Announcing for Office

Saturday, October 21, 2017
By Transcript Staff

Perrin announces bid for re-election to School Comm

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve on the Winthrop School Committee for the past eight years. During my past elected terms, I have learned a great deal about school finances, state and federal regulations, and the many opportunities our schools offer its students. I’m running for re-election because I would like to build on this experience in order to take on the many challenges that lie ahead in the coming term and continue to make a difference for the School District.

My wife Karen (Kelly) Perrin and I are lifetime residents of the town, we both graduated from and currently have one son in the Winthrop Public Schools and one son who recently graduated from Winthrop High School and  is attending college. I have a Jurist Doctorate, graduating cum laude, from the Massachusetts School of Law, and have been active in Winthrop for many years: serving as the town’s last elected Selectman, a current Member of the Winthrop Retirement Board, a current member of the Board of Directors for the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce, serving as a former Town Meeting Member, and formerly a member of the Zoning and Board of Appeals as well as a Board Member with Parks and Recreation. On the School Committee, I have served as Vice Chairman of the School Committee, as well as on the Finance, Building and Grounds, Policy and Transportation subcommittees.

The School Committee continuously faces many important and difficult challenges, and the upcoming years are especially crucial as we try to move ahead and strive to provide a quality education to our students and also provide the dedicated faculty and staff with the tools and training necessary to allow our students to succeed academically. I believe that my experience and training as a practicing attorney have offered stability, common sense and sound judgment in my votes on the School Committee. I ask for your support and your vote.

John Lyons announces candidacy for School Comm

John Lyons has announced his candidacy for the position of School Committee. John has 22 years of experience in public education. In addition, John has many years of government experience for the Town of Winthrop.

John will:

Consider all children in all decisions

Protect School District in future Center Revitalization discussions

Work to reduce student fees

Work to increase communication between School and Families

Work collaboratively with other school committee members

Work for funding for curriculum improvements

After John received his Master’s Degree in Teaching and Administration in 1979, John started his teaching career in the Winthrop Public Schools as an elementary physical education teacher in 1979 as well as starting the girls varsity soccer program at Winthrop High School. As the girls’ first soccer coach, John realized the value of co-curricular activities for all students.

Later, John became the director of health, physical education and athletics at Winthrop High School where John established the school’s first Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2016, John became an inductee into the Winthrop High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

John’s community service for the Town of Winthrop includes being elected to the Winthrop School Committee in 1984 and in 1992 later being selected as the Chairman. In 1987, John was elected to the Winthrop Board of Selectman where he was selected as the Chairman. As selectman, John assisted in the negotiation of the mitigation agreement with the MWRA.

John recently retired from the Tewksbury Public Schools where he was the director of community services. In that capacity, John led programs such as before and after-school care, after-school enrichment, preschool programs, adult education and John was the district communication coordinator.

John is asking for your vote in November for positive leadership and working together for a better educational experience for all children.

Vecchia announces for Town Council President

Former Town Selectman Ron Vecchia has announced his candidacy for town council president. Vecchia, who is currently serving on the Winthrop School Committee, the Town Board of License and the Miller Field Committee brings and impressive and extensive background of service to the community in his bid to become the towns next town council president.

A Vietnam veteran, he served in the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, DaNang Vietnam. On his return from military service he became involved in local community organizations including the Winthrop Jaycees, The Winthrop Kiwanis, Winthrop Rotary, Winthrop Youth Soccer, American Legion, Freedoms Foundation, CASA, and Winthrop Community Access Television WCAT, and is a life member of the Winthrop Lodge of Elks. Ron recently retired from General Electric.

He has served as chair of the Winthrop Conservation Commission, elected as a Town Meeting member, elected twice to the Winthrop Board of Health, elected three times to the Winthrop board of selectman and has served on all three school building committees.

