets are eerily quiet in the normally bustling Broadway business district.
• The new FBI Boston headquarters holds its official ribbon cutting ceremony after having been open four months on March 7. Former FBI Director James Comey – then the director – was on hand to welcome Chelsea officials and regional law enforcement to the ceremony.
• The Homewood Suites Hotel and Function Room opens in March to the public and its owner, Colwen Hotels, pulls a building permit in the same month to begin construction on a new hotel on Broadway at the Revere/Chelsea line. The hotel continues to be under construction.
• A Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) plan to redevelop the Central Avenue housing development with private developer Corcoran is shot down by a vote of the City Council on April 24 due to Corcoran asking to be permitted to use some non-union workers on the job. An amended plan for the development is expected in 2018.
• The Chelsea Police and community/business leaders launch a new Downtown Task Force on May 1. Four beat officers have been assigned to the Broadway corridor and will meet with residents, City departments and business owners once a week.
• Scores of MS-13 members from Chelsea and surrounding areas – including multiple admitted murderers – begin to plead guilty to charges against them in Boston Federal Court. By year’s end, 27 of 61 individuals indicted in the three-year investigation have plead guilty.
• A huge debate breaks out over the summer in the midst of the Re-Imagining Broadway initiative about whether Broadway should become a two-way street in the business district. The matter has not been settled as of yet. It has been one-way for more than 50 years.
• Gov. Charlie Baker commits to funding a new $199 million Quigley Hospital at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home during a press conference in May. Later in the summer, the plan draws major controversy when it is revealed that the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home water tower must come down to make way for the new hospital. The water tower is seen as a symbol of the City for many.
• In another blow to tradition, the historic Chelsea Clock building on Everett Avenue comes down in October to make way for more than 700 units of apartment dwellings.
• Chelsea High School graduates 309 students on June 11 at commencement. It is the largest class in more than 15 years.
• Three incumbent councillors announce before summer recess that they will not run for re-election. They include Dan Cortell, Matt Frank and Paul Murphy.
• Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home on Lafayette Street celebrates a $16 million renovation project on June 21 with a huge ribbon cutting celebration.
• The Chelsea Fire Department gets a federal SAFER grant to add eight new members to the Fire Department. It adds to two new positions already committed to by the City. The 10 new firefighters are sworn in on Nov. 20. It is the largest expansion of the Fire Department contingent since receivership in the 1990s.
• Outdoor seating on Broadway is approved for area establishments. The new Ciao Market leads the way by putting a seating area on the sidewalk in Chelsea Square – a pioneering move for the City.
• The MassDOT Board approves a plan for major, multi-year rehabilitation work on the Mystic/Tobin Bridge and the Chelsea Viaduct. A vigorous debate over construction impacts and the scope of the project ensues between MassDOT and City officials.
• A group of Chelsea stakeholders and City officials announce that the City has won the Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Prize at a Sept. 20 Chamber of Commerce meeting. The victory comes after nearly a year of planning, submissions and site visits. It comes with a $25,000 cash prize and a substantial amount of cache.
• CAPIC human services celebrates 50 years as a service provider in Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere. The Chelsea-based organization celebrates with a grand gala that united new and old members of the organization.
• The community rallies around families, friends and strangers facing catastrophe in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hits the island in the fall. Many residents flock to the Chelsea Collaborative to work in the relief efforts as a way of coping with the stress of not hearing from relatives.
• Three new councillors are elected to the City Council in the Nov. 7 City Election, including Calvin Brown, Bob Bishop and Joe Perlatonda. All three, however, have served previously on the City Council or former Board of Aldermen.
• The MBTA announces in December that most Silver Line Stations are nearing completion and service on the new Bus Rapid Transit line could begin as soon as April 2018. The new line will be known a SL3 and will go from the Market Basket Mall to the Seaport, via Logan Airport.
In the last meeting of the year for the City Council, members voted in several new appointments and re-appointments to City boards – including the approval of long-time activist Gladys Vega to sit on the Planning Board.
Vega received a 10-0 vote with Councillor Giovanni Recupero being absent for all the appointment votes.
Vega said she was looking to get more active in the City’s committees, especially since there has been a call for more people to fill the volunteer – yet critical – roles. She said she planned to become increasingly active in City matters in the coming years if all goes well on the Planning Board.
Meanwhile, Chelsea Housing Chair Tom Standish stepped down from the Board after a monumental and tremendous job in his role as chair for the past several years.
