Council discusses Faison’s departure

The Winthrop Town Council met in person on July 21, when it discussed Town Manager Faison’s departure and the recent shooting.

Town Manager Departure

Council Pres. Phil Boncore announced that he had entered into a separation agreement with Town Manager Austin Faison, who unexpectedly took a leave of absence at the end of April.

Faison began serving as Town Manager of Winthrop in 2018. He will officially conclude his tenure on July 23.

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as Winthrop’s Town Manager, and am proud of our collective accomplishments during my tenure, including the work over the last year to support the town’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Faison said. “I am thankful for the support of the town employees I worked alongside, as well as that of the Town Council.”

“On my behalf, I want to thank Austin for his years of service and commitment to our community,” said Pres. Boncore. “We are grateful for his contributions to our town. Good luck, Austin, if you are watching.”

Healing a Community

As the murder-suicide that rocked the town on June 26 fades from the headlines, it has had lasting consequences for the community. The Winthrop Dept. of Public Health (DPH) recognizes this and is working with the Suffolk County DA’s Office and the East Boston Neighborhood Trauma Team to provide help to those affected.

The DPH is organizing a series of “peace circles,” public conversations led by trauma-informed counselors. The first circle will focus on those in leadership positions, and others will be geared toward residents.

“As we gain experience with this model, we are planning to hold peace circles more regularly to support the community in the long term,” said DPH DIrector Meredith Hurley.

Police Chief and Interim Town Manager Terence Delehanty said his priority was coordinating care to those “who were harmed the most” by the hate crime.

In addition to the peace talks, Essential Partners will present a free two-part virtual series, Let’s Talk Winthrop, “thoughtful conversations to build relationships across our differences and bring our community together.” The talks are July 27 and 29 from 7-8:30pm. Registration is required at tinyurl.com/LetsTalkWinthrop.

COVID

Winthrop experienced an uptick in COVID cases over the past two weeks, with nine individuals testing positive for the virus. There are presently eight active cases among four households. July 4 gatherings may have contributed to the increase, but there are no clusters suspected at this time. Vaccine efforts continue in full force and 72 percent of residents over age 12 are fully vaccinated. Walk-in vaccines are available at the Winthrop CVS.

“Please get your vaccinations,” Pres. Boncore urged the community. “Let’s make sure we go back to zero [cases].”

Ferry

An intern at the Town Manager’s office conducted a financial analysis of the Winthrop Ferry service and presented a slideshow of his findings. According to the data, the ferry seems to be hemorrhaging money due to lack of ridership.

“The ferry is something we all want, but is it something we can afford?” asked Town Manager Delehanty.

A detailed overview of the presentation will be available in next week’s Transcript.

General Updates/Events

Winthrop Fire Dept. Chief Paul Flanagan submitted a letter to Town Manager Delehanty on June 30 announcing his upcoming retirement following 43 years of service to the community.

Town Manager Delehanty will approve a water/sewer rate increase of $0.63.

Pres. Boncore presented citations to the following individuals who are leaving town boards: Julia Howington and Melissa Kaiser of the Conservation Commission; and Marc Chapdelaine and Rich Ackerman of the Licensing Board. The council president thanked each of them for their service.

Winthrop Likes Trees is hosting an Arbor Garden Party at the E. B. Newton School and Cultural Center on Aug. 7 from 1-4pm. The event is a fundraiser for the preservation of Winthrop trees and will provide music, art, raffles and more.

Equipment has arrived for the restoration of the Ingleside Park playground and will be installed in short order.

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