Long-time Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo was remembered by colleagues for his service to the city following his unexpected death at the age of 55 over the weekend. Before Monday night’s City Council meeting, flowers and a photo of Rotondo were placed in front of the former councillor’s City Council Chambers seat, as City Council President Gerry Visconti called for a moment of silence.
“This weekend, the city of Revere lost one of its own,” said Visconti. “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Councillor George Rotondo. He was a colleague, a neighbor and a dear friend.” Visconti said Rotondo served the city and on the council for over 14 years in the best way he knew how.
“Those that knew George know that he was a councillor that wasn’t afraid of voicing his opinion on difficult issues, and the conversations we will be having in these chambers moving forward will not be the same without him,” said Visconti. “On behalf of the entire City Council, we would like to express our sincerest condolences to the Rotondo family, his loved ones and everyone who called George a friend. He will be missed by many, and may he rest in peace, my friend.”
The outspoken city councillor was elected three times as a Ward 4 Councillor and five times to his most recent at-large seat, and he worked as a professional certified nurse.
In 2011, Rotondo ran for mayor against fellow City Councillor Dan Rizzo in a heated race where Rizzo won by over 1,500 votes. Rotondo’s last municipal election in 2021 was a close one, where he defeated longtime fellow Councillor at-Large Anthony Zambuto by about 30 votes in a contest that went to a recount. Zambuto will be elevated to Rotondo’s at-large seat for the remainder of the City Council term.
Even with the close recount election, Zambuto said he counted Rotondo as a friend. “It’s very sad; it’s a tragedy and was so unexpected,” said Zambuto. “George was a friend and a colleague, and we served together for a long time. We didn’t always agree on everything, but we were certainly friends.” Before the recount, Zambuto said, he and Rotondo shook hands and said they would remain friends no matter the outcome.
“He was very respectful,” said Zambuto. “I never dreamed that something like this would happen. He had a good heart and wanted what was best for the city.”
Zambuto said he was planning to run to regain a council seat in 2023, and that this was not the way he wanted to return to the council, but that he will fulfill his duty.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of my colleague Councillor Rotondo,” said State Representative Jessica Giannino. “My thoughts and prayers are with his daughters and family during this most difficult time.”
Around 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Revere emergency personnel responded to an apartment on Dehon Street for a report of an unresponsive male, according to State Police. First responders found Rotondo unresponsive inside the apartment and immediately began first aid but were unable to resuscitate him.
A State Police detective and a trooper from the department’s crime services section responded to the scene, which State Police stated is standard procedure for unattended deaths. Troopers and Revere officers observed no signs of struggle or foul play at the scene. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was expected to conduct a post-mortem examination to determine the cause and manner of death.
In a late motion at Monday night’s meeting, the council approved sending special legislation to the state delegation that would enable the city to pay Rotondo’s estate the total amount of his council salary for the remainder of his term, a total of just under $40,000.