Treasurer Deb Goldberg Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign for State Treasurer

Treasurer Deb Goldberg Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign for State Treasurer

With the crowd overflowing from the room, State Treasurer Deb Goldberg kicked off her re-election campaign last night.  Goldberg, who was introduced by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, spoke of how her principles and values have guided her tenure as State Treasurer.

“Economic stability, economic opportunity, and economic empowerment are the values I was raised with and what guides my work as your State Treasurer,” Goldberg told the crowd. “I am proud of what we have accomplished and am excited to continue to work for the people of Massachusetts as your Treasurer.”

In introducing Goldberg, DeLeo said, “Deb understands that the role of the Treasurer’s office is not just about dollars and cents; it is about making people’s lives better.  The programs she has created have had a positive impact for our children, our families, our veterans and seniors across this Commonwealth. Deb Goldberg has made good on all the promises she made when she ran, and she has truly made a difference in people’s lives.”

DeLeo continued, “Massachusetts is lucky to have Deb Goldberg as our Treasurer. I know she can and she will do even more for our Commonwealth and our residents in the future.”

Since taking office in January of 2015, Deb Goldberg has brought a commonsense business approach to the management of the treasury’s various offices.  Leading on initiatives that include wage equality, increasing diversity, and expanding access to financial education, she has also helped families save for college, protected the state’s pension fund and developed programs for veterans and seniors.  For more information, contact Treasurer Goldberg’s campaign at

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Potential Wynn Branding Problems Likely to Move into Uncharted Territory

Potential Wynn Branding Problems Likely to Move into Uncharted Territory

One of the biggest questions floating around all of Greater Boston right now regarding the allegations against CEO Steve Wynn is whether or not the casino building here will carry his signature brand name at the top when it opens in 2019 – a brand that has gone from impeccable to potentially tainted in a few day’s time.

Experts in the field of marketing and branding – something that is heavily studied and critically important in today’s business world – are closely watching this case with Wynn.

Locally, Northeastern University Assistant Professor Charn McAllister, who teaches in the Management and Organizational Development Department at Northeastern, said there are so many firsts in this case when it comes to branding.

One of the major issues with the Wynn situation is that the company is heavily tied to the man for whom some seriously negative allegations are being made. The company is tied so heavily that it in fact carries a brand name that is now associated with that negativity.

“I think Steve Wynn in many ways is the heart and soul of Wynn Resorts,” McAllister said. “It’s a cult of personality. When people invest in Wynn, they are investing in Steve Wynn…Five or six months ago, you would expect a company to remove an individual from a position of leadership. How do you do that when the company is the person? Though these are still allegations, it’s like Weinstein in that the allegations were so horrible that the name of the business became poison. When your name is on the building and on everything else, at that point it puts the Board in a very difficult situation.”

That difficult situation comes from the fact that the Board for Wynn – a publicly traded company – has stated in federal filings that the loss of Wynn from their company would mean significant financial losses. Now, they are facing a decision about the loss of Wynn versus the losses from the bad name via the publicity.

“They have already stated in SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) filings that the loss of Steve Wynn would result in major losses to the company, but at the same time you just had a 14 percent drop in your stock price because of Steve Wynn,” he said.

The branding of Wynn has been carefully guarded since the company arrived in Everett. From the local office to the Las Vegas office, the company has been very careful since day one to remain on brand and on message in all communications and imagery. That’s because they have spent decades building the name ‘Wynn’ into an image and vision of luxury and something fun and clean.

The allegations against Wynn now, which he fully denies, are anything but clean and fun. Regardless of their validity or not – or the circumstances of them surfacing – McAllister said today’s court of public opinion is very harsh on a brand.

He said some of the things he will be watching as the investigation moves forward is whether the company has a hard time recruiting new employees as they ramp up for the 2019 opening due to the public perception of the brand.

“The brand integrity is going to be downgraded substantially,” he said. “Recruiting for the company will be harder likely because the new potential candidates may not be so eager to work for the company. It’s not that they are afraid so much of getting assaulted, but the image of the company. Do you want to go home and tell your parents or friends that you work for this brand that is now associated with such bad things?”

