In a surprising development the Winthrop Town Council unanimously approved the appointment of former chairman Gerald Ogus to the Winthrop Licensing Commission at its meeting Tuesday night.
Donald J. Kearney (chairman) and Maureen Canavan (vice chairman) were also appointed to the commission but it was Ogusâ€™s appointment – whose name did not appear on the Council agenda – that likely caught those in the audience by surprise.
Town Council President Jeffrey Turco had submitted the name of Paulo Franzese for reconsideration for the position after the appointment was denied by a 6-3 vote at an earlier meeting.
With Franzese, an attorney and a former football star at Savio Prep looking on from the audience, the board voted by a 5-4 margin against reconsidering his appointment to the board – in essence electing not to appoint him to the position.
Councilors Paul Varone, Larry Powers, Philip Boncore and President Turco voted for Franzese. Councilors Nicholas DelVento, Jeanne Maggio, Linda Calla, and Russell Sanford, and Vice President James Letterie voted against the reconsideration of Franzeseâ€™s appointment.
Maggio addressed Franzeseâ€™s status of being a new resident in the town in relation to his candidacy for the position.
â€œI encourage all people, especially newcomers to our community to get involved – thatâ€™s an absolute and Iâ€™m glad that Mr. Franzese even considered the fact to do this,â€ said Maggio. â€œ But when you just move in to a town…you havenâ€™t even had an opportunity yet to investigate the town, to meet the people, to meet the vendors, to meet the people that youâ€™re going to be involved with when it comes to licensing.
â€œThis is nothing against the candidate [Franzese], his qualifications, his interest, his enthusiasm – I hope that it never wanes, but at this particular time, this particular committee needs a candidate who is established and understands the town.â€
Turco took exception to Maggioâ€™s comments prior to the roll call vote.
â€œI donâ€™t recall when I read the charter any language that says we have a waiting period for when people are qualified to serve our community,â€ said Turco. â€œWe donâ€™t charge people less property tax when they buy a home in our community. I respect peopleâ€™s decisions on it, but to say that itâ€™s because someone is new to town and you have to wait your turn – it seems to me to be a really odd position to take and somewhat regrettable of a position to take.â€
After the vote to deny Franzeseâ€™s appointment, Turco later made a motion to reappoint Gerald Ogus to the Winthrop Licensing Commission.
â€œI spoke with Chairman Ogus at the Licensing Board before the meeting,â€ said Turco. â€œHe told me that he would be willing to continue to serve as a Licensing Board member, but not in the capacity as chairman. He said if the Franzese appointment failed, then he [Ogus] would like to continue to serve the town in the capacity as a member of the Licensing Board.â€
Prior to the vote on Ogusâ€™s appointment, Councilor Nicholas DelVento said, â€œFirst we have to waive the rules.â€
After Turco asked if there were any objection to putting the matter before the Council and no councilor raised an objection, Councilor-at-Large Philip Boncore made the motion to approve Turcoâ€™s appointment of Ogus. Councilor-at-Large Larry Powers seconded the motion.
â€œI donâ€™t think anyone can question the credentials of Gerry Ogus,â€ said Turco. â€œHe has served as the chairman of our Licensing Commission for many, many years. He has served admirably and does a wonderful job.â€
The Council proceeded to vote 9-0 in favor of appointing Ogus to the Licensing Commission.