Wakefield News

Front Page: 02/22/2018

Posted by on Feb 22, 2018 in Wakefield News | Comments Off on Front Page: 02/22/2018

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Top 50 made at least $125K each last year

Posted by on Feb 22, 2018 in Local Headline News, Wakefield Daily Item, Wakefield News | Comments Off on Top 50 made at least $125K each last year

By BOB BURGESS WAKEFIELD — The bar just keeps rising in the world of municipal employee compensation. In Wakefield, no one among the top 50 paid town workers in 2017 made less than $125,995. In 2016, no one in the top 50 made less than $120,000. As much as things change, however, they remain the same: only one woman is among the highest paid employees in Wakefield. And she oversees the town’s public school system. As is the case in any community, more police were among the town’s top paid public servants than any other group. Twenty two members of the Police Department made the top 50 list in the last calendar year, while 15 members of the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department earned their way onto it. They were followed, in no particular order, by five firefighters, three school administrators, two Department of Public Works employees, Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio, Todd Bowden of the Information Technology Department and Building Inspector John Roberto. The information in this report is supplied by Town Hall and is based on an employee’s W-2 earnings, which the Daily Item does not have access to. Police Chief Richard Smith earned more than any other municipal employee in 2017, followed by Police Lt. Steven Skory, WMGLD Manager Peter Dion, Police Detective John Ryan, the WMGLD’s Daniel Flynn and Richard Fedele, Supt. of Schools Dr. Kim Smith, Police Officer Jonathan Burnham, Police Officer Shane Pelletier and the WMGLD’s Ralph Brown. Most town employees received raises in 2017, effective Jan. 1 and July 1. Police officers — with the exception of the police chief — benefit from working overtime and performing private details, which further boost their pay. John Ryan, for example, made $20,411 in private detail pay in 2017, while Shane Pelletier earned $28,423. Chief Smith displaced Skory as the top town earner last year. On the chart that accompanies this report, an employee’s gross pay includes all stipends she/he enjoys, any contractural remuneration, any overtime pay and any money made working private details. The fact Wakefield is involved in the state’s lucrative Quinn Bill designed to reward police for furthering their law enforcement education helps members of the local department earn their way onto the top 50 paid town employees list every year. Some younger members of the Police Department receive less from the Quinn Bill than older ones due to collective bargaining agreements. The ones who qualify for the biggest Quinn Bill benefits get 25 percent of their base pay added to their compensation each pay week if they have a master’s degree; 20 percent if they have a bachelor’s degree and 10 percent extra if they have an associate’s degree. Certain officers also get extra compensation for working night shifts, weekends and holidays. All firefighters receive a small amount of money for working at night; some also work private...

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Town Election 2018 update

Posted by on Feb 22, 2018 in Local Headline News, Wakefield Daily Item, Wakefield News | Comments Off on Town Election 2018 update

