With the town’s biennial election season finally over, Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony W. Cogliano, Sr. says he hopes to complete one more project in the remaining weeks of this year. “The Number One issue for me – I want to get the Wheelabrator Committee to finalize the agreement,” Cogliano said in an interview before Wednesday (Nov. 3) night’s swearing-in ceremony of the reelected Board of Selectmen.
“I’d like to present it to the Board of Health by the end of the year, and I think we can wrap it up over the next month,” Cogliano told The Saugus Advocate.
“Certainly, there’s something in this for everybody, and I think we can wrap this up over the next month. This is something I have worked hard on over the past two years. And I’d like to see us get something done,” he said.
In a wide-ranging interview, he sat in the second floor auditorium at Saugus Town Hall. Cogliano said he is proud of the team effort put forth by the current Board of Selectmen as they battled through nearly two years of COVID-19-related issues.
With everyone reelected to another two-year term, Cogliano said, he’s looking forward to the board achieving some great accomplishments over the next term. He said there’s good chemistry between each of the members and they enjoy a good working relationship with Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree.
But he thinks the board’s overall efforts are hampered because of the way they are elected every two years. “It’s absolutely ridiculous that five members of the Board of Selectmen run against each other every two years,” Cogliano said.
“And, it’s got to stop,” he said.
He amplified his position during Wednesday night’s organizational meeting, which followed the swearing-in ceremony. “The way we do elections in this town, it’s gotta change. We gotta change that. It should be a staggered election … I hope that changes at some point in the near future,” Cogliano said.
By virtue of finishing as the top vote-getter among Board of Selectmen candidates, Cogliano earned the recommendation to serve as chair again. Selectman Debra Panetta, who finished with the second-most votes, nominated Cogliano for the chair’s position. That won unanimous support. Panetta received unanimous support as the new vice-chair of the board.
Panetta said Cogliano’s suggestion that the board have staggered elections is an idea worth considering in the future. She also expressed optimism about the board’s hopes for the next two years. “We are so much better working together in unity. And we can get so much done,” Panetta said.
Each of the selectmen expressed optimism over what members could achieve collectively during the next two years.
Selectman Corinne Riley, who has served the last two years as the board’s vice-chair, urged those who didn’t get elected to continue to remain involved. “I look forward to working with this board and the town manager,” Riley said.
Selectman Jeffrey Cicolini thanked all the candidates who did get involved in the election. “I want to thank all the people who put their names in the hat … We had some great candidates out there,” Cicolini said.
He noted that voters had a tough choice. “I think this board is the right board to get it done,” Cicolini said of the new challenges selectmen now face.