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…”
Dontae Hart, 19, 286 Chestnut St., Chelsea, was arrested for carrying firearm without license, possessing ammunition without FID card, carrying loaded firearm without license, trespassing.
Edgar Nerys, 21, 55 Heard St., Chelsea, was arrested for carrying firearm without license, witness intimidation, possessing ammunition without FID card, carrying loaded firearm without license.
Marvin Hernandez, 31, 353 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested on warrants.
Rafael Pinero-Gonzalez, 43, 55 Union St., Chelsea, was arrested for distribution of Class A drug (2 counts), distribution of Class B drug, possessing to distribute Class B drug, furnishing false name, ss#, drug violation near school or park (3 counts).
Evangele Ramirez, 27, 46 Hancock St., Chelsea, was arrested for conspiracy, trafficking heroin over 200 grams, cocaine trafficking over 36 grams, distribute Class B drug (4 counts), drug violation near Washington Park (5 counts) possessing to distribute cocaine.
Aracelis Calderon, 37, 46 Hancock St., Chelsea, was arrested for distribute Class B drug (2 counts), conspiracy to violate drug law, drug violation near Washington Park, trafficking heroin over 200 grams, trafficking cocaine over 36 grams.
Leonardo Zapata, 38, 46 Hancock St., Chelsea, was arrested for conspiracy to violate drug law, warrant, distribute Class B drug (2 counts), drug violation near school/park, trafficking heroin over 200 grams, trafficking cocaine over 36 grams.
Felix Monclova, 34, 70 Lafayette Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating motor vehicle with suspended/revoked license, warrant.
Walter Robles, 28, 27 Burchester Pl., Lynn, was arrested on a warrants.
Manuel Marte, 36, 46 Hancock St., Chelsea, was arrested for trafficking heroin over 200 grams, trafficking cocaine over 36 grams, conspiracy to violate drug law, furnishing false name, ss#, Warrant, fugitive from justice.
Christine Lindsay, 31, 76 Duncklee Ave., Stoneham, was arrested on a warrant, possessing Class B drug.
Carlos Rivas, 23, 110 Orange St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Carlos Rivas, 23, 110 Orange St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Andrew Babigumira, 30, Homeless, was arrested for possessing Class B drug, resisting arrest.
Meghan Mastrangelo, 35, 106 Mountain Ave., Revere, was arrested for possessing Class B drug.
Charmaine Perkins, 49, 54 Cottage St., Chelsea, was arrested for drinking/possessing open alcoholic beverage in public.
Harold Williams, 60, 17 Court St., Boston, was arrested for larceny over $250.
Alfredo Murillo, 58, 137 Chestnut St., Chelsea, was arrested on warrants.
Jarrod Harris, 39, 152 Russell St., Everett, was arrested on a warrant.
As the result of a several month drug investigation resulting from several sources including concerned Chelsea residents, the Chelsea Police Department (CPD) along with MAGNET (Mutual Aid Gang Narcotic Enforcement Teams) arrested seven individuals and executed two simultaneous search warrants within one city block in the Prattville area resulting in seizure of over 900 grams heroin and multiple grams of Cocaine and or Crack.
In the Tuesday morning raids, Police also seized $10,000 cash during the execution of the search warrants at 46 Hancock St. and 55 Union St. in Chelsea.
Drug Control Officers developed information that those arrested had been operating in the area conducting drug sales from the two locations and also used the addresses as bases of operations to travel to neighboring jurisdictions selling narcotics. Those arrested are believed to be Dominican Republic Nationals. Some of those arrested provided the police with false identification and their identities were only confirmed after computer fingerprint analysis.
This case is ongoing and additional charges may be forthcoming.
The seven arrested face a multitude of charges including Trafficking over 200 grams of Heroin, Trafficking over 36 Grams Cocaine, Distribution of Heroin and Cocaine, Distribution within a Park Zone, Conspiracy to Violate Drug Laws
The following were placed into custody and will face arraignment in Chelsea District Court on Wednesday morning.
•Rafael Pinero Gonzalez, 35, of Chelsea
•Walter Robles, 36, of Lynn
•Felix Monclava, 34, of Chelsea
•Leonardo Zapata – aka Israel Santiago, 38, of Chelsea
The Chelsea Police Department (CPD) continued its bereavement this week as Officer Robert Longo died suddenly last Thursday, May 19, one day after the funeral that marked the tragic accidental death of Officer John Bruttaniti.
Longo, 49, of Saugus, had been on the CPD since 1996 and was part of the motorcycle division.
“It is with deep regret and a heartfelt sympathy that I must announce the sudden passing of Officer Robert Longo of Saugus,” said Chief Brian Kyes. “He loved to ride motorcycles and eventually became a member of the Chelsea Traffic Motorcycle Unit as Tango 11. He was an extremely proactive and dedicated public servant and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.”
Police Union President Mark O’Connor said the morale among the officers is good, but they are wounded.
