Letters to the Editor

The truth behind our water bills

Dear Editor,

The campaign propaganda charging that Council President Peter Gill is alone responsible for water bills is malarkey. It is the entire council that sets the water and sewer appropriation. If Mr. Turco had a solution to our water bills, he could have proposed something when he was in office. Instead rates were held insufficiently flat and the fund went into deficit. The problem then had to be solved by Peter Gill and the council. It was and today the fund is solvent.

Peter Gill has created a cooperative atmosphere within town government. He does not just talk a good game he works hard on needed improvements and to fix what’s broken.

I’m supporting  Peter Gill because of his bold leadership. He is fixing what needs to be fixed: the finances of the town; the schools; the parks; the streets; and yes, the water/sewer fund problem.

And Winthrop is a better place than it was two years ago.

Tom Reilly


Please consider Peter Gill in election

To my fellow citizens:

I am writing to you today to ask for your help in electing Peter Gill as our next Town Council President on November 5th. As the former Building Commissioner for our beautiful Town, I have a unique perspective of the Management and Leadership styles of both candidates as I served under both their administrations. As a lifelong resident proceeded by three generations, I care deeply about Winthrop’s past, present and future. As a department head for five years I was exposed to the internal workings of our Town government.  One of the most noteworthy things I’ve taken from my experience is how dedicated every Town employee is to working for the betterment our community. Despite the lack of budget funding and adequate staff these individuals take it upon themselves to contribute the extra time and effort to fulfill their department’s responsibilities, because they truly care about this community. These individuals that dedicate themselves to this important work at a minimum should be treated fairly and respectfully by the local elected officials.

Elected officials that seek to interject themselves into the day to day operation and management of the Town do so in violation of our Town Charter and to the detriment of the Town Managers ability to direct the Department Heads. Under these conditions the lines of normal policy and procedures of a fair government become askew where special agendas and favoritism rule the day. Management is no longer on sure footing when making decisions as retribution comes swiftly. This heavy handed style of leadership is counter productive and serves only its source.

Over the last two years Council President, Peter Gill has corrected these mistakes of the prior administration by returning our local government’s day to day operation back to the Town Manager, where it belongs. I believe this is one of the most important decisions that Peter Gill has made in his administration. Under Peter Gill’s leadership he has empowered the Town Manager, and he in turn has empowered the Department Heads. The beneficiaries are the citizens of Winthrop who are better served by the local Government.

Peter Gill has no aspirations of seeking election to a more important State office. He is focusing all his attention on what’s more important to him; his family and the leadership of the Town of Winthrop.

Please join me in voting for Peter Gill on November 5th.

Jim Soper


Winthrop is a fine town

Dear Editor:

I was elated.  It was my first teaching position and I replaced the forty year printing teacher, Tim Sheehan.  The compact area that Mr. Sheehan called his classroom had lost its heat years earlier.  I expected to buy and wear shirts and ties for my new teaching position, but not heavy woolen socks and boots.  Thankfully, I got a smile from Principal Duplin.  I don’t know if he was showing compassion for my classroom situation, or he was looking forward to the new high school.

It was a warm winter day in 1966 when we were asked to carry what we could and walk from the old high school, located at the site of the present middle school, to the new Winthrop High School near the golf course.

In 2001 I retired from the Winthrop School System, 20 years teaching graphic arts at the new high school (as it was often referred), 14 years as the Director of Technology, and 2 years as the Winthrop High School Principal.  I know the school building all too well, from the underground crawl spaces to the roof.

This October 5th, I took the high school building tour accompanied by three students.  At the close of the tour I asked the students what they felt was the worst problem with the school.  I mentioned what I had seen as the most obvious from the tour. Is it the decayed cement on the outside?  Is it the complete lack of water bubblers?  Is it the poor condition of the locker rooms and ladies rooms?  While they agreed that all of those were unacceptable conditions, none of those would rank as number one. The three young ladies all agreed that it was the horrible air that they are breathing every day.

Should children be exposed to poor air quality?

Should children be exposed to a decaying building?

Should children have covered or missing water bubblers?

Should children have missing bathroom doors?

