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Council reflects on residency requirement

The Revere City Council discussed the residency requirement for city employees once again at the June 5 City Council meeting. The council placed on file an appointment for Public Safety Information Technology Professional position on May 22 because the applicant, Tab Bandit, is from Saugus.

Mayor Brian Arrigo said there were comments during that City Council meeting that upset him, namely the notion that he constantly is asking for residency waivers, a comment he believed was misleading. He pointed out that he has hired 39 people and 37 of those people live in Revere. The two employees who required waivers are Reuben Cantor of the IT Department and Omar Boukili of the Mayor’s Office.

“I am here every day to make sure I provide the best services for the city,” he said. “For me to do that, I need to hire the best and brightest.”

Even so, the mayor went on to affirm that he is committed to hiring Revere residents for city jobs. “I don’t want to give waivers out. The best thing for me is to hire Revere people,” he said.

Ward Four Councillor Patrick Keefe said he was ok with hiring people outside of Revere if they were the best candidates. “I prefer to see Revere residents get jobs,” he said. “I want to see the most qualified applicants getting jobs as well.”

Keefe voted in favor of Cantor and Boukili for their waivers but not Bandit. Keefe said he felt that with the other two residency waivers he was more aware of the of the applicants’ credentials and why the city wanted them and needed a waiver. He said he felt that he didn’t know that much about Bandit. “I want to be more prepared when I come to council,” he said.

Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto said he is going to work on changing the residency requirement to a residency preference. According to Zambuto, in years past the council has ignored that requirement unless it is an election year.

Ward Five Councillor John Powers agreed. “The people of the city voted for you and myself to represent them to the best of our ability,” he said. “To give someone a job just because they are from Revere and not the best applicant is the wrong thing to do.”

The council agreed to have conversations about the requirement in the future. The council placed Bandit’s application on file and he will not be taking the position.

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