McAllister said other things he is watching is how the allegations might be interpreted internationally, since Wynn has locations in Asia as well.

He also said he believes more companies might re-think making their brand the name of a company leader or founder. He said, for example, that everyone knows Jeff Bezos is the leader of Amazon, but the company doesn’t bear his name.

More than anything, McAllister said the unprecedented part of the situation will be whether public perception forces the brand to change. That, of course, is a question that nearly all of Everett is wondering as well.

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9-1-1 Dispatchers Apologize for No Confidence Vote on Verdone

9-1-1 Dispatchers Apologize for No Confidence Vote on Verdone

By Seth Daniel

The Chelsea 9-1-1 Dispatchers Union made a public apology Monday night, Dec. 4, at the City Council meeting to former Assistant Emergency Management Director Robert Verdone for issuing a No Confidence Vote against him on Oct. 1, 2016.

Verdone was part of a management group in Chelsea EMS department that the union was very dissatisfied with over a number of years, but the union said Monday that Verdone was new and shouldn’t have been characterized with the rest of the management group.

It appeared that the No Confidence Vote still stood for Director Allan Alpert.

Dispatcher Paul Koolloian told the Council that since the vote, Verdone has shown he is knowledgeable and the union grew to appreciate and have confidence in his abilities.

“We stand firmly by our vote of No Confidence, but after careful consideration and reflection, we are in agreement to acknowledge that affixing Assistant Director Verdone’s name to the Letter of No Confidence was a poor decision on our part,” Koolloian said. “At the time the letter was drafted, Assistant Director Verdone was fairly new in his position and unfamiliar to the past history concerning several issues that plagued our Communications Center, most notably a continual pattern of harassment, second guessing and blatant disregard for our well- being several years prior to his arrival. Simply put, we got it wrong (with Verdone).”

Most notably, the union said they demonstrated poor judgment in including him, as it could and will have dire consequences for his future employment. Koolloian said they didn’t want to penalize Verdone for things done before his tenure.

It has been rumored that Verdone has been hired or is a finalist for the director’s position of a regional EMS center in Foxboro.

“There is no plausible excuse for our delay to publicly communicate this message,” said Koolloian. “We apologized from the bottom of our hearts for any inconvenience we may have caused you and your family and most importantly any damage we may have caused to your credibility and reputation.”

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Firefighters Union Prevails in Arbitration, City Disagrees Still

Firefighters Union Prevails in Arbitration, City Disagrees Still

By Seth Daniel

The City has been ordered by an arbiter to pay overtime that was in dispute from not backfilling a position last year with overtime pay.

The arbiter ruled on Oct. 9 that Chelsea had violated the collective bargaining agreement by not backfilling the position – mostly in 2016 – to avoid having to pay overtime. The open position was created when the City, by contract, created a new deputy chief position, leaving the Safety and Training Deputy Chief position open.

The dispute was whether or not that position had to be filled with overtime when appropriate. The City said it didn’t, and the union believed it did.

“It is undisputed that Chief Albanese was faced with an unexpectedly large overtime bill for the first quarter of his first fiscal year as Chief,” read the decision. “Contractual considerations, however, constrained his response.  I am not persuaded that the unilateral rescission of (regulations) was an appropriate exercise of management rights, pursuant to the parties’ collective bargaining agreement.  Instead, I determine that the parties’ present practice was consistent with a specific agreement the Union reached with respect to command staff changes; namely, that a new Deputy Chief position would be created, and that the Safety and Training Deputy Chief position would be backfilled, on a day to day basis, for certain absences.”

The arbiter ordered that the City repay the overtime to those that were affected.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said the award would amount to about $30,000.

“I am further persuaded that, by operation of (the law), the Chief was obligated to meet and discuss overtime overrun concerns with the Union,” it read. “As a result, I conclude that by unilaterally rescinding (the regulation), the City violated the collective bargaining agreement. As remedy, I determine that the effected Deputy Chiefs should be made whole for their loss of overtime opportunities.”

Ambrosino said he is considering filing an appeal, but the ability to overturn an arbiter is not likely.