Etcetera, Etcetera

Time moves on, and I reflect on my many meaningful and satisfying years with the school system: the students, the staff, our friends and neighbors.  I reflect on the horrible environment to which I was exposed from September to December in 1965, and I stand aghast at the horrible environment in the middle and high schools in 2013.  Winthrop is a fine town, my town, your town. The children of Winthrop deserve better.

Jim Noiles, B.S.Ed, M.Ed, D.Ed


Firefighters endorse Turco for President

Dear Editor:

We are pleased to announce our endorsement of Jeffrey Turco for Council President.  We, Winthrop Firefighters Local 1070, have not endorsed a Candidate in state or local election since Speaker Robert Deleo, whom we still love, ran for Selectman over 22 years ago. Both candidates, Mr Gill and Mr. Turco, were kind enough to visit with us, and answer our questions.   After we held a vote allowing every member to vote for up to 4 days, the vote came back and it was clear.  We believe this election is a crossroads election for Winthrop and we need to collectively get involved

“Jeffrey Turco has proven himself to be an honest, fair, reliable, and most importantly a very hard working public servant. As firefighters we answer calls both big and small, and we expect our elected officials to do the same.”  Said, Union President Christopher Saggese.   Attorney Turco has proven himself as a hard-worker, who knows the issues very well. There are simply too many important things going on in town right now not for Winthrop to have the best possible leadership. The MWRA plant at Deer Island represents a significant public safety issue to our Town and, with the mitigation package set to expire in the next couple of years, we need a leader who will focus on the public safety of Winthrop residents    A proposed new Casino at Suffolk Downs will add to our public safety burden.  We want Jeff Turco at the table fighting for us.  These mitigation deals directly impact Public Safety, which is already vastly below minimum standards.   Jeff Turco would be an advantageous part of any team helping to move Winthrop forward. We applaud his commitment, his honesty, and his reliability.

Winthrop Firefighters Local 1070 represents thirty-one members of the Winthrop Fire Department and is a proud member of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts.  We love serving this community in any way shape or form, and are pleased, as a Union, to be most well known for helping out with Charities, Fundraisers, building playgrounds, our Santa Parade, Senior Center BBQs, etc. We will continue to help out the Town in any way shape or form no matter what the outcome of this or any election. We humbly ask that the Town join us in our support of Jeffrey Turco.

Winthrop Firefighters Local 1070


Supports Gill in race

Dear Editor,

We are writing to express our support for Peter Gill in his re-election bid.  His accomplishments as Town Council President have all been done with respectful discourse in official meetings and unofficial gatherings with the public, always allowing the democratic process to work.  Peter does not seek to demean any one individual or group in order to push his own agenda.  We believe he is running again because he loves this town, and has no other political ambitions beyond this job.  He listens.  He cares, and he knows that we are one community with many different views, but we are working together respectfully toward common solutions.

Daniela Foley and

Warren MacPhail


Supports Gill for President

Dear Editor,

I feel a need to heartily endorse my friend Peter Gill as Town Council President.  I could detail Peter’s education, background, and community involvement since his days when both of us were Town Meeting Members.  I could note Peter’s particular accomplishments in helping to restructure the Town’s financial operations, improve public safety efforts, promote redevelopment projects, press for parks and public property restoration, enhance our education system, and foster the building of a much needed Middle/High School.

However, my main reason for encouraging you to re-elect Peter Gill as Town Council President is that he has brought a style and method of reasonable dialogue to the Council President office and the Town Council, our governing body.  Peter Gill has made every effort to insure a democratic process in our town government.  He works extremely well with Mr. Jim McKenna, a Town Manager we are blessed to have handling the day to day town operations and researching and planning future endeavors to make Winthrop an even better place to live and raise a family.

I want to ensure that Peter’s very positive and productive working relationship with Mr. McKenna, the Council, Town employees and Winthrop citizens CONTINUES  over the next few years.

I CARE about what happens to my Town.  I want Peter Gill to continue to lead it.

Donna Segreti Reilly


Supports Turco for President

To the Editor,:

I am a common citizen of the town. I am not running for any political elected position, nor have I held any type of position on any committee. I am an ordinary person that chose to live here.

I state this because every printed letter seems to have been from someone running, or someone who has served at a position.  I don’t rule out the possibility that I may seek to serve, but for now I am only a taxpayer, and a voter. It is also important to note that I do not have children attending school in the community.