Published in the February 22, 2018 edition. WAKEFIELD — With just over a week left to obtain nomination papers for any opening on the 2018 municipal election ballot, little interest has been shown in either of two seats on the School Committee. So far, two relatively new faces to elected politics in Wakefield have expressed a desire to serve on the committee that oversees the town’s public education system. They are Colleen E. Guida, 49 Renwick Rd., and James A. Horne, 1055 Main St. The two School Committee incumbents, Rob Tiro and Kate Morgan, have not yet sought nomination for reelection. Friday, March 2, is the final day to obtain nomination papers from the Town Clerk’s Office, which is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day. Tuesday, March 6, is the last day to submit nomination papers to the Registrars of Voters for signature certification. That can also be done between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, is the last day to file nomination papers with the Town Clerk. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, March 22, is the last day to object to, or withdraw, nomination papers. And Wednesday, April 4, is the deadline to register to vote in the spring election. The Town Clerk’s Office in Town Hall will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day. Here are positions up for election on April 24, 2018, most of the people who hold those posts now, those who plan to run for those offices and the length of each term, courtesy of Town Clerk Betsy Sheeran’s office. BOARD OF SELECTMEN (two three year terms) Paul DiNocco, incumbent, 17 Wiley St., took out nomination papers Jan. 2. Julie A. Smith-Galvin, 28 Grafton St., took out nomination papers Jan. 2. Brian Falvey, incumbent, 70 Andrews Rd., pulled papers Jan. 8. TAX COLLECTOR (one three year term) Kathleen M. Kelly, incumbent, 21 Bryant St., pulled nomination papers for reelection Jan. 2. MODERATOR (one one year term) William Harbison Carroll, incumbent, 48 Forest St., pulled nomination papers for reelection Jan. 19. SCHOOL COMMITTEE (two three year terms) Kathryn Day Morgan, incumbent Robert A.E. Tiro, incumbent Colleen E. Guida, 49 Renwick Rd., took out nomination papers Jan. 26. James A. Horne, 1055 Main St., took out nomination papers Feb. 12. LIBRARY TRUSTEE (three three year terms) Yue Ren, incumbent, 248 Albion St. Unit 316, took out nomination papers Jan. 29. Kevin Patrick Scanlon, incumbent, 4 Muriel Ave., took out nomination papers Jan. 25 Cindy A. Schatz, incumbent, 8 Cordis St., took out nomination papers Jan. 10. Aimee Lominac, 8 Stark Ave., took out nomination papers on Jan. 9. PLANNING BOARD (one five year term) Sarah Madeleine T. Guerin, 46 Valley St., took out nomination papers Jan. 11. Christopher J. Fowlie, 21A Summer St., took out nomination papers Jan. 25. BOARD OF HEALTH (one three year term) Laurel Skinder Gourville, incumbent, 33 Reynolds Rd., took out nomination papers for reelection Jan. 19. Sonia Borda, 3 Border St., took out nomination papers Jan. 25. BOARD OF ASSESSORS (one three year term) Jane A. D’Addario, incumbent, 1 Hope Terr., took out nomination papers on Jan. 2. GAS & LIGHT COMMISSIONER (two three year terms) Kenneth A. Chase Jr., incumbent, 10 Mountain Ave., took out nominations papers...

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Front Page: 02/21/18

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in Wakefield News | Comments Off on Front Page: 02/21/18

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FinCom stalwart Phil McCarty honored

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in Local Headline News, Wakefield Daily Item, Wakefield News | Comments Off on FinCom stalwart Phil McCarty honored

Published in the February 21, 2018 edition By MARK SARDELLA WAKEFIELD — They generally keep a low profile, but they are among the most important committees in municipal government. Finance Committee members scrutinize virtually every dollar spent by the town. Last week, the FinCom paid tribute to one of its most influential and respected former members. At their meeting last Thursday, they dedicated a portrait of Philip F. McCarty, where it will hang in Town Hall alongside the portrait of another distinguished Finance Committee member, Roscoe Irving.  Before retiring from the FinCom, McCarty served for more than three decades, including several stints as chairman. Professionally, McCarty worked as an instrumentation specialist who provided instrument sensors to manufacturers. Holding a degree in physics, McCarty also worked on re-entry vehicles for NASA’s Mercury project.  With McCarty and his family in attendance, Fincom Chairman Dan Sherman started off last week’s dedication ceremony by thanking McCarty for his 31 years of service on the Finance Committee. Sherman then told the story of how McCarty and and another FinCom member, Roy Evans, recruited him. “I was a regular attendee at Town Meeting and spoke on a couple of articles,” Sherman recalled. “Phil and Roy Evans noticed me. After the meeting I went to the bathroom before heading home. Phil and Roy came in as well. While still in the bathroom, they told me that they wanted me on the Finance Committee. I was being Shanghaied. I felt like they would not let me out of the bathroom unless I said ‘yes.’ At the time they talked about what it’s about, the role they play, and I probably said that I would consider it. “Shortly thereafter I did say yes and the rest is history,” Sherman added. “I learned a lot from Phil and Roy and Marc Luca and Al Palmerino and the others that came before me. One of my goals is to follow Phil’s example: to educate the next group of Finance Committee members. We need to pass on the knowledge to the next generation.” Former FinCom chairman Gerard Leeman also spoke of McCarty’s contibutions. “The portrait is an appropriate tribute because it serves as a reminder to future members of how he served in the best tradition of public service,” Leeman said. “He brought his many perspectives and interests together with fiscal wisdom and practical sensibilities in his deliberations over many productive years. The current members wanted to show our appreciation for how much we had learned from him and enjoyed working with him over the years.” Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio also lauded McCarty. “Phil was and is a giant on town financial matters,” Maio said. “He has helped weather Wakefield through some choppy seas and helped place us on a strong path. I will continue to seek his counsel.” At last week’s Town Hall ceremony in the Finance Committee meeting room where his portrait now hangs, McCarty thanked his former colleagues for the recognition. “People who give to public service are giving back to the town for what the town gives them,” McCarty said. “I’m very honored to be put up next to Roscoe Irving, who was my...