Ron chaired the board of selectman that negotiated the largest mitigation package with the MWRA and signed the cable TV contract the brought local cable access station to Winthrop.  He led protection of the town’s natural resources stopping illegal dumping at the Bell Isle Marsh and advocated state agencies to acquire environmentally critical marsh land for passive recreation and appointed the first recycling committee in Winthrop

As president of Winthrop Rotary, he fundraised $10,000. For seed money for the creation of the town’s skate board park advocated for Deer Island walking trails, the town pier and improvements at the town landing, open space and a recreation center for our youth and our seniors. Ron continues to strive for “excellence in education” and after school programs for our children. He and his wife Linda have been in the forefront of battling the current opioid crisis, and is committed to taking on this critical issue.

In making his announcement Vecchia stated, “In 2018 there will be many newly elected members of the Winthrop Town Council and the Winthrop School Committee. At this critical juncture, I feel I can use my experience in town government and community work to preserve what is good about Winthrop and take it into the future. I can act as a bridge between generations to ensure positive creative initiatives for our town where I was raised, educated and have lived my entire life. With seven grandchildren in the Winthrop school system I am fully invested in our community.  I supported the middle high school project, the Miller Field Project. I was recently part group of elected and appointed citizens that met with the town manager and was successful in saving teacher and ESP positions and managed to prevent increases in class sizes. I will continue to advocate for our children, our seniors and make decisions based on what is good for all of our citizens and taxpayers. My agenda will be the people’s agenda, nothing more, nothing less, I ask for your vote on Tuesday Nov. 7 to become your next town council president.”

Burke announces his candidacy for Housing Authority

I’m excited to run for the Winthrop Housing Authority board of directors.

I’d like to give you a picture of my personal background, my employment history and finally why I am running for the Winthrop Housing Authority.

Our family moved to Winthrop when I was in the third grade – I have three brothers and two sisters.

Monica and I were married in 1970 and in 1974 moved to Winthrop, bought a house on 23 Fairview St., where we still live.  My wife Monica and I have been married for 47 years – we have two children; a son Peter (who goes by P.J.) and a daughter Kathleen (who goes by Katie).

SCHOOLING

Graduated from Saint Dominic Savio High School (first graduating Class in 1962)

Applied to and was accepted to Saint Anselm College and was awarded a partial academic scholarship from Saint Anselm.

I applied and was accepted to Suffolk University’s graduate program  – received a full-academic fellowship for graduate study in their counselor education program earning a Master of Arts in Education.

Shortly after graduating from Suffolk University, I was drafted by the U.S. Army.  I attended basic training with the U.S. National Guard.  After 6 months of basic training and infantry training, I applied for and was hired as a Junior High School Guidance Counselor.   After 6 years I transferred to Winthrop High School and held a Guidance Counselor position there.

During my time in Winthrop I was active in the Teachers Association and was elected president of the Association a position I held for two years.  The most exciting event of my time at W.H.S. was being there when the Winthrop Viking Hockey Team won the Division 1 State Hockey Championship – My kid brother Jackie (also known by some as Wacka) was one of the keys to victory.  The “Irish Line” of Jackie Burke, Bobby McDonald and Joey McDonald still have the all-time record for the highest scoring line.

The second once in a lifetime High School experience occurred on Sunday Feb. 24 1980, when the United States Olympic Hockey Team defeated the Finland 4-2 to win the Gold Medal – They defeated Russia two days before 4-3 with the winning goal scored by one of my former students; you all know who  – Mike Eruzione.

I resigned from Winthrop Public Schools after seven and one-half years and accepted the position of Dean of Admissions at Fisher College in Boston.  During my tenure at Fisher I ran for the Winthrop School Committee and was fortunate to top the ticket.  I served on the committee for 5 years and was twice elected Chairman of the School Committee by my peers.

After four and one-half years at Fisher College I was recruited by Endicott College and was named Vice President for Enrollment Management.  About one year into my tenure at Endicott, I was recruited by Burdett Business School in Boston and appointed President of Burdett.  Leaving Endicott was difficult, but the chance to be president of the best business school in Boston as well as an attractive compensation package (especially with two young children) was the deciding factor.