“We think the arbiter completely missed  the boat and didn’t interpret the contract correctly,” he said. “However, it’s hard to overturn an arbiter’s ruling.”

The Chelsea Fire Union was not able to comment as its president, Anthony Salvucci, has stepped down from his position – according to other members.

Former President Brian Capistran said he is a candidate for president of the union, and that an election was to be held this week.

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Matt Siegel to Emcee Eighth Annual ALS & MS Walk for Living

Word spread quickly.

Excited residents and participants take off under the balloon arch at the beginning of last year’s LFCFL Walk for Living. This year’s walk will take place on Sunday, Sept. 25.

Excited residents and participants take off under the balloon arch at the beginning of last year’s LFCFL Walk for Living. This year’s walk will take place on Sunday, Sept. 25.

The Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL), the only urban model skilled nursing Green House in the world caring for individuals with ALS – was opening a second home for individuals living with ALS.

Within days, the new Dapper McDonald ALS Residence was filled with a diverse mix of residents in terms of ages, occupations and geographic locations. These residents, many of whom are completely immobilized, are now able to live more independently by controlling the lights, turning on the TV, opening doors and raising window shades – all through the use of their eyes.

The 8th Annual ALS & MS Walk for Living, a fundraiser to support these neurological specialty residences and its residents, will take place on Sunday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m. at 165 Captains Row on Admirals Hill. The Dapper McDonald ALS Residence marks the third neurological specialty residence within the award-winning Leonard Florence Center. The Steve Saling ALS Residence and the Slifka MS Residence opened in 2010. The revolutionary technology, dedicated support staff and nurturing home environment enable the residents to live as independently as possible.

“This year’s Walk for Living will honor Bill and Sharon Stein; major benefactors of our ALS Residences,” said Barry Berman, CEO of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation. “Their extreme generosity has changed the lives of our pALS.”

He added, “We also wish to thank our local communities, businesses, residents and their families. Clearly, their support of the Walk, year after year, is truly invaluable.”

Beloved radio personality Matt Siegel, host of “Matty in the Morning” on KISS 108 will once again act as emcee and kick-off the two-mile walk. Major corporate sponsors include Donoghue, Barrett & Singal, Lundgren Management (AHOA), M&T Bank, Kayem Foods Incorporated, ShiftGear, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, A-1 Lighting Service Company, Genzyme and Eastern Salt.

Independent Newspaper Group is the media sponsor.

Immediately following the walk, there will be a BBQ hosted by Chili’s, doughnuts provided by Dunkin Donuts, face painting, live dance performances, a petting zoo, a photo booth and a raffle. There is a $10 donation fee to participate in the Walk, which includes a Walk for Living tee shirt, the BBQ and all the activities. Registration begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, September 25; the Walk begins at 10 a.m.

The Walk for Living is one of the few walks that are dog-friendly.

Without a doubt, the extraordinary ALS and MS residents reflect the very essence of the Walk – and the Center. Ten years after his ALS diagnosis, Patrick O’Brien, produced and directed TransFatty Lives, which won the coveted “Top Audience Award” at the prestigious Tribeca and Milano Film Festivals, among other honors. Steve Saling, an architect who helped design the Center, was told to he had two to five years to live at the time he was diagnosed with ALS in 2008; today Steve travels throughout the country, giving presentations and speeches through a voice activated computer. Bonnie Berthiaume, the first multiple sclerosis resident to move into the Leonard Florence Center, noted that the LFCL changed her life by giving her the freedom to attend Red Sox games, the theatre and weekly outings.

Tony Epifani, 47, a World Cup Soccer player from Syracuse, whose wife, son and daughter reside in New York, was confined to one room day after day, ultimately feeling lost and disconnected from the world. Now, after moving to the Dapper McDonald Residence, he is fully ensconced in the day-to-day activities at the Center. Together, these ALS & MS residents demonstrate how they live life to the very fullest every single day.

“I am excited to emcee the 8th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living,” said Matt Siegel. “The Leonard Florence Center for Living residents are an inspiration to us all, with their courage, determination, humor and zest for living.”

Support the ALS & MS Walk for Living by sponsoring or joining a team, or making a much-needed donation at For more information, call Joelle Smith at 617-409-8973 or email

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A Brush with History:Kirshon Paint Celebrates 70th Anniversary

By Cary Shuman

Barry Kirshon, owner of Kirshon Paint, is pictured inside his well-known store. Kirshon Paint is celebrating its 70th anniversary at 124 Pearl St. in Chelsea.

Barry Kirshon, owner of Kirshon Paint, is pictured inside his well-known store. Kirshon Paint is celebrating its 70th anniversary at 124 Pearl St. in Chelsea.

The name Kirshon has been a staple in the Chelsea business community for 70 years.

The Kirshon brothers, Abraham, Martin, and Russell started Kirshon Paint in 1946 at the same location where it stands today, 124 Pearl St.

Barry Kirshon, son of the late Abraham and Ruth Kirshon, has carried on the store’s tradition of excellence in the role of owner since 1988.

He understands well the family’s legacy and the outstanding role models that his father and uncles were in terms of running a business professionally and with the highest ethical standards.

“My father and his brothers ran the business and had great employees,” said Barry. “They built up a great clientele. They took care of their employees very well and had kept them on board for many years. They built up the business and I took over in 1988.”

Barry remembers being at the store after school and on Saturdays when he was 10 years old. “I came here and worked and helped my family in the business.”

Barry was well known in Chelsea as a student at the Shurtleff School and Chelsea High School before graduating from Huntington Prep. He received his college degree from Northeastern University, where he studied Business Administration, Business Management, and Marketing.

Those courses would seem a perfect foundation for running a business and they were. He started working at Kirshon Paint in 1979. His brother, Howard, worked alongside him, but he left the business to enter the field of electronics.

Now in his 28th year as the owner, Barry said the key ingredients to Kirshon Paint’s success are, “treating people fairly, treating the employees fairly having loyal, trustworthy employees, being good to the community and giving back to the community.”

There is no question that Barry has given back to Chelsea. His family has sponsored Chelsea Little League teams, donated to many local organizations, and supported events with his attendance and volunteerism.

Barry was a past president of the Chelsea Rotary Club and remains a 20-year member and Paul Harris Fellow. He has been a member of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce for decades. The City of Chelsea honored Barry with an All-City Award as Businessman of the Year.

Barry is a beloved member of Temple Emmanuel where he is known for his generosity and kindness. For years, he has been an outstanding candlepin bowler and has played softball for the Rotary team.

The painting business has changed in the 70 years Kirshon has been in the city. Large national chains have brought competition but Kirshon Paint has maintained his loyal customer base.

“We are able to compete because we have better products, better service – having Benjamin Moore is a big plus because of the higher quality and lasting that Benjamin Moore provides,” said Barry. “We carry only quality products at reasonable prices and provide excellent service to our customers. Homeowners and property owners would rather deal with us because they have more confidence that we’re going to direct them with the right advice on how to use the products.”

Kirshon has become the place to go for Hollywood producers filming movies in the Boston area.

“Movie production companies buy their paint and supplies at our store,” said Kirshon. “We’ve done many of the movies that are filmed here, including Ted 1, Ted 2, the Equalizer and Ghostbusters. Our paint is being seen by millions of movie goers on the big screen.”

Has Barry met any of the movie stars?

“The only star that I’ve met is Kevin Spacey,” he replied.

  1. Bruce Mauch of Chelsea Clock and a past president of the Rotary Club, said Kirshon Paint’s sterling reputation is well deserved.

“Kirshon Paint is a great place to do business,” said Mauch. “They’re friendly, personable, and they have everything you need at a price that’s reasonable. He’s a great Rotary member and a pretty good golfer.”

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson is another fan of Kirshon Paint.

“I’ve known Barry for many years and he has run a business that is second to none,” said Robinson. “I’d like to wish him continued success.”

Barry lauds his staff of outstanding employees, Ryan Mazin, Eddie Hernandez, Audy Hernandez, and David Padgett-Pino for their dedication and commitment to every customer.

