Ana Gonzalez, 59, 90 Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested for shoplifting.
David Henao-Jimenez, 19, 121 Union St., Everett, was arrested for speeding, unlicensed operation of motor vehicle and possessing open container of alcohol in motor vehicle.
Maria Ortiz, 49, 172 Central Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Faisal Yerow, 23, 180 Central Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a probation warrant.
Christina Belcher, 412, 550 Ferry St., Everett, was arrested for disorderly conduct.
Edwin Ibanez, 30, 589 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for ordinance violation, alcoholic beverage/marijuana/THC, disorderly conduct, assault, disturbing the peace and threat to commit a crime.
Gabriel Castillo, 25, 9 Southend, Lynn, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle, speeding and warrants.
On Nov. 24, at 7:32 p.m., officers were dispatched to 1 Marlborough St. for a report of a male party following and threatening a female party. The female victim stated that the male followed her from the area of 400 Broadway. During this time she told officers he was making inappropriate comments to her. At one point he walked in front of her and blocked her path while escalating the comments to threats to cause her harm. Witnesses interceded, and the male fled the area.
A short time later he was positively identified and placed into custody.
Edwin Ibanez, 30, of 589 Broadway, was charged with marijuana violation, disorderly conduct (subsequent offense), assault, disturbing the peace, and threatening to commit a crime.
MAN PULLS KNIFE AT DAY CENTER
On Nov. 14, at approximately 9 a.m., CPD officers were dispatched to 738 Broadway, the Pentecostal Church resource center for a report of a male with a knife. Upon arrival, the victim stated that the man at the scene pulled a knife on him. A knife was found on the subject, and he was placed under arrest.
Michael Catino, 34, of Malden, was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.
DANCIN’ IN THE STREETS
On Nov. 24, at 11 a.m., officers observed an intoxicated female causing a disturbance on Broadway. The officers tried to ascertain the woman’s identity but were answered with threats and derogatory comments. The woman continued to disregard the officer’s commands while impeding pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic. She was placed under arrest.
Christina Belcher, 41, of Everett, was charged with disorderly conduct.
Chelsea announced this week that it’s partnering with OpenGov – a leader in government performance management – to further increase its effectiveness and accountability.
“Our new open data portal is a valuable resource for residents and businesses interested in understanding how their taxpayer dollars are being spent and learning more about the various projects that the City is engaged in,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We hope it will also help City officials to make data-driven decisions by giving them access to information that was previously in silos.”
The portal, which can be accessed at chelseama.ogopendata.com/ already features showcases on property values, demographics, crime and Narcan information, and expenditures.
The OpenGov Cloud is an easy-to-use, cloud-based solution for budgeting, operational performance, and citizen engagement. OpenGov’s open data portal aggregates, organizes, and visualizes various data sets (like budgets, permits, and citizen requests). It’s powered by CKAN – the open-source standard that the U.S. federal government, the European Union, and hundreds of other agencies around the world use for open data. It also includes tools like APIs that developers can use to build applications.
“Our open data portal is a win-win for Chelsea and the community,” said OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman. “On average, governments receive 20 percent less requests for information after they launch their OpenGov open data portals. That means citizens are getting the information they need, and it saves governments time and energy that can be spent elsewhere.”
Chelsea joins over 1,900 city, county, and state governments, special districts and schools that rely on OpenGov to be more effective and accountable, including the City of Boston.
When Nadine Mironchuk began to learn the history of the Garden Cemetery and the Civil War veterans buried there, she said it unlocked a responsibility within her to remember those there even when the rest of the city had forgotten them completely.
Nadine Mironchuk and Jim Tanner are on a mission to make sure the Garden Cemetery and the Civil War veterans and dead are never forgotten. After being rescued from total neglect in the 1990s, the cemetery is still run down, but in much better shape. This Memorial Day, they will hold a ceremony that hasn’t been broken since 1868 – the first Decoration Day in the U.S.
And she was as guilty as anyone else at one time, she said.
Now, she and Chelsea DAV Past Cmdr. Jim Tanner spend their days before Memorial Day inside the cemetery, fixing it up and visiting with anyone who wishes to know more.
They’ve done that for 28 years this year.
“I didn’t know anything about the cemetery,” she said, noting that she had been very involved in the City and had written for Chelsea newspapers. “I never really stopped by here. I had no idea about it, but when the City went into receivership in the 1990s, it happened that my nephew, Richard Campbell, wanted to do his Eagle Scout project here. He told us he wanted to clean it up, and we fell on the floor laughing. When we got back up off the floor, we told him to paint a crosswalk instead. But he still wanted to do it, so we all helped him out.”