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Celebrating women’s leadership

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in Wakefield News | Comments Off on Celebrating women’s leadership

Published in the February 21, 2018 edition Local photographer, filmmaker and historian David Watts Jr. has put together a series highlighting women business owners in Wakefield. This is the first installment. Since 1972, Holiday Travel has been a downtown fixture; the only full service travel agency in Wakefield. Current owner, Suzanne Bowering, who has been with Holiday Travel since 1984, brings extensive knowledge to the travel experience. Suzanne is also immediate past president of the Wakefield Lynnfield Chamber of Commerce and is a very active member of the Wakefield Rotary...

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Front Page: 02/20/2018

Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 in Wakefield News | Comments Off on Front Page: 02/20/2018

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Selectmen OK more budgets

Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 in Wakefield News | Comments Off on Selectmen OK more budgets

Published in the February 20, 2018 edition. By MARK SARDELLA WAKEFIELD — The Board of Selectmen approved 10 more small departmental budgets last week. Town accountant Kevin Gill presented the FY 2019 budgets, which he said all together were up about 3 percent over last year. Most of the department heads were on hand at the meeting to answer any questions. Gill said that the $202,875 Town Treasurer’s budget included an increase of $2,657, all of which reflected negotiated contractual salary increases. The selectmen approved the budget with no discussion. The Tax Collector’s budget was up $8,343, Gill said, which was also due to negotiated salary increases. After a brief discussion, the board approved the Tax Collector’s budget at $255,954. The Assessors budget was up $9,185, according to Gill, all of which was for negotiated salary increases. The selectmen approved the $226,068 budget with no discussion. Gill said presented the Town Clerk’s budget at a total of $202,502. There was a $4,059 increase over last year, reflecting contractual raises. Selectman Tony Longo asked Town Clerk Betsy Sheeran when she expected to have a centralized voting location, doing away with neighborhood polling places. Sheeran said that she hoped to have it instituted by the State Primary election in September. The board approved the Town Clerk’s budget. The selectmen approved the level-funded Election Registration budget at $41,000. Gill presented the Health Department’s budget at $239,472, including a $25,520 hike. Gill said that there was an increase of $10,835 in professional services associated with the contract with Melrose. (Wakefield and Melrose have a combined Health Department.) There was also a $16,835 bump in contractual services as well as a new cost of $6,000 for mental health and wellness services. After a brief discussion, the selectmen approved the Heath Department budget. The level-funded Miscellaneous Selectmen’s budget was approved at $25,125. This budget is used to to fund such expenses as running Town Meeting (paying the checkers and the custodians) as well as for some town employee training. The General Insurance budget was approved with no discussion at $392,845, including an increase of $3,895. Gill explained that this budget is used for building and motor vehicle insurance as well as professional liability insurance. The Medicare budget was approved at $709,000, including a $26,600 increase. The level-funded $500,454 Worker’s Compensation budget was approved with no discussion. These budgets will also be scrutinized by the Finance Committee before going before the voters at Town Meeting in May. —– The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to accept a “Disclosure of Appearance of Conflict of Interest” as required under Massachusetts General laws from Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio. Maio has been asked to serve on the committee that will screen applicants for the Superintendent of Schools position. Maio has relatives who work for the School Department. —– In other business last week, the Board of Selectmen: • Approved a request from Wakefield Fire Chief Michael Sullivan to accept and expend a gift to the Fire Department in the amount of $1,000.00 from Mun Su Sa Buddhist Temple, Inc. • Approved a request from Town Treasurer John J. McCarthy Jr. to transfer $119,037.50 from the Town’s capital projects account at The Savings Bank to the Town’s general fund to pay bonds. • Approved a request from Library Director Catherine McDonald...

