By Barbara Taormina
The City Council voted unanimously and enthusiastically to elect Ward 8 Councillor Jadeane Sica as council president for 2019.
“We have some big things happening in 2019, and I’m proud to be able to serve as council president during this time,” said Sica. “As council president, I see my role as one of fostering open and respectful dialogue with the recognized need to achieve results that move this city forward. It’s going to be a great year, and I can’t wait to get started.”
The support for Sica and the votes to elect her came quickly from fellow councillors; many of them have served with her since she was first elected to represent Ward 8 back in 2013.
“Good luck, it’s not an easy job,” said Councillor-at-Large Craig Spadafora, who pointed out that with Sica’s election every woman on the council has not only been elected president, but they have been elected in a row. “It’s an impressive feat, and I support you all the way,” said Spadafora.
Other councillors also expressed their faith in Sica and her ability to lead the council. “I know you are going to be an incredible president, and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Ward 5 Councillor Barbara Murphy.
Ward 3 Councillor John Matheson was one of several veteran members of the council who offered to help Sica as she steps into her leadership role. “You have our full confidence and I’m sure you’ll do a great job,” he added.
Many residents may know Sica from the work she has done on the Licensing Committee and the role she played protecting Ward 8 as a member of the Rowe’s Quarry Site Plan Review Committee. During the past year, she also served on the busy Ordinance Committee and chaired the Public Works and Citizen Engagement Committees. Although she has said in the past that her favorite parts of the job of ward councillor are providing constituent services and organizing neighborhood events, she has continually taken on more work and responsibilities on citywide issues.
“For the city as a whole, I look forward to the council being back together in a new City Hall, the result of textbook collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking,” she said.
“For the City Council, we start the year with some significant issues that are in motion. Charter reform, recreational marijuana, the Malden Hospital site and residential parking are all substantial things that will require a united City Council to deliver on for our residents in a way that balances the sometimes competing interests of multiple stakeholders,” she added.
Several councillors mentioned that Sica has some big shoes to fill as she takes over the gavel from outgoing City Council President Debbie DeMaria. Councillors took the final moments of the last council meeting of this year to congratulate DeMaria on a year of accomplishments and to express their appreciation.
“I want to thank you for a wonderful year,” Murphy told DeMaria. “You have shown true leadership. You’ve led us through a number of bumpy roads and gotten us to the endgame.”
Ward 7 Councillor Neal Anderson thanked DeMaria for her remarkable leadership. “I want to point out that you seemed to hit the ground running,” he said. “You started communicating with councillors and the Mayor’s Office in a way that hadn’t been done before.”
Ward 6 Councillor David Camell thanked DeMaria for being a mentor to him during his first year on the council, and Ward 1 Councillor Peg Crowe praised her for putting in yeoman’s work over the past 12 months.
“You had an outstanding year as president,” added Ward 2 Councillor Paul Condon. “You put your heart into everything.”
DeMaria said the council had been very courageous over the past year and mentioned the adoption of public comment at council meetings, the ad hoc committee on cannabis, the $8.8 million contract with Honeywell for energy efficiency upgrades in city buildings, and the preservation of historic facades as some of the highlights of the past year. She also said the council had approved 97 appointments and reappointments to city posts, boards and commissions, passed 25 ordinances and had more than 30 community guests at council meetings.
“I consider all of you my friends,” DeMaria told fellow councillors. “I think we all worked collaboratively as a team, and it’s proven that, as a team, so much can be accomplished.”