Boxes full of stuff heading out the door now replace clipboards and reminder notes on the desk of Revere Recreation Director Adrienne Maguire – who was relieved from her position by Mayor Dan Rizzo a little over one week ago in a move that surprised many and ignited a social media revolution.
Maguire has spent the last 12 years in the Revere Recreation Department, many of those years as its director. She has often been credited with turning the department around completely – bringing in innovative programs such as an annual circus, a pre-school and a busy summer schedule for kids.
However, all those successes and the family atmosphere she has created apparently were not the kinds of things Mayor Rizzo was looking for in the new administration’s Rec Department. And that has left a lot of avid Recreation Department users with questions, worries and frustrations.
“He told me he was exercising his right to remove a department head during his first year in office,” said Maguire. “He said he would like the department to go in a different direction. Where that direction is, I don’t know.
“However, I am happy with what we accomplished in the department and the programs we added and the community we built,” she said. “I have to give kudos to my staff and the volunteers. They made the place what it is, not just me. So many people helped out and I appreciated it.”
Maguire indicated she was notified over the weekend of Oct. 27th, just after Mayor Rizzo’s fund-raiser at the Kowloon Restaurant. In fact, Maguire was pictured in the Journal showing her support at that fund-raiser.
The Journal made repeated attempts to find out more about the termination from the Mayor’s Office – mostly due to the outpouring of questions and letters sent to the paper over the last week. To date, the Mayor’s Office has not yet responded to explain their side of the issue.
Maguire was under the union contract, and Rizzo is the first new mayor to have to abide by the new municipal union – as it came in during the first term of former Mayor Tom Ambrosino. This was apparently the first contractual opportunity that the Mayor had to tell Maguire that he wasn’t going to be keeping her beyond Jan. 4th, when the contract ends and her termination will officially begin. Prior to just recently, the Mayor was apparently not able to discuss the status of Maguire’s contract.
During last year’s mayoral election, Maguire was part of the campaign fodder between Rizzo and former Councillor and candidate George Rotondo – with Rotondo pledging to keep Maguire on the job if he were elected.
That pledge came due to the fact that many believed Maguire would not be retained under Rizzo’s administration – which turned out to be true.
Maguire confirmed that she was under a union contract, and she said she knew there was a possibility this might happen.
“I didn’t do the job for accolades or to get in the paper, and that makes it all the more frustrating for people,” she said. “Unfortunately, it is part of our union contract and I knew this was possible. I don’t want people to think that this couldn’t be done and I didn’t know it could be done. I always knew the mayor could do this.”
But it was a major surprise for most everyone else in the community.
Just a few days after the news got out, on Oct. 29th, a Facebook page emerged entitled ‘We Support Adrienne Sacco Maguire, Director of Revere Recreation.’
In one week’s time, they had more than 500 “likes” on the page, which the creators boasted was more than the official City of Revere Facebook page.
They also boasted critical and supportive comments by the boatload, and hinted that the firing might be motivated by Maguire not being involved in Rizzo’s campaign last year.
“Sounds like politics at work,” wrote one poster. “Maybe he has someone lined up for the job. Too bad. She’s done wonderful things for our children and stays off the radar. I’m sure she will somehow find a way to keep helping the kids and the city.”
And wrote another poster, “An absolute shame and disgrace. No other person will come close to doing what she has done – nobody! Why do I feel that the next Revere Recreation director will be a person who does not live in Revere?”
Maguire said she has seen the page and also saw the letters in the Journal supporting her last week. She stressed that she has nothing to do with any of the responses.
“It is a dramatic response and I did see them,” she said. “It’s just great that we had such an impact on people and touched their lives with the things we did here. The things we added here created a sense of community and a sense of family. I have people who call me all the time and tell me they have kids who made friends here that they continue to keep. There are pre-school families – if it’s their first child or they are new to the community – they have found our program and their kids end up staying friends all throughout school. Some have even told me that the other parents they met here became their friends and are in their social circle. It says we brought people together.
“I am happy with the direction the department has gone,” she concluded.