Ordinance Review Committee To Hold Public Forum

Special to the Transcript

On Wednesday, July 13, the Ordinance Review Committee will hold a Public Forum to discuss proposed changes to the Town’s Charter and Ordinances. 

On February 15, Council President James Letterie, pursuant to 9-9(a) of the Winthrop Town Charter appointed Attorney Marc E. Chapdelaine, as Chair, and eight other members of the community.   The members’ cumulative experience provides for diverse viewpoints.  Members are experienced in licensing, zoning, finance, and the local governing of Winthrop.   The ORC is comprised of the following:

Marc E. Chapdelaine, Chairman, an attorney and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce. Marc served as chairman of the Winthrop Board of Licensing from 2018 through 2021. He coaches his children’s Little League and Youth Soccer teams. Marc and his wife have resided in Winthrop for over a decade and chose Winthrop to raise their three children and their puppy, Roni.

James Letterie, elected Town Council President in 2021, has represented the residents of Precinct 2 since 2005. Jim owns and operates Letterie’s Italian Market in French Square. Jim served under Chairman Tom Riley on the 2004 Charter Amendment.

Thomas Chiudina, AIA, an architect with over 25 years of experience. In addition to MA, he’s licensed in eight other states and is the Principal of DRL Architects, a ten-person firm that specializes in the design and construction of financial institutions. He’s lived in Winthrop since 1992 and with his wife, a life-long resident, has raised their three children. After years of coaching Winthrop youth sports, Tom was asked to sit on the Board of Appeals, where, after nearly ten years, he continues to serve the community. In addition to this committee, he also recently sat on the Miller Field Committee.

Joe Hanlon, CPA, a lifelong Winthrop is married with two boys. Joe serves on the Citizen Advisory Committee of Finance and the Winthrop Finance Commission. He spends much of his free time coaching Winthrop Youth Hockey, Little League, and Flag Football, winning a Superbowl in 2022 as a coach with the Winthrop Chargers.

Kurt Millar, a lifelong resident of Winthrop, has always had an interest in politics and government. Currently employed with P&G Gillette in a leadership role that has given the opportunity to build knowledge of manufacturing business, creation of local and international standards of operation, budget analysis, loss elimination, human resources and sustainability while being a servant leader. Over the past few years, Kurt has actively sought ways to improve our great town. In 2021, Kurt accepted an appointment to the Board of Licensing.

Todd Sacco, a lifelong resident of Winthrop, graduated from Winthrop High School—Class of 1986. Todd works in the marketing and product development industry. He is a past member of the School Committee. Todd and his wife have two sons.

Karin Chavis, a retired nurse, who worked at Winthrop Hospital for 28 years. Karen is retired after a 40 year nursing career, with over 35 of those years caring for member of the Winthrop community. She had previously served as a member of Town Advisory Committee for 14 years and is a long-serving member of the Citizens Finance Advisory Committee and Finance Commission, a position she has held since 2006. Karen and her husband have two kids and enjoy four grandchildren.

Bob Carroll, an architect, is a member of the American Institute of Architects. He is currently a Senior Associate at Boston-based Ann Beha Architects. His work focuses on the adaptive reuse of historic buildings for college, university and civic clients throughout the country. Bob holds a Master of Architecture Degree from University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from the University of Hartford. Bob actively volunteers on multiple Town-related initiatives including; Winthrop Youth Soccer, Bike Winthrop. Bob currently serves as Chairperson of the Winthrop Planning Board.

Stephen Ruggiero currently serves as the Town Council Vice President representing Precinct 6. He also serves as the Chair of both the Council’s Rules and Ordinances Subcommittee and the Appointments, Commissions, and Committees Subcommittee. In addition to his work on the Council, Stephen volunteers on the Boards of two non-profit organizations in Winthrop. Outside of his volunteer work in Town, he currently serves as a Vice President in the Regulatory Compliance department of a mid-sized regional bank with a focus on consumer protection and fair and responsible banking. Stephen graduated from Winthrop High School in 2010, Tufts University in 2014 with a BA in Economics and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst in 2017 with an MBA.

