One familiar face and one new face are joining the ranks of the city’s department heads. Monday night, the City Council unanimously approved residency waivers for Mayor Brian Arrigo’s appointments of Tom Skwierawski as the new Chief of Planning and Development, and Lauren Buck as the new Chief of Health and Human Services. Skwierawski currently serves as the planning and community development director in the city of Fitchburg, while Buck is taking a step up from her current role as public health director in Revere.
“[Skwierawski] has an extensive background in the development of city plans, affordable housing advocacy, and grant writing,” Arrigo stated in a letter to the council. “Tom also holds a Masters in urban planning from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. I am confident that Tom will be highly effective in his role as Chief of Planning and Community Development and that he will work diligently to execute the goals established in the Next Stop Revere Master Plan.”
Skwierawski said the role he has in Fitchburg is pretty similar to the one he will be stepping into in Revere. “We have a housing and development division that looks over our CDBG and home allocations from the federal government; we have a planning division that serves as a liaison to the planning board and the conservation commission, working big projects through the permitting process; and we have an economic development division focused on small business to Amazon, working with all businesses as the chief liaison through the permitting process,” Skwierawski said.
He said he loves the job he is doing today and wouldn’t leave except for the fact that he drives about an hour per day to get to work in Fitchburg from his home in Melrose. “Ultimately, I wasn’t actively looking for work; I was looking for the right thing,” Skwierawski said. “I’ve seen many opportunities a quick drive away that I turned away, and this is the only job that I applied for since I’ve been in Fitchburg because I recognize what Revere is doing. I think this will be an incredible city – to be a part of the growth that’s taking place here – and I’d love to be a part of it.”
Buck comes into her new role as someone who has already garnered much respect in the city and with the City Council for her role as public health director during the Covid-19 pandemic. Buck has a Master of Public Health with a Health Policy and Law Concentration from Boston University, 10 years of clinical nursing experience and two years of municipal public health experience.
“Lauren joined the Revere Public Health Department during unprecedented times, and at every turn, she rose to the occasion, working across all departments to maintain operations and providing information and support to residents throughout the pandemic,” stated Arrigo. “I am confident that Lauren will continue to serve the city of Revere admirably as Chief of Health and Human Services.”
City Council President Gerry Visconti was one of several councillors who praised Buck for her work during the pandemic. “I think it is a position that is well deserved with all of the hours you’ve put into your current position and what you did during the pandemic,” he said.
Buck said she is grateful for the opportunity. “I learn every day. I make mistakes every day. I’ll learn every day and make mistakes every day in this job, but I couldn’t love working here more,” she said.