Councillor-at-Large is one of the longest continuously serving City Councillors in city’s history
Longtime Malden City Councillor-at-Large Craig Spadafora was elected as Council President for the 2022 municipal legislative year at a special meeting Monday night.
Spadafora, first elected as a City Councillor in 2002, was re-elected to his 10th consecutive term this past fall, topping the ticket as the first-place finisher in the Councillor at large race.
Spadafora, first elected in 2003, is the longest continuously serving City Councillor on the municipal body at this time as well as one of the top consecutive-term elected officials in Malden history. Upon completion of this two-year term in 2023, it will be two full decades on the Council for Spadafora.
Mayor Gary Christenson is the longest continuously serving elected official in Malden at this time, having served on the Malden School Committee beginning in the late 1990s, then as Ward 1 City Councillor in the 2000s, before being elected to his first term as Mayor in 2011.
Spadafora was elected as Council President for the third time in his years on the Council during a recess in Monday night’s municipal Inaugural Ceremony, after all the Councillors — including three who are new to the Council this year— were officially sworn in by City Clerk Greg Lucey.
Aside from being tasked with wielding the gavel and conducting the weekly City Council meetings, the Council President also appoints Council colleagues to the various committees where a lot of debate and decision-making is undertaken before issues are brought to a vote of the full Council. The Council President also determines the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the committees.
Council committees run the gamut from the key committees such as Rules and Ordinance Committee and Finance Committee, to ad hoc committees which have a more specific, singular focus.
Spadafora was elected as Council President on a 6-5 vote by his colleagues.
Also a candidate for the post was third-term Councillor Stephen Winslow, who was nominated for election by Ward 3 Councillor Amanda Linehan.
Winslow was elected to a two-year term as Ward 6 City Councillor this past November, replacing David Camell, who did not run for re-election. Winslow had served two terms as Councillor-at-Large, elected in 2017 and 2019, but choosing in this past election not to seek re-election as Councillor-at-Large, but to successfully pursue the Ward 6 open seat.
Voting for Spadafora as Council President were Ward 1 Councillor Peg Crowe, Ward 2 Councillor Paul Condon, Ward 5 Councillor Barbara Murphy, Ward 7 Councillor Chris Simonelli, Ward 8 Councillor Jadeane Sica. Councillor Spadafora voted for himself as well.
Voting for Winslow were Ward 3 Councillor Amanda Linehan, Ward 4 Councillor Ryan O’Malley, Councillor-at-Large Carey McDonald and Councillor-at-Large Karen Hayes. Councillor Winslow also voted for himself.
The recess (and meeting), which was held in a classroom adjacent to the Jenkins Auditorium at Malden High School, lasted just over one hour, concluding in the vote in favor of Spadafora. The meeting was open to the public and carried virtually, via the Zoom format.
In the course of the meeting, one Councillor suggested a vote be taken at the outset of the meeting, without much discourse.
However, other Councillors asked that each of the two candidates, Spadafora and Winslow, discuss their intentions in seeking the Council Presidency. Each spoke for about 10-15 minutes before the vote was taken.
New Council President Spadafora is expected to announce his Council Committee appointments, including naming chairpersons, by the end of this week.
The first City Council meeting is expected to be held on Tuesday evening, January 11 at 7:00 p.m.
In a related matter, Mayor Gary Christenson and Malden Health Director Chris Webb announced that as of Monday, January 10, all City Council, School Committee and other board and commission meetings moving forward would be held virtually in Zoom format, until further notice.
In an Executive Directive released on Tuesday (see separate story), the two city leaders cited the spike in COVID-19 cases in Malden and the area and the high transmissibility related to the virus’ omicron variant as the chief reason.
A link to the Zoom meeting for the new legislative season is now available on the city of Malden website at: www.cityofmalden.org