Council President Damali Vidot and Councillor Roy Avellaneda have been battling over a campaign finance violation issued by the state to Vidot earlier this year, with both having radically different views on the matter.
This week, the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) released its fall report that contained the paperwork on the violation by Vidot, which was hammered out last June between OCPF and the Vidot Campaign.
Officially, the OCPF found that Vidot and her campaign did not initially report at least $1,341 during campaigns in 2016 and 2017, and received $180 in cash contributions without keeping appropriate records. Some of the cash contributions were received at a raffle, according to OCPF, and political committees are not allowed to hold raffles.
The resolution was that the Vidot Committee amended its reports and the candidate agreed to forgive $1,000 in loans that she made personally to her committee as punishment.
Vidot said it was simply oversight, and the fact that she is new to politics.
“Basically, I’m new at this whole politics thing and last year in the midst of the re-election, our campaign missed some deadlines,” said Vidot this week. “It’s not that we didn’t want to file it. My treasurer works a full-time job and I was buy and we didn’t get it done. When we did, we made an error and didn’t capture some items. It wasn’t a case of there being any money missing or anything like that. OCPF notified me in May of the problem and we worked it all out by June…The whole reason I got into politics is I don’t like the things that happened that weren’t transparent. I would never do something that was hiding money people gave me. I have cried at a $20 donation…Everything balanced out. There was not missing money. Every dollar donated to me went to mailers, phones, office space, and what it was supposed to go to.”
However, Avellaneda, who Vidot said reported the matter to OCPF, had a far different view of the matter. It was something he first brought up at a Council meeting a few weeks ago, but was not allowed to talk about due to being ruled out of order.
By his count, Vidot should have paid penalties of more than $8,000 had the law been enforced to the letter.
“The law was broken,” he wrote. “Actually, laws plural, were broken. Specifically, Mass General Laws pertaining to campaign finance… The City of Chelsea regularly fines its residents on any number of issues from not having an up-to-date resident parking sticker, trash bags overflowing, and not shoveling snow on sidewalks within 48 hours… Wait more than 30 days (to pay) and the City Clerk sends notice to the RMV to suspend your driver’s license and registration.
Yet here we had an elected official not being disciplined by the City Clerk for non-compliance of state finance laws deadlines, which when finally filed, showed unreported donations and expenses. One could argue that this is a show of favoritism towards an individual because of the position they hold. My call to have the City Council address this with the City Clerk was not only voted against, but Vidot’s supporters deflected and made personal attacks on me.
So much for transparency. So much for insuring the integrity of the electoral process in Chelsea.”
Vidot said that Avellaneda is incorrect about the City Clerk’s and City Solicitor’s role in the matter. She said they did contact her several times about filing the report, and that if she did not file, they would have to turn it over to the state for levying fines.
At that point, Vidot said they did file, but they filed it incorrectly.
“Roy puts at fault the state, the City Clerk, the City Solicitor and everyone else,” she said. “The City Clerk and City Solicitor reached out to me several times, and when I filed it was out of their hands. Roy needs to just back up. We could get so much done if he played nicely…The focus needs be on the 02150 where it should be…If there’s any fault, it’s with me.”
Avellaneda said he takes offense to not being allowed to discuss the matter in public at the Council.
“While President Vidot can use her powers as president to both impede motions and orders that she doesn’t agree with and stifle discussion on the floor of the City Council Chambers, she cannot stop my ability to reach out to the Citizens of Chelsea,” said Avellaneda.
Vidot said she is taking as a learning experience, and noting that it is a confusing process for a lot of candidates. She said will be calling for a joint City Council/School Committee subcommittee that would host an OCPF seminar on campaign finance.
The Top 100 City employee earners list (below) from 2017 was released this week and it showed that, as has become routine, that it is dominated by police and fire personnel.
A total of 41 of the top 100 came from the Police Department, though it should be noted that some of those earnings come from paid details which aren’t paid for in total by City funds. In the Fire department, 31 members were on the Top 100 list. That rounded out 72 police and fire earners in the Top 100.
The School Department came in third with 24 members on the Top 100 list, but most of them falling in the bottom one-third of that list.
The highest paid City employee in 2017 was Chief Brian Kyes, who said he was grateful for being able to serve as chief in his hometown. He made $219,752 in 2017 – the first year that he did not work details as the chief.
