Town Councilor Russell Sanford asked the cut-to-the-chase question to Peter Lombardi, the town’s grant writer, that was on the mind of Russ’s colleagues, interested spectators in the cafetorium at the Cummings School, and those watching the Council Finance Forum on television: How much has the grant office secured in grants for the town?
Peter then no doubt stunned many in the room and at home when he replied, “$684,000,” which is an extraordinary number when you consider that Lombardi has been on the job for eight months and had to restart the grant writing process and try to establish a network.
To Mr. Lombardi, we say, keep up the great work, and we agree with the praise that came Mr. Lombardi’s way from Police Chief Terence Delehanty and Town Manager James McKenna, who all but suggested that Mr. Lombard has merited an extension of his hours (25) to full-time status.
Lombardi mentioned that he has approximately $1 million in grant applications being reviewed, including a three-year public safety grant for $710,000, part of which would be used for a resource police officer stationed at the middle school during the school day. To have a school resource officer under the administration of Chief Delehanty, at no cost to the town budget, would certainly be a great boost, not to mention the benefit of added safety and security for our students.
When the town voted in the last override election not to fund a grant writing position, it caught a lot of people by surprise. (It was a very close vote, by the way, with the town almost split on the issue).
However, the proof is now out there and with all due respect to the voters, their decision was penny wise and pound foolish. Peter Lombardi has shown how effective he can be in the position in view of the funds that have come Winthrop’s way because of his efforts (and plaudits to James McKenna who brought him on to his team).
The question now is which of the councillors is going to step up and make the suggestion that the town make the grant writing position full time and pay the base salary (while the other part of the position is reimbursed by the North Shore Home Consortium as is currently the case).
There is a word for it, and it’s called leadership.