By Barbara Taormina
When Sargeant Chris Giannino retired in January from the Revere Police Department after a 33-year career, he knew he wasn’t finished yet. “I thought about it for a month and knew I was not going to sit idle. I wanted to stay involved and do what I can.”
Giannino said he was concerned to see so much turnover on the City Council. “There’s a lot going on and five open seats on the City Council. I figured if I get in, I can work with different councillors and improve stuff,” he said.
Giannino, who is running unopposed for the Ward 6 seat on the council, is bringing plenty of experience to the job. Much of his career was spent in the traffic division. He has worked with most city departments and said he has a good working relationship with department heads, ward councillors and residents of Ward 6, where he has deep family roots that stretch back 100 years. “I’m accessible, everybody has my cell phone number,” he said.
Giannino is ready for the role of ward councillor and looks forward to helping residents with their particular concerns and problems. “Sunday morning my phone rang. It was a woman from Ward 6 asking about speed bumps. We talked for 45 minutes about the pros and cons,” he said.
Giannino is also ready to take on the challenges the city as a whole is facing. “The city needs to figure out which direction it wants to go in,” he said.
He’s concerned about development, growth and the rate at which it’s occurring. “We’ve been building with no concern about the impact on neighborhoods,” he said, adding, “We have zoning rules for a reason. Now everyone gets variances.” He wants to be there when people come in to develop multi-unit projects and ask, “What are you doing for the community?”
He is particularly concerned that staffing for the city’s police and fire departments has not kept pace with Revere’s population growth. “We’re not adding fire equipment and officers are going from call to call to call,” he said.
Giannino is concerned about the new high school and how the city will pay for it, but he worries about building at Wonderland. He said the busy roads and traffic in that part of the city would be a problem for young kids with new driver’s licenses making their way to school. He is also concerned about traffic at the beach, which has three main roads in and out and major events like the sand sculpture competition. “We have a good relationship with DCR and we’re making traffic as slow and smooth as possible,” he said.
Giannino said he has been a regular at City Council meetings and he has the endorsement of Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino and, of course, State Rep. Jessica Giannino, his daughter, whom he called his best friend. He said he will bring his experience with problem solving to the new council and that he wants to work to improve Revere for all residents.