Guinasso, Giannino, Powers and Zambuto praised
It was a bittersweet City Council meeting on Monday night as members honored those four City Councillors who will no longer be serving in the City Council Chambers come the New Year. The outgoing officials are At-Large Councillors Jessica Ann Giannino and City Council President Anthony Zambuto, Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso and Ward 5 Councillor John Powers. Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe set the tone early in the meeting as he pointed out that come January the council will be missing a total of 88 years of service to the City Council.
Giannino is stepping down after a decade on the City Council to serve as a state representative. “Tonight marks the bittersweet end for me for a decade of public service to the city of Revere as a city councillor,” she said. “It feels like yesterday. I was 19 years old, a sophomore at Salem State in November of 2011, anxiously waiting for my numbers to come in on Revere TV, sitting in my living room with my family, and then my life changed forever. Over the last 10 years, I’ve had the honor to serve with two mayors, two state representatives, going on three senators and alongside so many wonderful colleagues that I’m sitting with here tonight, including Bob Haas and Richie Penta, who are no longer with us but were there when I started.”
Guinasso praised Giannino for the work she has done as a councillor, and will continue to do as a state representative. “You’re going to do wonderful things for our community; you’re going to do great things for the cities you represent; and certainly, be mindful of the fact that you are the kid from Revere that came to the City Council as a young kid and grew up very quickly to take up a very huge task as a city councillor, and you did it with class,” said Guinasso.
Keefe praised Guinasso for his 34 years of service on the City Council. “Very often in politics, you don’t gain friends; sometimes you have to gain enemies, and that’s unfortunate because sometimes you have to make tough decisions – you have to split the room,” said Keefe. “I don’t know how Councillor Guinasso’s done it for 34 years, but for whatever reason, he kept on bringing people under that tent, and he kept on gaining steam and he kept on gaining supporters.”
Guinasso said he never ran for office thinking he would spend 34 years in the City Council Chambers. “You take day by day and hope you do the best you can, and if people like you, they like you,” said Guinasso. “Unfortunately, once you make a decision some people are happy and some people are unhappy, so you try to tell the people that are unhappy the reasoning why you went the other way against their wishes. If you do that and you are fair with people and you are honest with yourself and the people you represent, you’ll have longevity in this.”
Powers, who is recovering from some medical issues, was unable to attend Monday night’s meeting, but his colleagues honored him for more than two decades of dedicated service to Ward 5. “The one thing I’m going to remember about John is, that bumper sticker said it all: He was a full-time councillor,” said Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti. “The energy that he gave, and the dedication that he gave to his ward, speaks for itself.”
Zambuto said Powers has dedicated his life to taking care of people in Ward 5. “We’ve had a rich history of some very good city councillors for Ward 5, and I don’t want to disparage any of them, but nobody has done more for Ward 5 than John Powers. He has a legacy that won’t quit, and it’s going to continue.” Zambuto pointed to the imminent construction of a new Point of Pines fire station and the development of the Gibson Park area along the riverfront as major projects that Powers was behind that will continue to have a positive impact on the ward and the city for decades to come.
Zambuto was honored by his fellow councillors for staying true to himself and working for the best interests of the city, as well as for his work behind the scenes for a number of local charities.
“In the beginning, when I first became councillor, Tony and I did not see eye to eye on a lot of issues,” said Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna. “Every time I would make a motion, he would say ‘Ah, it’s a feel good motion,’ I got so sick of it. But, as time went on, we really started to respect one another and we developed a really good friendship.”
Zambuto thanked the citizens of Revere for allowing him to serve for 22 straight years. “I never lied to you,” said Zambuto. “I was never the most popular city councillor up here because I sometimes championed causes that people didn’t like. But every vote I took up here was a vote of conscience; even when it was not popular to do it, I did it because my interest was what was best for the city and what was best for the taxpayers.”
In addition to honoring the outgoing councillors, Zambuto was honored for his most recent term as City Council President. Giannino was also honored for her election as state representative, and was acknowledged alongside her cousin, Joseph Giannino, who served a term on the City Council, as family members who have served on the council. In addition, the councillors who have served for at least 10 years were honored with their names on the City Council Chambers’ legislative bench. This session’s honorees were Zambuto, Guinasso, Powers, Giannino, Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky and Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo.