On Tuesday, Sept. 10, Winthrop Town Council President Ron Vecchia announced to his campaign team and supporters that he will not be seeking reelection in November.
Council President Vecchia, who is 72, told the Transcript that his decision to retire was largely due to a desire to spend more time with his family, which includes eight grandchildren.
“Life is short and I have certainly have re-evaluated my priorities having lost five close family members this year,” he said in a letter.
Unlike Town Councilors, the Council President appoints committees and is a member of all standing committees. While he is not a voting member, he is in charge of composing agendas with input from the Town Manager and of keeping Council activities moving forward. The Council President is also a member of the Winthrop School Committee.
Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo praised Vecchia’s service to the town: “This is a major loss for the community. I have known Ron for a long time, and had the pleasure of serving with him on the Winthrop Board of Selectmen. The town will sorely miss his knowledge and professionalism.”
Council President Vecchia was sworn in at the beginning of 2018. Prior to joining Council he worked for the Winthrop Community Access Television (WCAT) network where he hosted a public affairs program called Ron Vecchia’s Community Forum, which discussed important topics affecting the community. He has worked for Raytheon and GE and is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served in Vietnam.
Council President Vecchia has managed to achieve a tremendous amount in his relatively short tenure. He is most proud of his role in helping the Town Council meetings revert back to the old town hall-style meeting feel, with ample time for residents to weigh in on issues that are meaningful to them. Other points of pride include the creation of the Massport Foundation, the hiring of a new town manager, bringing the ferry profits back into the black, and launching the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) Program.
Council President Vecchia was the recipient of the Winthrop Transcript’s 2018 Person of the Year Award for presiding during a turbulent time when the town was facing numerous legal and political challenges.
Council President Vecchia’s last day will be on Dec. 3. Far from resting on his laurels, he is looking to make the most out of the months that remain of his term.
Some of his goals for the next few months include upgrading the tennis courts at the middle high school, approving the new dog park, finishing the reconstruction of the ATC School playground and reopening the compost area. Other short-term goals include continued modernization of Town Hall, enhancements to infrastructure, and finalization of business district zoning. He also plans to enter into an agreement with an outside operator to run the Winthrop Ferry and to put out a Request for Proposals for the development of the old middle school site.
As for what’s next for Council President Vecchia come December, he plans to keep busy by getting back to hosting WCAT programs. He will also continue in his role as President of the Bay State Chapter of the Freedoms Foundation.
Council President Vecchia expressed his gratitude to his supporters, stating, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for all of your support and hard work on my behalf.”
Three residents, Jim Letterie, Phil Boncore and Marty O’Brien, have taken out nomination papers for the position of Council President. Candidates must submit a minimum of 150 signatures by Tuesday, Sept. 17 to earn a spot on the ballot.