An Honor on Hold: Council Postpones Naming DPW Building After Dimes

Friday, April 20, 2012
By Cary Shuman

When Councilor-at-Large Larry Powers made the request to table the ratification of naming the Winthrop Department of Public Works Headquarters in honor of Richard Dimes, the gutsy call was “no reflection on Mr. Dimes.”

Powers is the former fire chief and like so many in town knows that Dimes contributed more than 50 years of public service to Winthrop and was instrumental in having a new DPW facility established on Kennedy Drive.

But confusion had reigned about everything from procedure to protocol in the Joseph Harvey Room following Town Manager James McKenna’s announcement that the Memorials Committee had voted unanimously to name the DPW headquarters on Kennedy Drive in honor of Dimes in the near future.

Councilor-at-Large Philip Boncore said it was he who made the original motion to honor Dimes in some way.

“I think, though, the Memorials Committee should have given us something in writing – a letter that they took that vote or have someone here from the Memorials Committee to tell us what happened and not hearing it second or third hand,” said Boncore. “I think that’s a problem with a lot of our committees.”

McKenna conceded that there was an issue of jurisdiction that needs to be ironed out.

“I believe the Memorials Committee believes that they have original jurisdiction on issues with respect to  the naming of property in town,” said McKenna. “That’s their understanding. I think it’s important for us to clarify that issue.”

Council President Peter Gill correctly pointed out that the Council had initially referred the matter to the Memorials Committee.

Councilor Linda Calla asked if anyone else was nominated for similar recognition. “I know a lot of people in town have done a lot of wonderful things for the town,” said Calla.

Gill responded that the Memorial Committees is currently looking at one other nomination for a town property.

“Could anyone in the community go to this committee [Memorials] and nominate someone?” asked Calla.

Gill replied residents should come to the Council with nominations.

Councilor Craig Mael sought a clarification, asking whether nominations should be referred to the Council or the Memorials Committee.

Boncore suggested that nominations can originate in the Memorials Committee or the Town Council “or it can be on the suggestion of anyone.”

“The Memorials Committee sends the nomination to the manager and the manager brings it to us,” said Gill.

Councilor Paul Varone said at the minimum, councilors should be given the minutes of the Memorials Committee’s meetings.

Powers then made the suggestion that seemed to encapsulate the Council’s overriding sentiment.

“Where’s there concern about not having minutes or a direct recommendation from that committee, I would say that we should table this matter until the next meeting,” said Powers. “That has no reflection on Dick Dimes.”

“Oh, no, no, no – it’s procedure,” said Gill.

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