Fire Chief Len Albanese had his contract renewed for another three years by City Manager Tom Ambrosino.
Albanese came to the City in 2016 from North Providence after a search committee chose several finalists, including some internal candidates. His contract was set to expire in June 2019, and Ambrosino said he is very pleased with the Chief’s work over the past two years.
“The chief and I began discussions about an extension, and we recently agreed on this new three-year term,” wrote Ambrosino. “I have been extremely satisfied with Chief Albanese’s leadership and management of the Fire Department since his arrival in 2016. I believe this extension is fully justified.”
Albanese, a resident of Charlestown, will get a pay increase of 3 percent in the first year of his contract. In the following two year, upon a review by Ambrosino, he is entitled to up to 3 percent each year as well.
The Chief will get 25 days of vacation per year, and can carry over five weeks of unused vacation time from one year to another. He may not, however, carry more than 10 week maximum of vacation time.
He also gets 15 sick days per the contract, as well as an automobile.
The new contract will begin on July 1, 2019.
City Councillors unanimously approved a four-year working contract for new City Manager Tom Ambrosino that will pay him a salary of $170,000 per year – just a few thousand less than former City Manager Jay Ash made at his departure.
The contract also includes a residency waiver, meaning he will not be required to live in Chelsea as stated in the City Charter. Ambrosino resides on Revere Beach.
“I’m very satisfied with the contract,” said Ambrosino. “The negotiations were courteous and professional and I trust a harbinger of a good working relationship between myself and the City Council.”
Council President Leo Robinson had appointed a working group of himself and Councillors Matt Frank, Dan Cortell and Brian Hatleberg to negotiate the contract. Those discussions were extensive, but professional, he said, and went quickly.
City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher also participated in the negotiations.
“I think we’re all on the same page,” Robinson said. “I’m ready to get started and I know Tom is ready. He’s going to hit the ground running.”
Councillor Frank, who did not vote for Ambrosino, said he felt the negotiations went very well. He said Ambrosino compromised on salary, while the Council compromised on the length of the contract – going from three to four years.
“We knew going in we couldn’t pay him more than Jay, but he does have a lot of experience,” said Frank. “I think we came to a good compromise. Given how the meetings went, if this is the way he normally does business, I can work with him. He was professional and everyone came out happy even though they didn’t get exactly what they wanted.”
One councillor was not exactly happy with the process of pounding out the contract, Councillor Giovanni Recupero, who was livid during the meeting on Monday night. He said later that he felt all councillors should have been involved in the negotiations and he thought the length of the contract was set in stone at two years. He said he was shocked to find out it was four years. Nevertheless, he did vote to approve it.
Ambrosino will begin on Monday, July 20, with Interim City Manager Ned Keefe’s contract running out at the end of July.
The contract specifies that Ambrosino will be entitled to a salary increase of 0-3 percent each year based upon the City Council’s performance review of his work. That decision will come on April 30 of each year.
He will get 25 days of vacation per year and cannot carry more than 10 weeks of vacation at any time. He will also get 15 sick days and will qualify for the sick leave buyback program. He also gets five days of bereavement leave for the death of an immediate family member.
He qualifies for all the normal City benefits, including health, dental and retirement.
Ambrosino will be provided with a City vehicle to use in order to perform his City Manager duties. However, he will not be able to take it home and can use it only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
He will, by contract, be evaluated each year in the following 11 categories: Finance, Economic Development, Neighborhood Enhancement, Community Development, Public Safety, Government Philosophy, Personnel Administration, Policy Execution, Intergovernmental Relations, Community Leadership/Public Relations, and Overall Effectiveness.
The Board of the Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) and Executive Director Al Ewing have come to terms on a contract dispute that – though in the background as compared to the overall repairing of the agency – has been outstanding since 2011.
The contract was recently approved by the Board and state officials and is now in effect, retroactive from Nov. 1, 2014. The three-year contract will pay Ewing $122,000 per year – which was a point of contention when the dispute first went to court.
“It’s a nice thing to have happen,” said Board Chair Tom Standish. “It could have been an adversarial thing all this time and it hasn’t been. We’ve worked well together and will continue to do so.”
Ewing said this week that he is glad to get the contract situation worked out and to move on to rebuilding and reinvigorating the CHA.
“I’m pleased I will continue being executive director at least through October 2017,” he said. “That gives us the opportunity to build on the many victories we’ve had. We’ve done a number of things over the past three years and we want to continue providing these services to our residents.”
One of the most unique things about the contract dispute was that it really just faded away in late 2011 as the CHA and the Board began working on the larger issues of cleaning up after Michael McLaughlin and untangling the web of complexities that was left behind in what has now been exposed as a criminal enterprise.
Originally, the contract was disputed rather vocally, but once it was entered as a court case, nothing more came of it.
That’s when Ewing and the Board seemed to roll up their sleeves and work without any animosity whatsoever despite the ongoing matter.
Standish said it was particularly noteworthy that the relationship withstood
Ewing said he viewed it as separate from his job.
“I think my job here as executive director, no matter what my pay, is to serve the residents,” he said. “I continually try to focus on that. They are two separate things. There were issues and sometimes people can have differences of opinion and that’s why we have a legal system to turn to. One has nothing to do with the other, the way I see it.”
Ewing said he had been chosen as the new executive director before McLaughlin suddenly resigned in 2011 after a Globe story spotlighted the beginnings of his misdeeds at the CHA.
After several public hearings and an executive director search in anticipation of McLaughlin’s regular retirement, Ewing got the vote of the board. His contract was to be ratified at a regular meeting the day after McLaughlin resigned.
However, with the sudden resignation of McLaughlin, the Board agreed to quickly make Ewing the interim director that very night.
The contract that came with that appointment is what struck up some controversy when the new Board took over in 2012 and rebuilding efforts began.