In addition to the business’s anniversary, Barry has another very important celebration this year. He and his fiancée, Darlene Nelson, will soon be married.

“Darlene is the love of my life and very special and very supportive of my business,” said Barry, who has two married daughters, Melanie and Kimberly.

Barry, who turns 60 this week, said retirement may be beckoning but not yet. “I’m looking toward the light at the end of the tunnel – not immediately but in the near future.”

Park Square and Pearl Street in Chelsea just wouldn’t be the same without a Kirshon overseeing operations at Kirshon Paint.

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Four-Alarm Fire Roars Through Cottage St Home

By Paul Koolloian

A four-alarm fire tore through a Cottage Street home on Friday evening, April 22.

Chelsea 911 started receiving multiple calls for smoke coming from a building at 61 Cottage Street about 5:30 p.m. When firefighters arrived heavy fire and smoke was coming from the third floor of the building and Act. Deputy Massucci ordered the working fire. The fire was also extending into the second and third floor apartments as well as the cockloft and roof.

As first arriving firefighters started attacking the fire, many other residents were still being removed from the building by police and firefighters. One police officer, David Delaney, is being credited with saving two young boys who were playing video game inside the home and had no idea there was a fire raging.

Due to the deteriorating fire conditions and exposure to adjacent buildings, as well as the inability to efficiently utilize ladder company ariels due to overhead power lines, Deputy Massucci quickly struck a Second, Third and Fourth Alarm bringing help from Boston, Everett, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Saugus, Somerville and Winthrop.

Several firefighters were injured fighting the fire and were transported to the hospital. Assistant Emergency Management Director Robert Verdone arrived on scene and located shelter for 16 residents that were displaced by the fire.

The fire cause was determined to be accidental due to improper disposal of smoking materials on the 3rd floor porch. This fire also highlights a common fire hazard in the City. Fires on porches spread quickly due to the open wood frame construction and heavy fire loads. This combined with outside air and wind cause rapid auto-exposure from floor to floor and structure to structure.

“Building owners and tenants are reminded to keep their porches free from debris,” said Chief Lou Albanese. “There should be no storage, and no furniture that is meant for the interior of dwellings used on porches. Also, the fire department has restricted the use of gas grills on porches. Grills should only be used at ground level away from the structure.”

Cataldo EMS and President Paul Boudreau of Boston Sparks Association, along with several club members, were also on scene providing refreshments and ReHab for firefighters.

Captain Richard Perisie and the State Fire Marshalls office are investigating the cause of the fire.

“This once again was strong work by Chelsea Fire,” said Chief Lou Albanese. “They made an aggressive attack with limited manpower upon arrival, and made a great stop, keeping this fire contained to the structure without spreading to nearby exposures.”

Flames burst from the third floor of a home at 61 Cottage St. on Friday evening, April 22. The four-alarm fire was complicated to fight.

Flames burst from the third floor of a home at 61 Cottage St. on Friday evening, April 22. The four-alarm fire was complicated to fight.

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Alpert Chosen as New CHS Athletic Director

By Seth Daniel

The Chelsea Public School announced on Wednesday that Amanda Alpert has been chosen the next Director of Athletics for the Chelsea Public Schools.

She will begin her role on July 1, and the role will be expanded to include director of physical education and health. The official title, which is new, is Coordinator of PE, Health and Athletics, and it is a full-time position.

The former Athletics Director, Frank DePatto, served for decades in the position, and had been serving on a part time basis.

“Amanda has served as Track & Field Coach from 2006 to the present and Assistant Junior Varsity Football Coach from 2009 to 2012,” said Supt. Mary Bourque in an official announcement. “Since her involvement with the Chelsea High School Girls Track and Field Team, the team has experienced five undefeated season and four conference meet championships. Amanda believes deeply that these awards are wonderful, but it is the Sportsmanship Award that she wants all our teams bringing home. Amanda was awarded the Commonwealth Conference Coach of the Year Award in 2012. Amanda will spend the next few weeks transitioning from guidance counselor to Coordinator for PE, Health, and Athletics. We thank Frank DePatto for serving and supporting her during these transition months.”