What transpired was an epic cleanup of the long-neglected cemetery.
Mironchuk said they took out mounds of trash as high as a three-decker for a period of six weeks before Memorial Day in the 1990s.
The cemetery was a gem of the City at one time, established in 1841, and designed after the garden cemeteries concept. It was actually designed by the same folks who did Mt. Auburn and Forest Hills, and at one time – like those cemeteries – it actually had a duck pond on the south side (that was filled in after the Civil War). Staring in the 1970s, when the last burials occurred there, the property fell into disrepair. There was no grass, trash was strewn everywhere, and the stones had all been torn down or knocked down. There was drug use, homeless people living in the cemetery, and likely a lot of crime that went unreported.
After the service project, Mironchuk was driven to do a great amount of research on the cemetery and is probably the best authority on those buried there, particularly the veterans.
During that research, she said it was the reading of General Logan’s Orders for the first Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day) that moved her – where he said that we should never forget those who served in that war, the bloodiest conflict in the history of the United States.
“I do now what General Logan asked me to do, come here and put flowers and flags on the graves and remember what these people did,” she said. “I take his orders quite literally. They did their job fighting for freedom, and now it’s our turn…The story here now is the Memorial Day ceremony at Garden Cemetery has been unbroken since 1868 – the first Decoration Day. We don’t and won’t let it be broken in our time.”
And that’s why she and Tanner spend time decorating the graves of the men who died in the Civil War.
Mironchuk said 6,000 men answered the call in Chelsea, which is a high number compared to some other areas around the area. They mustered in at Camp Meigs in West Roxbury and made their way to Washington, D.C., where they met the Union Army in Virginia just before the First Battle of Bull Run.
In fact, she said, the first Chelsea deaths came before Bull Run at Blackburn’s Ford, where 10 Chelsea men died during a conflict three days before Bull Run.
“The town was shocked,” she said. “The mayor got on a train and went down there to see what happened and how he could help. He also went down there to help get good information back to families in Chelsea by telegraph.”
Chelsea men fought in the Peninsula Campaign, Williamsburg, Mechanicsville, Yorktown, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, The Wilderness, Gettysburg, and Cold Harbor. She said many Chelsea men were taken prisoner and went to the Andersonville Camp, where they died.
There are about 75 Civil War dead buried in the Garden Cemetery, and many are only memorial stones – as their remains were never recovered from the battlefield graves.
One example is Lawrence Kelly, a 24-year-old printer from Chelsea who died at Gettysburg. Kelly had been captured at the Second Battle of Bull Run, and during a prisoner exchange, he was released and paroled. Instead of coming back, he re-joined the Union Army and fought again in campaigns that included Gettysburg where he was killed.
His memorial stone in the Garden Cemetery reads, sadly, “A mother’s only child.”
The Garden Cemetery today is in much better shape than it was 20 years ago, but there is still a lot of work to do.
Mironchuk said a new, secure fence is of high priority due to the threat of vandals.
What’s more important is knowing and remembering, though – she said.
“It’s hard to conceive these people who went to war in the Civil War and saved a country that became the homeland for so many people – the last best hope for the world,” she said. “If you dig deep, you’ll understand the motives and reasons for what they did, and they did this for the millions and millions and millions of people who had yet to come. I didn’t know anything about this cemetery or the Civil War. The people who come to Chelsea wouldn’t know about the war or the Garden Cemetery either. They’ll be just as in the dark about it as I was most of my life. Chelsea has always been on the vanguard. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised 6,000 served and so many of them died for us.”
Metro Credit Union (MCU) has been selected to participate in the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Equity Builder Program, which assists local homebuyers with down-payment and closing costs assistance. Metro received $110,000 through the program, which is available on a first come first serve basis. Homebuyers, at or below 80 percent of the area median income and complete a homebuyer counseling program are eligible to receive up to $11,000 to be used in conjunction with Metro’s flexible loan programs and reduced fees.
“We are pleased to be able to offer this assistance to help ease some of the challenges associated with a home purchase. Homeownership is key to building wealth and creating financial stability, and programs that assist homebuyers are a critical component in ensuring that our communities continue to thrive,” said Robert Cashman, President & CEO, Metro Credit Union.
Since 2003, the Equity Builder Program has awarded more than $35 million in EBP funds assisting 3,150 income-eligible households to purchase a home.
To learn more about applying for assistance, please contact a Metro Mortgage Specialist at 877.696.3876 or visit MetroCU.org.