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Cool ride

Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 in Wakefield News | Comments Off on Cool ride

Published in the February 20, 2018 edition.

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Selectmen OK with power line decision

Posted by on Feb 19, 2018 in Wakefield News | Comments Off on Selectmen OK with power line decision

Published in the February 19, 2018 edition. By MARK SARDELLA WAKEFIELD — The Board of Selectmen spent two hours Friday afternoon discussing whether and how they would comment on last week’s state Energy Facilities Siting Board decision to approve the 8.5-mile, Woburn-to-Wakefield underground transmission line proposed by National Grid and Eversource. Parties to the decision have until Feb. 22 to submit comments on the EFSB decision if they wish, Town Counsel Thomas Mullen told the board. Only Selectman Edward Dombroski voiced a strong objection to the EFSB decision, but in the end the board voted to send a carefully worded comment to the Siting Board that reflected a compromise among the selectmen. Part of the EFSB’s decision addressed the type of cable that would be used along the entire 8.5-mile route. National Grid and Eversource are proposing to use a type called XLPE cable. Some abutters have demanded that a different type of cable be used, one that cancels out electromagnetic fields (EMF) from the cable. They claim possible health impact from those fields, although long-term laboratory experiments have failed to show any disease-causing effects. The EFSB took note of the scientific research on EMF and ruled that the companies can go ahead with the XLPE cable along the entire route. “The Siting Board finds that magnetic field impacts from construction and operation of the Project using the Primary Route would be minimized,” the decision states. But Dombroski wanted the selectmen to tell the EFSB that Wakefield wished to join the towns of Stoneham and Winchester in requesting the EMF-canceling, fluid-filled “pipe-type” cable. He had invited to the meeting a representative from Okonite, the New Jersey company that is the last firm in the world that still manufactures the pipe type cable. Victor Viggiano disputed some of National Grid’s claims that the pipe type cable was far more expensive, would take up more space in the ground and used potentially hazardous fluid within the cable. After Viggiano’s presentation, Selectman Mehreen Butt objected to the board being subjected to what she called “a sales pitch,” and asked that the board get back to discussing the EFSB decision. Selectman Ann Santos expressed her skepticism that there was any real health justification for demanding that National Grid use a different type of cable than what had been proposed. Dombroski maintained that National Grid’s primary objection to going with the EMF-canceling pipe type cable was the higher cost, whereas it was the board’s responsibility to look out for what’s best for the town and its residents. Selectman Brian Falvey noted that guidelines established by scientific organizations set EMF exposure limits much higher than anything that would be produced by the transmission cable. Furthermore, he suggested that burying the cable would offer some mitigation of magnetic fields. “I’m not in favor of commenting (to the EFSB) that this cable needs to be changed,” Falvey said. But Dombroski countered that the town’s hired consultant had acknowledged some epidemiology studies had seen an association between high level exposure to EMF and childhood leukemia. “If we know that and have an opportunity to reduce EMF,” Dombroski asked, “why wouldn’t we do that? Falvey responded that decades of study have failed to find the link between EMF and disease. He reiterated his opposition to the board issuing a comment calling...

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