Alpert holds a B.S. in Psychology; a M.Ed. in School Counseling and she will soon receive her second Master’s Degree, a M.Ed. in Athletic Administration. She is the daughter of Chelsea Emergency Management Director Allan Alpert.

Alpert’s Chelsea career began in 2008 as a Special Education Inclusion Teacher at the Brown Middle School. Since 2009, she has been a guidance counselor at Chelsea High School.

“She understands the vision of the school district to integrate over the next few years: PE, Health, and Athletics as one comprehensive K-12 model where healthy eating and active living are the key skills our students leave us with; active living will include a vibrant sports program,” said Bourque. “Amanda’s experience as a guidance counselor brings to the athletics position a high regard and high standard for promoting Chelsea scholar-athletes.”

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City Manager Applications Expected to Being Rolling In

City Manager Applications  Expected to Being Rolling In

The City Council unanimously approved a planning document at Tuesday evening’s Special Council meeting that will be distributed to potential city manager applicants and will mark the beginning of the long-awaited application process.

The Council voted 10-0, with Councillor Chris Cataldo absent, after having met individually with members of the search firm, the Collins Center, over the past month to craft the seven-page document. A second reading on the document was waived due to the time constraints on the process after having missed several meetings due to snow. The document was originally supposed to come before the Council on Jan. 26.

The document states that all applications and salary requirements will be due on March 15.

“This is not a learning position,” read the document, under a heading of ’The Ideal Candidate.’ “The city manager will need to embrace Chelsea’s diverse cultures as an asset in shaping the City’s future. Chelsea seeks a city manager willing to commit to a tenure long enough to build a multi-year approach to ensure the sustainability of the City’s finances and service levels…Chelsea needs a city manager who can help set the stage for community-wide approaches to addressing the City’s needs; approaches that produce sound collaborative outcomes that circumvent polarization.”

The qualifications outlined in the document include a Bachelor’s Degree, with a preference for those with a Master’s Degree. It asks for at least five years prior experience as a city or town manager or assistant city or town manager or the equivalent public or private sector level experience.

“Experience as a highly visible leader in a public sector organization governed by an elected body is desirable,” it read.

The document also outlined eight challenges for the next manager, including Building on the Foundation, Maintaining a Positive Management-Labor Climate, Financial Planning and Service Delivery, Communication Skills, Public Safety, Public Education, Building a Management Team/Staff Development and Morale, and Public Role.

Under the Communication Skills category, the document outlined that the next manager must be comfortable in dealing with Chelsea numerous diverse cultures.

“The city manager must be skilled and comfortable serving as a major public spokesman for the city,” it read. “Equally important, the city manager must actively engage the many diverse constituencies within the city. Chelsea is a ‘Gateway City’ with a high proportion of the City’s population foreign born. The city manager must be able to engage a multiplicity of groups, gain an understanding of their needs and ensure that the City’s services effectively respond to those needs. The city manger must also be able to engage the members of the City Council in an ongoing dialog about the critical issues that face the city.”

On Public Safety, “The city manager will need to work closely with the City Council, police chief, residents, community groups, and other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure that the City remains vigilant and proactive in combatting criminal activity and continuing efforts to reduce overall crime…The city manager will have the opportunity to appoint a new leader for the fire service free from the constraints of the Massachusetts Civil Service system.”

Under the section outlining several personal characteristics the Council desires, was one about how the new manager will work with others.

“The city manager cannot be a micromanager,” it read. “He or she needs to delegate, while maintaining strict accountability. As the City’s chief executive officer, the city manager must be direct, facilitative and unambiguous.”

For those interested in applying, the Collins Center will be accepting the applications and prefers them to come electronically. A resume with a cover letter addressing job requirements should be e-mailed to Please combine all documents in a single file and include ‘ChelseaCM’ in the subject line. A PDF format it preferred.

More information is available at

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Chelsea Will Join Others to Appeal Fed Flood Maps

Chelsea Will Join Others to Appeal Fed Flood Maps

Chelsea only has a few square miles of land to play with, so new flood maps that basically envelope entirely new areas into the federal floor zone – meaning flood insurance would now be required – have become a high stakes threat to the City’s future.