“Our morale is good, but we’re just wounded emotionally by the two events coming one after the other,” he said. “The officers have stayed together and drawn comfort from one another. It’s certainly been the hardest period since I’ve been a cop over the last 10 years by a long shot. It would be hard for any workplace in any profession.”
O’Connor said Longo had the respect of his co-workers and was quick to provide back up.
“Bob was a guy who loved being a cop,” he added. “He was the first guy to back you up on the street. He worked traffic and would be the first to show up if you called. He had a lot of very good traits and was loyal.”
Longo entered the CPD as a Reserve Officer on June 1, 1996 and worked patrolling the Chelsea Housing Authority properties for five years. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was sworn in as a permanent member of the CPD and wore badge 134.
Kyes said that Bruttaniti and Longo were close friends, but the two incidents were unrelated.
There were no public funeral arrangements made known by press time.
Rising 4.2 percent over last year, City Manager Tom Ambrosino submitted his first budget from the City’s corner office on Monday to the City Council – and highlighted more expenditures for walking police patrols, two new firefighters and a newly established Recreation Division.
The Budget is up by $6.2 million (4.2 percent) and sits at a total of $155.3 million. The Budget is in structural deficit at the moment to the tune of about $500,000, but that is much less than is typical.
Spending for the City side of government is at $71.8 million and for the schools it is at $83.5 million.
City Councilor Leo Robinson, who has scheduled hearings on the Budget this month, said they will be considering all possibilities – especially related to public safety overtime.
“I think we really need to go through this budget and look at all the increases that are going to affect our community,” he said. “We need to look at overtime issues. We need to make sure we’re able to bargain fairly in negotiating contracts with the unions. And, hopefully, we’ll all have a better relationship and end up on the same team.”
A highlight for Ambrosino in the budget was the creation of a new Cultural and Recreation Division within the Health Department – a division to be headed up by Bea Cravatta of the Community Schools. That division will have four new employees and will look to fill the gap with programs for young people who might otherwise be enticed by street violence.
“We’re going to beef it up and have more programming,” he said. “It will be run by Bea Cravatta and will include four new positions, two full-time positions and two part-time positions. This will be something we’ll ramp up over the year and won’t be in effect on July 1. More than likely, people would see this making a difference next summer. It’s probably going to take a year to get that program running a full efficiency.”
He said that after the violence of the past winter and spring, it was time to provide some alternatives to young people.
“I’m happy we can offer more an by doing that attract more children and young adults,” he said.
In the same vein, he said his budget calls for doubling the amount of money spent on the Chelsea Collaborative’s Summer Youth Jobs Program.
Another call in the budget comes for more overtime money for police officers to walk beats in Bellingham Square and in the Broadway business district.
“I think walking beats give people a level of comfort,” he said. “How much of a crime deterrent it is could be debated. But there’s a comfort level gained from walking patrols and part of the goal is to make people feel better.”
School spending is also up this year and Ambrosino said the City is spending above its required amount for the first time in a long time.
“It’s time to support the school system,” he said. “If you want to attract good families to a city, you have to have a good school system. I am a strong supporter of the public schools.”
According to the most recent projections, the City will spend $2.8 million over the required amount.
Another highlight of the budget is the addition of two new positions to the Fire Department, something that also hasn’t been done in some time.
“I am certain they could use additional personnel and I want to slowly build that department up,” he said.
However, he said a fourth engine company – as has been called for routinely by the Fire Union – is not in the plans.
“I’m going to rely on the new chief for an assessment of that,” he said. “I’m not convinced of it at this point, but I’ll keep an open mind.”
Council hearings on the budget will be May 16 (6-9 p.m.); May 17 (6-9:30 p.m.) and May 18 (6-9 p.m.) in the Council Chambers.
Despite ongoing tensions between City Hall and the Firefighter’s Union, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said this week that he believe the Department does need more staffing.
And he’s putting the money behind that statement too, he said.
“My expectation in my Fiscal Year 2017 Budget will have at least one or two new firefighters proposed,” he said. “I’d like to really build that department up a lot in my tenure. If anything else,, it might cut back in overtime costs a bit. I do think they could use some more staffing.”
The Union has long railed that it needs more staffing, routinely citing that the staffing levels are the same as they were after receivership in the 1990s. The second piece of that argument is that since that time, Chelsea has grown significantly with new buildings and new high-rises as well.
In a letter to the Record last week, Union President Brian Capistran said the Department is understaffed because City Hall has failed to address the shortage in staffing.
“My members, on average, work 80-plus hours a week because of the department’s lack of adequate staffing levels. I have requested, multiple times in public forums, to increase the Fire Department staffing levels. The city has consistently ignored these requests and refuses to listen. What is most troubling is instead of working to correct the problem…The truth of the matter is that City government has failed the citizens of Chelsea by ignoring our continued requests for increased staffing. Staffing levels are currently the same as after the City went into Receivership in the early 1990s, all the while the population and development in the city continues to grow by tremendous levels.”
Ambrosino said he will likely present his budget to the City Council on May 1.