About Metro Credit Union
Metro Credit Union is the largest state-chartered credit union in Massachusetts with over $1.3 billion in assets, and serves more than 170,000 members. It is a growing, federally insured financial institution and a leading provider of a full range of financial services to anyone living or working in Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Plymouth, Barnstable, Bristol or Worcester counties in Eastern Massachusetts, as well as Massachusetts state employees and retirees throughout the Commonwealth. Founded in 1926, Metro Credit Union is a non-profit cooperative institution, owned by and operated for the people who use and benefit from its products and services. Metro uses superior customer service and technology to deliver a full range of financial products to consumers and businesses in eastern Massachusetts. Learn more about Metro Credit Union at www.metrocu.org
On Tuesday, May 1, International Workers’ Day workers, immigrants and supporters from across the region will join with labor and community organizations, starting at 4:00 p.m. in East Boston, and marching to Chelsea and Everett to participate in an act of unity and defiance against the Trump administration’s attacks against workers and immigrants.
Labor, community and immigrants’ rights organization will make clear that the Trump administration’s systematic attempt to criminalize immigrants not only assaults the civil rights of communities of color, but also opens a dangerous path of intolerance that is already having dramatic consequences in communities across the country as hate crimes against immigrants, and those perceived to be foreign continue to spread.
Organizers and participants will also highlight how unions have been defending their rights’ by collective resistance. Additionally, we will encourage our state legislature to pass safeguards that protect our communities and the rule of law by separating local law enforcement and the federal immigration deportation machinery.
The day will start with a multi-community roundtable at the Chelsea Collaborative, 318 Broadway, at 10 a.m. with Esther Lopez, secretary-treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW).
The march will start in East Boston at 4 p.m. in Liberty Plaza, then head to Chelsea City Hall. At 4:30 p.m., the combined group will march from Chelsea to Glendale Park in Everett. There, a rally and cultural program will take place in the park at 5:30 p.m.
The May 1 Coalition of Chelsea, Everett & East Boston includes the Chelsea Collaborative, La Comunidad Inc., City Life/Vida Urbana, International UFCW, UFCW Local 1445, Raise Up, Fight for $15, MIRA, American Friends Service Committee, MassCOSH, SEIU 32BJ, SEIU 509, Jobs With Justice, New England Carpenters Union, Mass. AFL-CIO, Community Labor United, Chinese Progressive Association, Brazilian Women’s Group, UUMassAction, Chelsea Uniting Against the War, IWCC, Projecto Hondureño, Workers World, EBECC, Painters Union, NOAH, Brazilian Workers Center, CAN, Comite de Hondureños Unidos de Massachusetts.
Henry Shaffer of Revere, formerly of Chelsea, died on December 24.
He was the beloved husband of the late Beatrice (Pirkovitz) Shaffer, loving son of the late Avrum and Ethel Shaffer and dear uncle of Johanna Alper and Amy Alper of Colorado, Susan Cohen of New York, Russell Pirkot of Greenfield, Donald Alper of W. Roxbury, Andy Cohen of Tennessee, Gerald Pirkot of Randolph, Murray Bass of New Jersey, Joshua Alper of Belmont and Daniel Cohen of Massachusetts.
Graveside services were held at Sharon Memorial Park, Sharon, on December 26.
Donations in Henry’s memory may be made to the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, 165 Captains Row, Chelsea, MA 02150. Torf Funeral Service 151 Washington Ave., Chelsea assisted the family with arrangements. For guest book and directions please visit www.torffuneralservice.com.
Of Lynn, formerly of Revere and Winthrop
David M. Rantz of Lynn, formerly of Winthrop and Revere, passed away on Monday, December 18. He was 82 years old.
The cherished son of the late Morris and Marjorie (Rehal) Rantz and Anne (Staretz) Rantz, he was the beloved husband of the late Marie (Blundo) Rantz, cherished father of Laura Rantz Moyer and Nadine Rantz Casey and their mother, Margaret Casey, Lisa Giambartolomei Luise and her fiancé, Michael Hayes, Diana Giambartolomei Santheson and her husband, Carl, Maria Giambartolomei Calla and her loving companion, Paulie Christie and the late Audrey Buchanan. He was the adored grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of eight; caring brother of Lois Vasel, who was his best friend, Joan Estabrooks, Florence Hodgkins, Selma Pomeranz, and the late Harvey Fischler, Marjorie Ferrara, and Freddie Rantz. He is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A Memorial Service will be held in David’s honor on Saturday, December 30 at 11 a.m. in the Chapel at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett. Inurnment will follow the service. At the family’s request, please OMIT flowers, donations may be made to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute PO Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284. For directions and guestbook, please visit: www.vazzafunerals.com.
