en English
en Englishes Spanishpt Portuguesear Arabicht Haitian Creolezh-TW Chinese (Traditional)


Your Local Online News Source for Over 3 Decades

City Council denies amending the city’s administrative code to organize a Cemetery Commission

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

  The City Council voted 8-0 to deny amending the city’s administrative code to include the organization of a potentially paid, five-member Cemetery Commission during Monday’s City Council public hearing at City Hall.

  Some towns and cities have a Cemetery Commission in which its members are paid a stipend. Councillors and residents didn’t feel that amending the administrative code was necessary.

  Ward 2 Councillor Stephanie Martins asked if the five-member commission that was in operation in 1986 was paid. However, Councillor-at-Large Stephanie Smith, who voted against the language, made a motion to divide the question to determine if councillors were in favor of the change. If the change had passed, Chapter 2 of the revised ordinances of the city would have needed to be amended by ordinance to remove all responsibilities and transfer them to the upcoming commission, according to City Clerk Sergio Cornelio. The City Council has to act within 60 days of the administration submitting the code.

  Councillor-at-Large John Hanlon said the Department of Public Works handles the cemetery upkeep well. “Who is going to dig graves?” Hanlon asked. “Commissioners aren’t going to get out to cut grass.”

  The Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Erin Deveney, said Malden has a Cemetery Commission; however, many other communities with a commission that she researched fall under a town structure, such as Hubbardston, Gloucester, Salem, Belmont, Royalston, Phillipston, Taunton, Lowell, Greenfield, Woburn, Quincy, Medford, West Brookfield, Princeton and Lunenberg.

  Ward 6 Councillor Alfred Lattanzi, who is in favor of an unpaid commission, said he’s been volunteering on six commissions for the last 30 years, many of which were unpaid, because he wants to give back to the city. Deveney replied that it’s under the City Council’s authority to determine whether the commission would be a paid position. “We had conversations with young people who want to make the administration aware that finances may discourage people from wanting to apply,” Deveney said. “We like to encourage different candidates to consider their time to the city.”

  Smith asked Deveney if there’s a cemetery superintendent. Deveney said that there is, and they’re not deviating from city services, who are already assigned there. The commission would act in an advisory role to set rates while the Department of Public Works would handle the care and maintenance of graves.

  Ward 1 Councillor Wayne Matewsky said the city needs a commission. He said veterans have to be buried in Winchendon, Bourne or Gardner. “Seventy dollars a month to pay members isn’t a lot – to me – to pay someone who has the title of a commissioner,” Matewsky said.

  Ward 3 Councillor Darren Costa, who is in favor of a commission, said more specific language, such as hiring people with experience in that field, is important. Smith agreed.

  “I put people serving the city with little or no pay at a higher threshold of scrutiny,” Costa said. “As Councillor Lattanzi does a passion project, which I appreciate.”

Contact Advocate Newspapers