With that in mind, Chelsea has joined forces this week with Boston, Revere and Winthrop to put together a formal appeal of the flood maps – which were drawn by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with Global Warming sea level rise predictions in mind.

The end result of those current maps is that many areas that were nowhere near a flood zone on the old maps are now fully within the zone. Those areas include the Everett Avenue area, the neighboring industrial area and parts of Eastern Avenue/Marginal Street. The end result would mean that commercial and residential property owners who never had to have flood insurance would now have to carry the expensive policies. Other areas where flood insurance is also required would now be in a riskier zone, making current policies go up in cost.

In Revere and Winthrop, some areas of those cities would become so costly that residents would be forced to raise their homes up on stilts or just abandon the coastal areas altogether.

It’s a quiet emergency, but one that is on the highest order all over the coastal areas of the United States.

“The final decision on flood maps is high stakes, with the potential of insurance costs skyrocketing for those who are outside of a flood plain now, but who could be placed into a flood plain as a result of the new federal maps,” said City Manager Jay Ash. “We’ve seen how sea level rises and weather pattern changes, all results of global warming, are impacting communities along sea coasts. Chelsea could be impacted, either directly by a weather event or indirectly through insurance cost increases. This is concerning and a reason why we continue to work with others to seek a better understanding of the issues and to determine if an appeal of the maps is warranted.”

City Planner John DePriest – who recently spoke about this very issue with City Councillor Leo Robinson at an MIT symposium – said the new maps also threaten new buildings.

“There is also a potential for an increase in development costs as new buildings will have to conform to flood zone construction standards,” he said. “We are concerned about the potential impact on future development. The new draft floodplain maps, which are based on sea-level rise, show an increase in flooding in parts of the community that do not currently flood, including large parts of our industrial districts. Other, larger cities may have an opportunity to absorb some of the extra flooding due to their geographical size, and direct growth to areas outside the floodplain. Chelsea, which is only two square miles in size, does not have that opportunity.”

Currently, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop were united by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and encouraged to join Boston’s effort – which is already underway.

MAPC Coordinator Cammy Peterson said she helped the communities catch up to Boston’s effort and to help choose a consultant that could help in analyzing the situation and, if need be, to begin the process of appealing the new flood maps.

In the end, she said, everyone agreed to contract with Woods Hole Group out of Cape Cod.

“One advantage is Wood Hole Group was already working with Boston on the same process and within Suffolk County,” she said. “So now, the same group is working with all four Suffolk County communities and they have all decided appeals would make sense.”

Now that the preliminaries have been decided, Peterson said the next step will be to set up a community officials workshop with FEMA so that a larger discussion and understanding of the maps and their effects can be had.

“Because of the potential impact of the new flood designations, we need to make sure that the methodology used to draw the flood lines is appropriate and accurately identifies potential flood areas,” added DePriest. “We have hired a consultant to work with us to review the new maps and the method in which they were developed, and to help us prepare an appeal if one is warranted.”

Flood insurance and mapping programs began in 1968, and for decades coastal homeowners had subsidized rates from the federal government. The subsidy and rate was based upon maps drawn by order of risk.

However, in 2012, Congress voted to reform the program, which is heavily in debt. The subsidies were stripped and new FEMA maps that incorporated Global Warming models were ordered. Every member of the state’s Congressional Delegation voted for the bill – including Chelsea’s Congressman Michael Capuano.

However, the backlash and unintended consequences from constituents – particularly those in New Orleans – launched a nationwide push back by coastal communities. In Greater Boston, House Speaker Bob DeLeo lobbied heavily in Washington, D.C. to change the 2012 law.

In March, President Barack Obama signed into law a new effort called the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act. While it did restore grandfathering provisions and put limits on rate increases, it continued to authorize the flood mapping effort using sea level rise predictions as a base. That left areas like Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop and Boston still very vulnerable to new flood zones.

Local officials said they expect preliminary reports on the appeal in August.


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