The new Winthrop Town Council met for its second meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 18, where it filled a vacancy and elected a vice president.
The Council held a vote to determine who would become its newest member. Karen Chavis, Kurt Millar and John Munson argued why they would be the best choice to fill the Precinct 2 Council vacancy left by Council Pres. James Letterie. Once Millar was dropped due to lack of support, Munson beat Chavis 5-2.
Next, the Council held a vote to elect its vice president, a position also previously held by now Pres. Letterie. The two nominees, Councilors Rob DeMarco and Stephen Ruggiero, spoke briefly about why they should be vice president. Ultimately, Ruggiero beat DeMarco 5-3. DeMarco congratulated Ruggiero on his win.
DPH Dir. Meredith Hurley reported that Winthrop was coming down from â€œan aggressive surge.â€ Jan. 4 saw the highest reported COVID case count since the start of the pandemic, with 138 cases in one single day. That number doesnâ€™t include at-home testing results.
Each Massachusetts household is eligible to receive four free test kits. The Winthrop DPH will send staff members out to the homes of the visually impaired to facilitate at-home tests.
Vaccine appointments are available at the DPH office on Tuesdays from 10am-5pm. East Boston may also host a clinic in Winthrop, where foreign language support would also be available.
Pres. Letterie announced that the trash fee is working out well and thanked residents for their cooperation. The Council will continue to make modifications to the program until July 21. This could include fees for additional trash, fees for overage bads, abatements, and the ability to eliminate barrels or purchase smaller ones. Residents can write to their councilors with any questions.
Town Manager Search
Town Manager Terrence Delehanty was reappointed to serve as interim town manager as the council continues its search for a permanent replacement. The job is currently posted on the townâ€™s website and on public job boards. Winthrop is also working with an outside scouting agency to find viable candidates. Once there are five solid candidates, the council will conduct interviews to narrow their selection down to three. The public will have the opportunity to interview the final three. Council hopes to have its final decision made within 90 days and for the new town manager to begin by June 1.
There is currently an electric vehicle charging station in the Center Business District available for public use.
The Dept. of Parks & Recreation is currently building an inventory of all the items that need to be replaced or repaired. This list will be presented to the council by the spring.
The Fire Dept. received a $15,000 grant to purchase vehicle extrication tools.
Budget discussions are currently underway.
Council voted to approve the purchase of a new truck that will haul boats. The truck, which will cost roughly $50,000, will be parked at the landing.
Council also voted to transfer $35,500 from the Salary Reserve Account to clerical workers across town departments as a result of contract negotiation with the clerical workers union.
National Grid will be installing underground conduits at the end of Terrace Ave.