Former CHA Board member Bert Taverna was voted in 10-0 to replace Standish.
Standish was one of the first members of the new Board appointed by the state and former City Manager Jay Ash when the CHA went into receivership following the Michael McLaughlin scandal.
Standish was a solid presence on the Board in the years following the scandal, helping to put the once-troubled CHA back onto solid footing after the fleecing done by McLaughlin to virtually every part of the organization.
Standish led the Board throughout the difficult process, and helped to take it from a troubled agency to a top performer.
After those two appointments, there was Council politics that entered the room, with Councillor Damali Vidot clashing with Councillor Roy Avellaneda on the nine re-appointments.
Vidot has been a staunch advocate for getting new and different people on the City’s boards and said she discovered in the Charter that the City is required to advertise open Board and Commission seats. However, due to an oversight, that hasn’t been done in some time.
Avellaneda disputed that such a thing was in the Charter, and read Section 4 that did not include any such language.
However, after some tussling between members, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it is in Section 9 of the Charter and it was an oversight. He said he will begin to advertise quarterly any openings in the English and Spanish-language newspapers.
To make a point, Vidot voted against all nine re-appointments, which were mostly non-controversial and resulted in 9-1 votes of approval.
Planning Board member Todd Taylor did elicit some controversy, as he was approved by a vote of 7-3, with Councillors Judith Garcia, Vidot and Avellaneda voting against him.
Those voted in on a 9-1 vote were:
Olivier del Melle, Dudley Street, Planning Board
Emmanuel Tellez, Broadway, Board of Health
Robert Pereira, Gerrish Avenue, Historical Commission (replacing Ilana Ascher)
George Pazos, Union Street, Traffic & Parking Commission
Marlene Jennings, Breakwater Drive, Cultural Council
Mark Rossi, Clark Avenue, License Commission
Robert Lynch, Shawmut Street, Conservation Commission
City Council President Leo Robinson and the Chelsea community are fondly remembering retired Chelsea firefighter Darren Moore, who died on Saturday, Nov. 25 at the age of 52.
Many of Darren’s classmates and friends learned of his passing during the Chelsea High School Class of 1982 35th Reunion Saturday night at the Merritt Club. Reunion co-chair Allen Andrade called upon the gathering for a moment of silence in memory of their beloved classmate, teammate and friend.
Robinson remembered his cousin Darren Moore’s exploits while wearing the Chelsea High Red Devil uniform in three varsity sports. A handsome, personable young man with a warm smile, Darren Moore had confidence in his abilities and developed in to a team leader who conducted himself with sportsmanship and grace on the court and on the field.
“Darren played football, basketball, and baseball at Chelsea High when the Red Devils were a hoop powerhouse in the Greater Boston League,” said Robinson. “Darren was also a coach of the Chelsea Pop Warner ‘A’ football team that rallied to defeat the San Francisco Bombers, 18-14, to win the 2001 national championship.”
Robinson said that following Darren’s athletic career, he wanted to help young kids in Chelsea enjoy the benefits that he had gained from playing sports.
“Darren wanted to give back to the city that was so good to him as a kid,” said Robinson. “He really enjoyed his years as a coach and winning the national championship was a thrill for everyone involved in that historic season.”
Robinson recalled that he was a member of the Board of Aldermen when Darren Moore took the oath as Chelsea firefighter.
“Darren’s family and I were so proud to be at City Hall and see him become a Chelsea firefighter,” said Robinson. “He served in the department for 20 years.”
Robinson said that Darren enjoyed accompanying him, his brother, Ron Robinson, and family friend Dale Johnson on camping trips and excursions to Newport, R.I.
“Darren was a just a good, fun-loving to be around,” said Robinson.
Former CHS cheerleader Debbie Cronin, one of Darren’s childhood friends, remembered Darren’s friendly and congenial nature.
“Darren was a lifelong childhood friend and a genuinely good guy,” said Cronin. “His passing is a tough one. Over the last few years, I’d bump in to him at the most random of places and even though it was clear he had health issues, he always had a smile. Darren will be missed by all.”
Robinson said he will ask the City Council to join him in a moment of silence in memory of Darren Moore at their meeting Monday night at City Hall.
A memorial gathering and visitation for Darren Moore will be held on Friday, Dec. 1, from 3 to 7 p.m., at the Frank Welsh and Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea. A life tribute and service of remembrance will be held in the funeral home beginning at 7 p.m.