That said, I did take the time to seek information, first hand, from both candidates for town council president; Mr. Gill and Mr. Turco, on the proposal to raise our water rates and in addition, their views on how to pay for the water meter replacement. I fact checked that both were working from the same numbers when they were discussing this with me. I took the time to hear from each; both in person and on the phone, as well in email, their position as well as their explanation about the subject.

I also made it a point to watch the debate between the two candidates on WCAT. The differences were profound; profound enough to prompt me to write a letter to the editor.

Jeff Turco has been consistent  and unwavering throughout with his facts, and his position on the matter.The debate only underscored this.

Quite frankly, it was disappointing  when during the candidate questioning portion of the debate, Mr. Gill not only seemed to falter, but also back pedaled on some key points that he had made to me regarding the reserve fund for the town’s water and sewer and the fact that he clearly stated and shifted the responsibility for the need to increase the rates to the Department of Revenue as the authority that sets the town’s rates. He also made it clear that the way the water meter replacement program was to be paid for; namely by an additional charge to our water bills on top of the rate increase, was already in place, and was not something that could change. The reason why this was so disappointing was that all of these statements were spoken to me at a meeting I had with him in his office prior to my having ever spoken to Mr. Turco, and weeks before the debate.

Mr. Turco has not only a better grasp of the subject, but also an in depth understanding of what is involved. He acknowledged the need for meter replacement, yet he has a solution to pay for it that won’t burden all of us at a time when we are making critical decisions about funding a new school. All at a time, when counted on funding from the proposed casino at Suffolk Downs has just evaporated.

Fundamentally, both candidates underscored their own particular style of leadership.

Mr. Gill stated that he prefers to “put good people in place, and let them manage things”, working with their recommendations for solutions.

Mr. Turco, wants only the best people to head our town’s committees and departments as well, however, he also explained that he seeks to review projects and progress as a measure of responsibility and accountability to the town. That’s a good and necessary step when it comes to elected leadership.

The person that we choose to vote into office will be influencing decisions that will be spending our tax dollars. I need to know that they can be trusted to explore all options when doing so,and if necessary, even being the source of ideas and options brought up for consideration. Jeff Turco demonstrated this to me. He is also not afraid of being challenged or engaged on his views and openly sought feedback when discussing the issues.

I said before that I don’t have any children in the town schools. That said, I do support the new school, and I will vote for it. Mr. Turco is for the school  as well, but wants to ensure that the money invested in our town’s future is safeguarded with a clear preventative maintenance plan to keep it in good working order for generations to come.  Seems reasonable considering the record of upkeep from the Fort Banks school recently built.

Both candidates want the best for our town, and are willing to spend time to be involved seeking it.  On November 5th, we have to choose who will provide the best service as town council president.

After taking the time to meet and speak with both candidates,  Jeff Turco has shown that he brings a combination of both leadership style and a perspective of responsibility to the position. I encourage you to support and vote for him as your choice for Winthrop town council president.

Mark Aubuchon


Looking at the President’s race

Dear Editor:

The contest for Winthrop’s Town Council President has a couple of interesting dimensions.

On the one hand Mr. Gill, current Council President, has presided over an almost unprecedented improvement in town finances. FY 2012 closed with free cash in excess of $750,000 and FY 2013 closed in excess of $1,500,000. I remember years when there was almost nothing in free cash. Also., the look of the town has greatly improved, and Mr. Gill enthusiastically supports taking advantage of a nearly 60% state reimbursement to replace dilapidated school. While he does not claim individual credit for the progress, one can be certain that the blame for any catastrophe would be delivered to his door.

His opponent seems to be campaigning against the terror of having an excess in the water/sewer fund, if this is Mr. Gill’s “scandal”, I say Bravo! I loving having a substantial reserve given the condition of our aging water system. It’s not a question of “if” there will be a large repair needed, but when. I like the idea of actually having the money to meet a crisis.

In addition, Mr. Gill’s opponent likes the idea of new schools, but wouldn’t vote for them now. Perhaps he is engaging in the “magical thinking syndrome” which allows one to wait until costs go down and state reimbursement goes up.

I have to go with Gill here, it certainly isn’t broken… no need to “fix” anything!

Emilie DiMento

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