Denise Quist, a lifelong resident of Winthrop, has served as the Town Clerk since 2021. In addition, Denise the Secretary for the Town Council, Board of Licensing, and Board of Appeals.

The Committee was charged with the task reviewing the Town’s Charter and Ordinances in order to recommend revisions to the same.

The ORC is acting pursuant to Section 9-6 in the Charter

Section 9–6: Periodic Review of Charter and Ordinances

(a) Review of Ordinances – Not later than the first day of July, at five year intervals, in each year ending in a five or in a zero, the town council shall provide for a review to be made of the ordinances of the town for the purpose of preparing a proposed revision or recodification of the same. Such review shall be made by special committee to consist of nine members who shall be chosen as provided in section 2-10(a). Vacancies shall be filled in the manner of original appointment.

The special committee, which shall be referred to as the ordinance review committee, shall file its report with the clerk of the council, not later than the first day of May in the year following the year in which the committee is appointed. The recommendations of the special committee shall appear on the council agenda for action before the fifteenth day of May in said year, and, if not so scheduled by the clerk of the council, or within the next twenty-one days, the matter shall come before the council for action at its next regular meeting and no other business shall be in order until such report has been acted upon, by roll call vote. The review of town ordinances shall be under the supervision of the town attorney, or special counsel appointed for that express purpose. A revision, recodification or republication of the ordinances shall be made at five year intervals. Copies of the revision, recodification or republication shall be made available to the public at a cost not to exceed the actual cost of such reproduction. In each year between such reenactments, an annual supplement shall be published which shall contain all ordinances and amendments to ordinances adopted in the preceding year.

(b) Review of Charter – The special committee established to review town ordinances shall also consider proposed revisions to the town charter. The committee shall hold at least one open, public hearing at which the public will be afforded the opportunity to comment on the existing charter and to make comments or suggestions concerning way in which the charter might be changed.

The Committee held its initial public meeting on March 2, 2022 at which the Committee’s meeting schedule was established (meetings on a weekly basis on Wednesday evenings), administrative matters were taken care of and the public forums were scheduled to ensure public opportunities to participate in the process. The Committee has taken on the task of examining article, section, and line of the existing Town  Charter and seek input at a public forum before voting on which recommendations will be sent to the Town Council for review and consideration.

The first public forum took place on April 27, 2022. The format was designed to give the public the opportunity to educate the ORC on a wide range of issues. A second public meeting will be held on July 13, 2022 giving the public the opportunity to consider and comment on the specific proposals that the ORC would be voting on one week later.

As to the proposed substantive revision of changing the size of the town council and length of terms, the full town council will vote on the measure.  If passed, the proposal can be sent to the Attorney General’s Office pursuant to M.G.L. c. 43B for certification for inclusion on the next town election on November 7, 2023.  The proposals that do not meet the definition of substantive, may be voted into law by the town council.

On July 13, 2022, the ORC will hold a Public Forum regarding changes that they are considering to the Winthrop’s Charter and Ordinances.  The Forum is scheduled to start at 6:15 PM in the Harvey Room at Town Hall. 

“This is a great opportunity for the Committee to receive public input on the work of the Ordinance Review Committee prior to our vote.” said Marc Chapdelaine, Chair.  “The Agenda posted on the ORC’s Town webpage identifies the changes being considered.  The proposals are the product of our Committee’s comprehensive review and analysis of the Charter and Ordinances.  The proposals are intended to increase transparency and accountability in our Town.”     

The Committee is considering the recommendation of changes to the size of the Town Council, along with the length of the terms.  In addition, the ORC is discussing changes to zoning and development that to increase transparency and responsible growth.  The Public Forum will also include a discussion regarding the potential formation of a Water/Sewer Strategic Advisory Committee as well as the empowerment of citizens to seek a Recall Election of an elected official. 

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