Winifred Dorothy Churchill
Lifelong member of First Congregational Church and Winnisimmet Union of Chelsea
Winifred Dorothy (King) Churchill passed away Friday morning, December 22 surrounded by her loving family. She was 85 years old.
Born in Chelsea, the daughter of the late James and Dorothy (LeGrow) King, Winifred grew up in Chelsea, attended Chelsea public schools and graduated from Chelsea High School, Class of 1950. Although Winifred received her Associate’s Degree from Salem State College, she was a homemaker all her life. She tended to her home in Everett where she lived most of her life and cared for her husband and two daughters. In her later years, she and her husband moved to Peabody.
Winifred was a lifelong member of the First Congregational Church in Chelsea, as well as the Church’s social organization, the Winnisimmet Union. She will be deeply missed by all her family and friends.
The beloved wife of Charles Robert “Bob” Churchill of Peabody with whom she shared 65 years of marriage, she was the devoted mother of Nancy Ellen DiMinico and her husband, Chris, Janet Elizabeth Herbert and her fiancé, John Vitale, all of Chelmsford and she is also lovingly survived by five grandchildren: Timothy, Christy and Lauren DiMinico, Katherine Herbert Muniz and her husband Derrick and Rachel Herbert, all of Chelmsford.
Funeral services will be conducted at the First Congregational Church, 26 County Road, Chelsea on Friday, December 29 at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held at the Carafa Family Funeral Home, 389 Washington Avenue, Chelsea today, Thursday, from 4 to 8 p.m. Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett.
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.”
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.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Chief Leonard Albanese hotly disputed claims made by the Chelsea Firefighters Union last week that the City was unwilling to fund kevlar helmets to protect them in an active shooter situation, indicating that the Union would not have even had the ballistic vests that came in handy during the May 22 active shooter situation on Warren Avenue if they had done things their way.
Both contended they did not make comments indicating that the helmets couldn’t be funded because they would likely never be used, but instead fought back the Union’s attempts to not put ballistic vests into service on May 5, as they wanted to get collective bargain a pay raise first.
Had he and the chief not been insistent with the union, Ambrosino said the vests would have been hanging unused in the Station on May 22 when a man shot at police and firefighters on Warren Avenue.
“We did not use those words, never did,” he said on Monday. “The union did not want to deploy the vests until they had all the equipment at once (vests, goggles and kevlar helmets). The Chief’s position was that it’s better to have some protection than not to have any protection right now. We told them we wanted to deploy the vests and then we would deploy the helmets as soon as the budget is passed in July…So, we deployed the vests on May 5. If the union had its way, they wouldn’t have had vests on Warren Avenue that night. The vests would have been sitting in the station. As the chief says, that wouldn’t have been a help to anyone.”
Albanese took great exception to reports in the Boston media and in the Record based on complaints by the Union and its president, Anthony Salvucci, last week in the wake of the incident on Warren Avenue. The Union contended that it wasn’t safe to deploy things piecemeal and that they had been told the helmets would likely never be used. Salvucci suggested that the helmets be made available immediately using Free Cash, rather than after the budget is passed in July.
Albanese said he has made the department into a leader on active shooter training and equipment since coming to the City in 2016.
He said there was really no plan in place at the time, and he quickly made it a priority to get the training and equipment for the department. That priority list included following a funding plan for the safety equipment.
The vests came through a grant to the police and fire departments, with training on the vests coming in April and the vests ready for deployment in early May.
However, he said those vests were nearly put on hold by the Union due to the desire to collectively bargain a pay raise for having members use them.
“On May 4, 2017, I received an email communication from President Salvucci requesting that these bullet proof vests not be placed on the apparatus on May 5 until the union has a chance to Impact Bargain this change,” read a letter from the chief to the City Council. “Secondly, he requested that the Local receive and increase in their Hazardous Duty Pay for providing this service. Because this policy has been in effect since September 2016, and by our mission and duty as firefighters, I could not in good conscience delay the issuance of this equipment that would undoubtedly protect our firefighters should the need arise…Had I granted President Salvucci’s request, these ballistic vests would have been on the floor in my office last Monday, instead of on the bodies of our firefighters.”
Albanese said it is not a funding issue, but one of timing.
