By Tara Vocino
EVERETT – The new substance abuse coordinator introduced himself before the city council during Monday’s City Council meeting at Everett City Hall.
The motion was offered by Ward 1 Councillor Wayne Matewsky, who has known Simonelli for 45 years, along with Ward 6 City Councillor Al Lattanzi.
“I’m very glad that the city has employed someone with this man’s experience in substance abuse issues, not only in Malden,” Matewsky said. “The mayor has made a good choice.”
Simonelli, who is in recovery, said he was campaigning for his election to ward 7 city councillor in Malden when he met Mayor Carlo DeMaria. DeMaria invited Simonelli to round-table discussions, and met with him again on a few occasions. Simonelli will serve as a point person for the city council.
Six months later, they have an Everett Recovery Connection to help get people into treatment. Simonelli will work 23 hours a week under the Board of Health department. However, he is available at any hour.
Councillor-At-Large Stephanie Smith asked if someone wants to go into treatment what is the best way to do it.
“It’s a much-needed program in Everett,” Smith said.
Simonelli said they call the numbers on the pamphlet, which is in English, Portuguese, Spanish and Haitian Creole.
Ward 3 City Councillor Darren Costa said he appreciates the updates on the website. He asked Simonelli to check to see if the information is up to date on ECTV.
“Welcome, and thanks for your service,” Costa said.
Councillor-At-Large Richard Dell Isola said it’s probably the most important program in the city.
“I welcome you to Everett,” Dell Isola said.
Simonelli said he works to get the addicts and their families together as part of the recovery process.
Lattanzi said people on the Everett-Malden line have a lot of good things to say about him.
“You’ve come a long way,” Lattanzi said. “Very proud of the fact that I know you.”
Ward 2 City Councillor Stephanie Martins said he is invited to have a table in Ward 2. She asked about language access.
“Thank you so much for this important work,” Martins said.
Simonelli suggested they call 311, and they may have interpreters. He said when he was in detox for a year, there weren’t a lot people of Haitian nor Asian American descent.
Matewsky said the city is very lucky to have Simonelli, and he referred the motion back to the sponsor.
“I’ll do outreach, now that the nice weather is coming,” Simonelli said. “Get folks into treatment, and make it a household name.”
For information, visit 484 Broadway, Everett, Room 20, or call 617-944-0215.