After two and one-half years at Burdett, another appealing offer came my way  that I just couldn’t ignore.  The position of Coordinator of Guidance, Health and Psychological Services was open in the Town of Lexington.

In my many professional experiences, the one that provided me the most personal and professional satisfaction was working with parents and students in a counseling environment.  I applied for the position (along with 25 others) and after a series of eight to ten interviews by the Lexington School staff, counseling groups , student council, etc, I was offered and accepted the position.

After three and one-half years at Lexington , I jumped into the high tech space working with a company called Systems Maintenance Services; the company was founded by a close friend Tom Welch.  My position at “SMS” was Sales Manager for all East Coast accounts.

I hope this gives you a good introduction of my personal background and my professional career.

Finally, why I have decided to run for a position on the Winthrop Housing Authority.

I think that the Winthrop Housing Authority is a crucial part of the fabric of Winthrop, and I share with you a firsthand example of this.  My brother Jimmy was a resident of Golden Drive for a little over four years.  I commend the influence of Peg Lyons as she was a hands on Executive Director of the Housing Authority, Nancy Williams (God rest her soul) and Kathy Diron of the Winthrop Senior Center for providing “guidance” and support to Jimmy during some difficult periods.  (Jimmy passed away in July). I am retired and have plenty of time and energy to devote to this position – I hope you consider my personal and my professional qualifications and cast a vote for Peter Burke on Nov.  7, 2017.

Eight questions with Richard Boyajian, candidate for Town Council President

The “political elite” have taken control of Winthrop and town decision-making, says Town Council President, Richard Boyajian. But what does Mr. Boyajian mean by this and what does his campaign plan to do to combat the deficiencies he sees in town politics?

  1. To start, Mr. Boyajian, why are you running for town council president?

I am running for town council president because I could no longer keep silent about what I had seen these past four years as your Town Councilor at Large.

I then thought about what I wanted my two daughters Krystle and Shealagh to remember me for, what would my legacy be for them. I know most 50-year-old men don’t think that way but I am acutely aware of how fragile life is. 21 years ago, I underwent a bone-marrow transplant to save my life from leukemia. I know just how lucky I am to be alive, having had last rites twice. I am an oncology nurse practitioner that takes care of patients just like me and I know the increased risk of health problems I face. Therefore, my litmus test for almost everything I do in life is “what will my daughters think of me when I am no longer here to show them”. I am running for town council president because I want my daughters to know that their dad wasn’t afraid to do the right thing, even if it was the unpopular thing.

  1. You use the term “political elite” a lot. What do you mean by that?

The political elite I refer to are a network of likeminded individuals, a collective that believe they are entitled to make the decisions on behalf of the town. There is more than one network of well-funded elitists in Winthrop. The problem with the political elite is their sense of entitlement, and they are very guarded, preferring to secretly make decisions behind closed doors. I have concerns because the political elite often have interests that could be in direct conflict with the town’s best interest. The elite have a blind spot for these conflicts.

  1. At what point did you say, “enough is enough” and decide to run?

As time passed and word got around to the town employees at all levels of government that I was willing to listen, the number of employees opening up about their morale and concerns grew. These unresolved matters negatively affecting a majority of town employees intensified. I discussed their concerns with council leadership but it was felt there should be a separation between what the council oversees and what goes on in town hall. The town employee’s concerns did not go away and instead they became common knowledge throughout the town citizenry. Yet, the council remained silent behind the closed doors of executive session.

Last spring, I declared I was running for council president to stand up for the town employees and give them a voice.  I almost walked away from it because of the behind-the-scenes pressures the political elite placed upon me but I keep coming back to the same thing over and over. I promised so many regular citizens and town employees that I would try to do something to force the town council to deal with the problems staring us right in the face. I thought if I did nothing I was abandoning town employees that had no other recourse because no one else dared to speak out of turn.