“My current salary is based on an employment contract that was negotiated between the City Manager and myself last year in an effort to allow me to finish my career here in Chelsea,” he said. “Based on the terms of the contract I have agreed to serve as the Police Chief for an additional five-year term and continue to do the job that I absolutely love. Although there are lucrative opportunities beyond the borders of our city whether in the legal world or public safety, my commitment remains here in the city of Chelsea.”
Kyes said his is now beginning his 32nd year with the Chelsea Police, with the last 11 as chief. He said others have recruited him from outside the city and state, but he has decided to stay here under his new contract.
“Over the past few years I have been recruited by other agencies both within Massachusetts and outside the state to either lead or compete to run their departments,” he said. “I have also had offers from the private sector as well. This all being said I honestly know that there is no police department like the one that we have here in Chelsea with the enduring partnerships that serve as the life-blood of our agency. This is in no small part to the dedication and commitment of the men and women, sworn and non-sworn who make up our department.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino appeared at number eight on the list, making $180,209. He said the list is dominated by police and fire because they work hard for their money in Chelsea.
“Public safety officials are paid good money and in this city they earn it,” he said. “This a difficult city to be a police officer and a firefighter. They put their lives on the line all the time. I don’t begrudge the salaries they earn. They work hard for it here.”
Name Job Location Gross Pay
Kyes, Brian Chief of Police Police Department 219,752.46
Fern, Joseph Sergeant Police Department 205,227.09
Dunn, Thomas Captain Police Department Police Department 203,853.47
Batchelor, David Captain Police Department Police Department 196,668.15
Quatier, John T Deputy Chief Fire Department 194,200.46
Houghton, Keith E Captain Police Department Police Department 191,969.00
Dana, William J Captain Police Department Police Department 183,002.94
Ambrosino, Thomas G City Manager City Managers Office 180,209.33
Bourque, Mary Superintendent 225 Superintendent’s Office 178,697.92
Houghton, Robert Deputy Chief Fire Department 171,818.69
Delaney, Daniel Lieutenant Police Department Police Department 167,164.94
Moschella, Robert F Patrolman Police Department 166,551.53
Addonizio, Michael J Sergeant Police Department 165,570.61
Giancola, Paul R Deputy Chief Fire Department 159,609.20
Krasco, William N Patrolman Police Department 159,422.55
Eaves, Paul Deputy Chief Fire Department 157,387.51
Cameron, Robert T Deputy Chief Fire Department 157,286.42
McGarry, Edward J Deputy Chief Fire Department 157,039.03
Masucci, Michael F Deputy Chief Fire Department 155,518.72
Conley, Scott Patrolman Police Department 155,203.52
Purcell, Stephen M Lieutenant Fire Department Fire Department 153,053.03
Albanese, Leonard A Fire Chief Fire Department 152,062.60
Nelson, Edwin Lieutenant Police Department Police Department 151,547.85
McCue, Gerald A Director Exempt Business Office 149,881.45
Thompson, Michael Captain Fire Department Fire Department 147,058.30
Doherty, Paul W Captain Fire Department Fire Department 146,525.98
Abell, Lyle Robert Patrolman Police Department 146,403.33
Denning, Robert Captain Fire Department Fire Department 146,005.01
Gurska, Michael P Captain Fire Department Fire Department 145,917.85
Brizuela, William F Sergeant Police Department I45,799.72
Carroccino, Richard Captain Fire Department Fire Department 143,729.68
Noftle, John Sergeant Police Department 143,399.35
D’alba, Anthony F Sergeant Police Department 142,601.43
Rizzuto, David M Lieutenant Police Department Police Department 142,577.35
McLain, Thomas H Lieutenant Police Department Police Department 142,257.64
Dunn, Brlan A Lieutenant Police Department Police Department 142,075.70
Flibotte, David A Sergeant Police Department 139,282.59