“This is not a funding issue,” he wrote. “It is a timing issue. We cannot solve every problem we face at once. The department has set a plan in place and we are following it successfully. We are researching and consulting to make sure we get the right equipment. At the same time we are addressing training needs for the various other threats we face as an All Hazards Fire Department.”
He said he is confident that the Chelsea Fire Department is a leader in responding to such an incident – and in fact they were the first department to use the training that has them protected by a SWAT team when extinguishing a major fire in an active shooter situation.
“It is undeniable that our department was ready to face the challenge of Warren Avenue,” he wrote.
Ambrosino said the helmets are in the Chief’s proposed budget, and will be ordered if the Council approves that budget this month.
The entire Chelsea 911 dispatch team, backed by the presidents of the Fire Union and Patrolmen’s Union, announced at Monday’s City Council meeting they have voted ‘no confidence’ in their long-time manager Allan Alpert and his assistant Robert Verdone.
During the Public Speaking portion of the Council meeting on Monday, eight telecommunicators from 911 appeared and read a prepared statement outlining what they said were years of harassment and micromanagement by a management team that had no experience in 911 operations. The also announced a vote of ‘no confidence’ in management.
“We come to you this evening to ask for help,” read a member of the union. “To put it simply, we can no longer stand silently by and allow the management of our department to continue their long standing practices of harassment, bullying, second guessing, interrogation, and blatant disregard for the well-being of this group to continue. We are dejected, demoralized and quite frankly, despite the combined 184 years of service that we have given this City, we now detest coming in to work…Our supervisors, Director Alpert and Assistant Director Verdone are not, nor have they ever been, 911 dispatchers for this City…Despite not knowing how to do all this, we are constantly critiqued, reprimanded, second guessed and told that we are in the wrong at an alarming rate…We, the dispatchers of Chelsea 911, in a unanimous vote, have no confidence in the abilities of Director Allan Alpert and Assistant Director Robert Verdone to adequately supervise, manage and retain the highly skilled communications professionals that make up our group. We fear the culture of harassment and bullying will continue unchecked without our speaking up…”
Alpert was not able to be present at the meeting to hear the critique due to it being a Jewish high holiday, but even had it not been, he said later he was “blindsided” by the action.
“I was totally blindsided when I got a report on the presentation Monday night,” Alpert said on Wednesday morning in a phone interview. “I have not heard any complaints at all with our union steward with regard to emergency operations or being bullied. We have strong and stringent ethics on workplace situations. To bully somebody here is a very serious charge. No one has complained to Human Resources, the City Manager or me.”
He said he respects the work of the telecommunicators, but indicated they may not understand all the requirements and mandates put on his office by the state.
“I have all the respect in the world for our 911 telecommunicators,” he said. “Sometimes people don’t understand the difference between management and operations. Our job is to ensure the delivery of service. Sometimes in this business or any other business, the labor side has a different opinion of what they should be doing. On the labor side, they don’t know our requirements and what is mandated from us. We’re constantly getting updates from fire and police and state 911 for things we have to do.”
Said Verdone, “We maintain an open door policy and anyone can come talk to us in confidence at any time.”
Said Alpert, “They don’t always understand everything we do and obviously it’s had a negative effect on operations. But no one has ever approached us to tell us this was a problem. We were blindsided.”
However, the powerful Fire Union and Police Patrolmen’s Union were on hand Monday night to back up the 911 dispatchers, and had some very powerful words in opposition to Alpert’s management.
“We stand in support of the 911 dispatchers,” said Brian Capistran, president of the Firefighter’s Union. “The (manager and assistant manager) may see this no confidence vote as a medal of honor…You on the Council should be very concerned about what you just heard…I’ve been up here many times and told not to get involved in daily operations. This is a problem. You were elected to be a voice. This is when you have to be that voice. It’s not who is playing on what field or someone who has dumped trash on Grove Street. These are the issues you should pay attention to…If they’re not safe, we’re not safe. We hope you will ask City Manager Ambrosino to look into it and have an investigation.”
Mark O’Connor, president of the Police Patrolmen’s Union, said his membership also supports the dispatchers.
“I’m here out of loyalty to the dispatchers,” he said. “I’m also here out of concern…I think you should take this seriously.”
The dispatchers added that they hoped the Council would look into the actions of Alpert and Verdone.
“We ask this Council to look into these actions, inactions, expenditures and operations of this department and assist us with a solution that will allow us to continue to serve, which is all we want to do,” read the letter. “We are not seeking monetary compensation, more benefits nor staffing increase, just the ability to do our job unhindered…”