MAYOR’S CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER SEEKS TEMPORARY WAIVER
In an ongoing battle over residency for non-contract city employees, the City Council received a letter at Monday night’s meeting from Mayor Brian Arrigo asking for a temporary waiver of the residency rule for Omar Boukili, the mayor’s chief administrative officer. The letter said he had been “unsuccessfully attempting to purchase a home in Revere since October 2015. Arrigo asked for the waiver to be granted until July 2017.
The council voted to send the request to the council’s appointment subcommittee, which will meet on June 27.
“Omar is the ideal resident we’d like to have in the city,” said Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe.
Attached to the letter from Arrigo was Boukili’s extensive resume, which includes a bachelor’s degree in 2007 in political science and international relations, with honors, from University of California/Berkeley. He is fluent in four languages and proficient in two. Prior to working for Arrigo he spent five years working as chief policy advisor and director of government affairs for the mayor of Somerville. He also managed operations for the Jill Stein Gubernatorial Campaign.
All non-contract employees of the City of Revere are required to be residents.
CITY AWARDED STATE GRANT TO IMPLEMENT 311 SYSTEM
Mayor Brian Arrigo announced on Monday that the City of Revere was awarded a $54,000 Community Compact IT grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to implement a 311-customer service system for Revere.
When 311 launches, residents will be able to make “one call to City Hall” to get questions answered and report issues in need of attention, rather than going through the frustrating process of being transferred to multiple departments or having to leave multiple voicemails. This will also be integrated with the ability to submit requests for constituent services online, via email, or via a smartphone app. Residents who submit a request will be given a case number and the ability to track who they’ve spoken with and what actions have been taken to address their concern.
Boston, Malden and Worcester are among the cities in Massachusetts who have already adopted a 311 system.
According to a report by the Collins Center at UMass-Boston, the presence of 311 reduces non-essential 911 calls and leads to quicker, more satisfactory service for residents. The 311 number also allows the city to gather effective data on what issues require more attention.
“When I took office, I made improving customer service at City Hall a top priority,” said Arrigo. “We immediately sought out funding opportunities to make 311 a reality. The Baker/Polito administration has been a great partner to municipalities as we look to upgrade our IT and improve service to residents. Implementing a 311 system will improve the quality of life for residents of Revere.”
“We need to move past the days when people dreaded having to interact with City Hall. We have to make it a user-friendly experience. This is another step toward making that a reality.”
Under the state’s Community Compact IT grant program, municipalities can apply for state funding to help implement local priorities, such as 311. The Community Compact is an initiative led by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, reflecting the administration’s commitment to supporting local governments
BONCORE SECURES FUNDING FOR EBNHC TO COMBAT OPIOID ABUSE
After being sworn in on Thursday, May 18, Revere Senator Joseph Boncore has hit the ground running.
Boncore, who won the seat during a special election to replace former Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, was able to secure funding to battle opioid abuse in the district, voted to supported the Fair Share Amendment and later cast his vote on the Fiscal Year 2017 budget.
During the budget debate, Boncore took the opportunity to make his maiden speech and advocated in support of funding for additional mental health and substance abuse services at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC). Following his remarks, the Senate adopted Boncore’s amendment providing $250,000 for an integrated behavioral health program at EBNHC.
“The opioid crisis has touched all corners of Massachusetts, but has had a particularly hard impact on the communities of the First Suffolk and Middlesex,” said Boncore. “By adopting my amendment the Senate has ensured patients will be able to move seamlessly from their primary care providers to addiction specialists, providing access to necessary treatment models.” Boncore voted in favor of the Senate’s adoption of a $39.558 billion budget for FY17. The budget focuses on investing in local aid, education, children’s health and safety, housing, health and human services, workforce training and economic development.
Included in the budget was $216 million for local aid and $292 million Chapter 70 funding for the communities of the First Suffolk and Middlesex like Revere.
The Senate included landmark language to overhaul the Chapter 70 formula to fund Massachusetts school districts more fairly and adequately in the future. The new formula better accounts for school districts’ rising health insurance costs and the high cost of educating students with special needs, English Language Learners and low income students. The budget also establishes a task force to identify the most accurate way of counting low income students.
In his first vote as a member of the Senate, Boncore supported the Fair Share Amendment, that was passed in the Senate. The amendment will assess an additional four percent surtax on individual annual income over one million dollars. The amendment would require the legislature to allocate the increased revenue solely on education and transportation needs.
According to the amendment any income less $1,000,000 will remain at the current state income tax rate of 5.1 percent.
ROTUNDO TO HOLD EVENT
On Tuesday, June 21 starting at 6:30 p.m., Councillor at Large George Rotundo will be holding an event at the Mottola Post, 10 Garofola St, Revere. There is a suggested donation of $35 or $150 or $500. If interested in attending please call 781-248-6072.