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 Ogus’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 Franzese’s appointment.
Maggio addressed Franzese’s status of being a new resident in the town in relation to his candidacy for the position.
“I encourage all people, especially newcomers to our community to get involved – that’s an absolute and I’m glad that Mr. Franzese even considered the fact to do this,” said Maggio. “ But when you just move in to a town…you haven’t even had an opportunity yet to investigate the town, to meet the people, to meet the vendors, to meet the people that you’re going to be involved with when it comes to licensing.
“This 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.”
Turco took exception to Maggio’s comments prior to the roll call vote.
“I don’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,” said Turco. “We don’t charge people less property tax when they buy a home in our community. I respect people’s decisions on it, but to say that it’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.”
After the vote to deny Franzese’s appointment, Turco later made a motion to reappoint Gerald Ogus to the Winthrop Licensing Commission.
“I spoke with Chairman Ogus at the Licensing Board before the meeting,” said Turco. “He 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.”
Prior to the vote on Ogus’s appointment, Councilor Nicholas DelVento said, “First we have to waive the rules.”
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 Turco’s appointment of Ogus. Councilor-at-Large Larry Powers seconded the motion.
“I don’t think anyone can question the credentials of Gerry Ogus,” said Turco. “He has served as the chairman of our Licensing Commission for many, many years. He has served admirably and does a wonderful job.”
The Council proceeded to vote 9-0 in favor of appointing Ogus to the Licensing Commission.