Democratic Town Council chair Chris Palmieri said that all voices would be heard when his party took control of the Town Council, and at the Nov. 27 council meeting Palmieri unveiled a newly-formed Committee of the Chairs to bridge the gaps between town boards.
“We heard it loud and clear during the election that people want a bi-partisanship effort,” said Palmieri. “They wanted board and commissions to be working together across the board, so this is an opportunity for us to do that.”
“[All of our committee members] are willing to work together. We don’t want party issues to divide and make decisions,” said Palmieri. “I think these committees understand that, and I think it’s going to be a great two years.”
The Committee of Chairs is composed of chairs from each of the government boards, including Palmieri, Superintendent of Schools Tim Connellan, Planning and Zoning Commission chair Mike DelSanto, Board of Education chair Brian Goralski, and Board of Finance chair John Leary. The committee also includes future Town Manager Mark Sciota, who is currently serving as interim Town Manager until his official start on Feb. 1.
Palmieri said the committee will meet on the first Wednesday of each month to discuss interdepartmental issues. One of the first discussions, he said, would be the development plan on West Street.
“This is truly what it means to have everyone work together for the betterment of the town,” said fellow Democrat councilor John Barry.
Palmieri also took the opportunity to appoint sub-committees at the Nov. 27 meeting, and the list is composed of past and current council members, Democrats and Republicans, residents and members from other boards and committees in town.
One of the most noticeable changes was a return to a bipartisan Apple Harvest Festival Supervisory Committee. Last year, the Republican-led council removed Palmieri from the AHF committee and appointed Republican Tom Lombardi in his place, to serve with former Republican councilor Cheryl Lounsbury.
This time around, Palmieri named himself as the chair and Lombardi as vice chair. The board also enlists Dave Lapreay, Jack Perry, Julie Portfolio, Sciota or a designee, Kate Sirignano, and Lt. Steve Elliot or a police department designee.
The only split decision was the appointment of former finance board member John Moise to the fire commissioner position vacancy after Wayne Stanforth retired from the panel. Moise was nominated by Barry, seconded by Kelly Morrissey, and appointed on a 5-4 roll call vote that was decided along party lines.
Republican minority leader Victoria Triano wasn’t able to be reached for comment about the opposition.
The following committees were also named by Palmieri:
Calendar House Building Committee: Paul Champagne (chair), Severino Bovino, Michael Fortier, Mark Lovley, Thomas Pizzatola, Paul Shupenko, Ralph Warner, Sciota and Robert Verderame as ex-officios.
Emergency Medical Services Committee: Shane Lockwood (chair), Bill DellaVecchia, Dr. Eric Hobert, Morrissey, Sciota, Triano, fire chief or designee, police chief or designee, and AMR Representatives as ex-officio.
Farm Heritage Committee: Palmieri and Edward Pocock III (co-chairs), Goralski, and John Myers.
Group Home Task Force: Dawn Miceli, Deputy Police Chief William Palmieri, and Triano.
Historical Society Liason is Democratic councilor Christopher Poulos.
Open Space Acquisition Committee: Miceli (chair), Barry (vice chair), Robert Berkmoes, Paul Chaplinsky Jr., Val Guarino, Edward Pocock Jr., and Mike Riccio with Dave Lavallee and Rob Phillips as ex-officios.
Ordinance Review Committee: Lounsbury (chair), Tony D’Angelo (vice chair), Jennifer Clock, Zaya Oshana, C. Palmieri, Patricia Queen, and W. Palmieri with Sciota as ex-officio. A current Republican council member has yet to be named.
Public Works Committee: Barry (chair), Miceli (vice chair), Chief Jack Daly, Lombardi, Pocock Jr., Susan Zoni and Frederick Rogers with Keith Hayden and Annette Turnquist as ex-officios.
Self Insurance Committee: Joseph Lavieniec (chair), Poulos (vice chair), Barry, Kevin Beaudoin, Colleen Clark, Lombardi, Oshana, Queen. Sal Dominello was named as consultant with Sherri DiNello, Emillia Portelinha and Joe Spurgeon as ex-officio.
Sewer Committee: David Zoni (chair), Morrissey (vice chair), Berkmoes, Bill Dziedzic, and Tony Morrison with Hayden and Peter Stallings as ex-officios.
The Facility Advisory Committee is now under the purview of the Recreation Board.