Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito is pushing for a new volunteer committee that would help increase citizen participation in local government. But several other councillors say they need more detailed information before backing a proposed Citizens Planning Committee which would be appointed by the mayor.
Morabito said the committee would consist of residents from each ward and help serve as an advisory board for zoning, development and other projects in the city. “This way, the people of Revere’s voices would be heard, and it wouldn’t act as a political committee,” said Morabito.
The committee wouldn’t usurp the power of the ward councillors, but would give residents an additional voice on issues that impact Revere.
Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo said that if the mayor is presenting candidates for the committee, it could be viewed as political. “Why don’t we just have a redevelopment authority like they do in Malden?” Rotondo said. He said former City Councillor John Jordan proposed a redevelopment authority a number of years ago.
“There are a great many dollars that could go along with a professional redevelopment authority that would handle things you’re talking about, and it would be at no cost to the community,” said Rotondo.
Morabito said he is looking to establish something that would go beyond dealing strictly with development issues. “However we do it, I don’t care; I just want to get the people involved,” said Morabito. “This way, they can help make a difference on things that can impact our city.”
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky said he doesn’t disagree with wanting to get people more involved, but noted that when there is a big issue in his ward, he works hard to hold community meetings and get out the word any way he can. “Before I would ask the mayor to do this, I would want to see some criteria set up before I vote on it,” said Novoselsky. “I want to see what the description is and what their entitlements are, so I’m not really prepared to do an open book request just like this.”
Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino wanted to know if the committee members would be appointed by the mayor or if the ward councillors would be able to appoint members. Morabito said the mayor would have to implement the committee, but he added that he believes the mayor would take input from ward councillors before making any appointments.
“By doing this, you are basically putting the mayor in the position of the ward councillor by virtue of having his appointed members of that particular ward,” said Rotondo. Rotondo said taking care of issues in the wards is the imperative and nature of the ward councillor position.
City Council President Anthony Zambuto said there will be further discussion of Morabito’s motion at a future economic development and planning subcommittee meeting.