By Neil Zolot
EVERETT – A sexual assault victim wants Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks on City of Everett employees and sex offenders to be limited to certain city jobs. “Any public employee whose job has them entering a person’s home needs to be CORIed,” Wendy Poste said in Public Participation time at the City Council meeting Monday, August 14. She also said those who don’t have CORI checks or fail them be reassigned to jobs that don’t involve entering people’s homes.
Poste was sexually assaulted by an Everett firefighter in 2019 and has pursued the matter since then. “I don’t know how much more I have left in me to come before the City Council and ask for protection from sexual predators,” she confessed.
She also said unions shouldn’t object to the idea and doing so means they don’t trust their members.
“I sit here trying to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again and support Wendy in calling for CORI testing,” Joetta Yutkins added. “Please don’t let this happen again to an innocent man or woman.”
Matters brought up in Public Participation are not subject to debate or discussion at the same meeting. It would violate the Open Meeting Law to discuss a matter not on the agenda because there’s no advance notification to the public the matter is being discussed or something decided. Usually, the subject is placed on an agenda of a subsequent meeting.
Councillor-at-Large Stephanie Smith, however, offered a “point of clarification,” as the Council has sent its concerns on the matter to Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “We’re not ignoring the issue, but it’s not something the Council can do,” she said. “We hope to get a response from the administration.”
In other business the Council passed a proposal by members Smith, Darren Costa and Stephanie Martins “that the Legislative Code of the Council be amended to include a section on yearly performance reviews for City Council employees,” who include its Clerk of the Committee, Legislative Aide, the City Clerk and Assistant City Clerk. “We’re doing this for accountability and transparency,” Smith explained. “There should be some written record.”
She also said the administration is instituting a similar practice and “it’s great the Council takes the first stab at this.”
Along with Costa, John Hanlon and Michael Marchese, Martins is on the Legislative Affairs and Elections Subcommittee. “This is about accountability for use of public money,” Martins added. “We want to make sure how things are done.”
Costa said the reviews could pinpoint areas for improvements and are not designed to “take away jobs.”
Hanlon, Marchese and Wayne Matewsky voted against the measure. “I’ve never seen a need for this,” Hanlon said. “It will take more time for the employees to do this than their regular job.”
Although voting in favor of the measure, Councillor Richard Dell Isola asked, “Who will be doing the reviews?”
In Public Participation, Sandra Juliano, who resides in Reading, Mass., misunderstood the proposal and commented on it as if it was a review of city councillors’ performance. “Our accountability is through elections,” Martins clarified.
In other matters, Zachary Trani, a distribution designer with National Grid, informed the Council of plans to install electric car charging stations at the intersection of Church and Devens Streets near Devens School, at the request of the city. The matter was tabled after no one responded to calls from Marchese for testimony during the scheduled Public Hearing on the matter.
Hanlon said he would vote against the proposal based on National Grid’s incomplete work on a project on Broadway. Trani told him that was a gas project and the electric and gas divisions of National Grid “almost operate as two different companies.”
Marchese said he agreed with Hanlon but was in favor of the charging stations because it was a service needed in Everett.
Matewsky also took time to tell Trani about inadequate electric power for air conditioners and other appliances at 381 Ferry St. (Glendale Towers). “I wouldn’t want a relative living there under those conditions,” he said.