  1. How are you different from your opponents?

My campaign is truly a grassroots effort of all types of citizens that began on the aspiration to create transparency in our town government. Unlike the other candidates, I will not except the justification that the council can continue to avoid public accountability because the charter says it can. I view the charter as the minimum standard as it relates to the council’s interaction with the citizens. As your council president I would make a strategic decision to rise above what the charter allows in order to benefit the entire town. I am the lone outsider running against the will of the politically connected, and the life-long councilors resistant to change. I prefer a transparent process open for every citizen to witness and offer their feedback. I will continue to advocate for more citizen involvement, prioritizing the creation of a two-way communication system between the citizens and the town. I am the candidate that would consult with “experts” that target areas of need before we embark on any large-scale project or significant policy change.

If I am chosen to be your next council president, I will advocate for the demolition of this broken system. I will set up systems to ensure citizens and councilors can make informed decisions about each project or decision the council votes on. I would promote impact discussions regarding both the positive and negative effects of any council decision.

  1. In your opinion, what are the biggest issues facing Winthrop right now?
  • Fiscal and professional transparency
  • The lack of 21st century communications systems
  • The lack of a full-time city planner at this critical time of economic development
  1. How do you plan to fix what you’ve outlined as major issues?

Fiscal transparency is the process of publishing information that is understandable to the citizens on how Winthrop raise taxes, borrows, spends, invests, and manages town assets and liabilities. I would work with the new town manager and Council to explore participation in the municipal open checkbook program. Participation allows communities to have access to a hosted Citizen Transparency Module based on the Mass. Commonwealth’s Open Checkbook website (http://www.mass.gov/opencheckbook).  The data for each community is securely transmitted weekly to a data center and data is be processed into data modules and populate data views for citizens to access.

Professional transparency requires a complete managerial review, which I have already asked the interim Town Manger to begin. A managerial review includes but is not limited to a formal review of all non-union positions’ salaries in comparison to equivalent size surrounding municipalities. This will allow us to have a benchmark to evaluate whether we are underpaying or overpaying our non-union employees. The second component is to review and update all non-union positions’ job descriptions to ensure that current employee possesses all the qualification commensurate with the position they presently hold. The final part of professional transparency would be to put all new nonunion employees through an assessment center where the candidates for employment would be asked to perform tasks commensurate with the job title they are applying for, this will help to ensure we have the best candidate for the position.

In order to achieve 21st-century communication systems, I would work with the new town manager and council to investigate the feasibility of collaborating with a number of our academic institutions’ department of communication/journalism. These collaborations would be to develop internship programs focused on two phases. The initial phase is to develop a baseline understanding of the town of Winthrop’s current communication process between government and its citizens. Phase two is to develop individual projects that each intern could conduct in order to expand on our current baseline communication structure. I envision this as an ongoing learning process that could be a model for other communities and universities.

The need for a qualified city planner had been ignored by our prior Town Manager. It became painfully obvious that the complexity of development was beyond his scope and the need for a qualified planner is a top priority. A planner can oversee the economic development process, streamlining it for developers and keeping the lines of communication open between developers, neighborhoods and businesses affected by a particular project. The planner would chair the planning board and work with the town manager so that any proposed development undergo an impact analysis so the town could properly plan and understand the future impact of decisions made today.

  1. Who are you running for and why?

I am running to provide a voice for the town employees that had been silenced for so long. I am running for the regular citizens that are just like me, wanting to be included in the decision-making process by their town government. I am running for the regular citizens that do not want to be blamed because they are working one or two fulltime jobs to provide for their family and could not make a meeting. I am running to advocate for 21st-century communication in order to facilitate more citizen participation in the decision-making process.

  1. What’s the most important thing you want voters to know about you?

I want to let them know that this election is not about lawn signs or about popularity, it’s about doing the right thing for our town. I want citizens to understand my passion for change comes from the love and gratitude I have for the Winthrop community I have been part of since 2001. I want voters to know I will listen to each of them and continue to strive to do the what is best for Winthrop.

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