Breau, Linda Deputy/Asst. Superintendent Curriculum & Instruction 138,723.52
Johari, Priti Principal 220 Chelsea High School 137,504.49
Betz, David K Lieutenant Police Department Police Department 136,752.02
Merritt, Philips Captain Fire Department Fire Department 135,078.38
Bevere Maloney, Jacqueline Principal 220 Early Learning Center 134,399.98
Gonzalez, Hector L Sergeant Police Department 134,150.63
Tarraza, Luis 0 Patrolman Police Department 132,435.96
Keefe, Edward P Deputy City Manager City Managers Office 131,692.35
Ulwick, Wayne Deputy Chief Fire Department 131,310.43
Lubarsky, Adele Principal 220 Edgar Hooks School 130,524.94
Ramirez, Emilio Patrolman Police Department 130,435.94
Wilcox, Richard J Lieutenant Fire Department Fire Department 129,511.67
Nee, Michaela Sergeant Police Department 129,262.60
Tiro, Anthony J Lieutenant Fire Department Fire Department 127,929.36
Lee, Michael W Captain Fire Department Fire Department 127,554.60
Gobin, Rony R Captain Fire Department Fire Department 126,838.72
Rogers, Philip R Captain Fire Department Fire Department 126,715.84
Rosenberg, Cindy D Director/Sped Special Education Office 126,704.50
Bower, John C Lieutenant Police Department Police Department 126,621.69
Lam,Longt Patrolman Police Department 126,017.51
Torres, Jose Firefighter Fire Department 126,016.67
Grajal, Randy A Teacher Edgar Hooks School 125,460.58
O’Brien, Joanne M Patrolman Police Department 122.517.49
Bellomo, Richard R Patrolman Police Department 122,434.05
Barber. Linda Assistant Principal 220 Days Chelsea High School 122,340.06
Andreottola, Miguel Director- Admin Union Information Technology 122,263.17
Martinello, Michelle Principal 220 Eugene Wright School 121,300.01
Schmidt, Ronald L Assistant Principal 220 Days Chelsea High School 120,863.05
Bevere, Joseph Sergeant Police Department 120,723.24
DeleiDi, Adam M Principal 220 William A Berkowitz School 119,725.05
Sanchez-Gleason, Magdalena Principal 220 George Kelly School 119,725.05
Chung, Starn Patrolman Police Department 119,622.05
Fisher, Cheryl W City Solicitor Law Department 118,212.79
Kent, Sarah A Assistant Super 220 Superintendent’s Office 118,180.01
Casucci, Augustus M Patrolman Police Department 118,042.21
Talbot, Michael Principal 220 Clark Avenue School 117,799.89
Noone, Michael J Patrolman Police Department 117,652.42
Sanchez, Miguel Lieutenant Police Department Police Department 117,208.79
Crowley, Kevin M Lieutenant Fire Department Fire Department 116,736.44
Griffin, Robert E Lieutenant Police Department Police Department 116,607.77
Perisie, Rjchard Captain Fire Department Fire Department 116,068.89
Almquist-Cevallos, Kristen L Assistant Principal 220 Days Chelsea High School 115,766.02
Cooney, Joseph F Director Of Buildings & Grounds Buildings & Grounds 115,378.83
Maldonado, Jonathan Patrolman Police Department 114,386.68
Valdes, Reinaldo Firefighter Fire Department 113,953.54
Dent, Sarah E Assistant Principal 220 Days Chelsea High School 113,563.97
Rodriguez, Luis R Patrolman Police Department 113,325.68
Vazquez, Sylvia E Teacher George Kelly School 113,032.18
Ostler, Ryan P Patrolman Police Department 112,945.35
Glass, Carter R Lieutenant Fire Department Fire Department 112,886.11
Conlon, Joseph Lieutenant Fire Department Fire Department 112,711.04
Stutto, Joseph C Patrolman Police Department 112,582.33
Peters, Albert W Lieutenant Fire Department Fire Department 112,509.80
Griffin, Kevin M Assistant Principal 205 Days Joseph A. Browne School 112,400.07
Shea. Julie C Principal 220 Joseph A. Browne School 112,196.08
Davis, Cove J Assistant Super 200 Superintendents Office 112,086.00
Meyers, Nathaniel S Principal 220 Frank M. Sokolowski School 111,946.05
Caissie, Arthur J Lieutenant Fire Department Fire Department 111,895.39
Taverna. Bertram Director Of Public Works Admin dpw 111,811.66
Vega. Carlos J Patrolman Police Department 111,585.26
Aliberti, Mark A Lieutenant Fire Department Fire Department 111,494.68
Lawlor, John W Lieutenant Fire Department Fire Department 111,374.27
Garcia, Stephen Patrolman Police Department 111,132.25