By Sue Ellen Woodcock
He’s been on the job for seven weeks and Monday night Mayor Brian Arrigo addressed the city in his first public speech.
“It is a privilege to be in this office as we strive to achieve the potential we all know Revere has,” Arrigo said.
For the past few weeks he and his administration have been assessing the needs and the challenges that the city is facing.
Arrigo announced that his administration has inherited a nearly $2 million deficit in the middle of the budget year. He said this will cause serious budget challenges in the next fiscal year.
“We need to do everything we can to make sure that we deliver top notch city services for the lowest cost,” Arrigo said. “I will also establish policies aimed at eliminating waste and inefficiencies such as unjustified overtime, improper hiring, select raises for a chosen few, inconsistent procurement practices, and unstructured IT and Telecom services.”
“It’s paramount that we all come together as a city. It was a difficult, and at times a contentious election,” Arrigo said. “We are also not far removed from the discord of the casino issue. We need to put these issues behind us and unite as one community.”
Since starting his work in office on Jan. 5, Arrigo has implemented an open door policy with office hours for the public every Thursday evening.
“We will continue to create a professional environment at City Hall that not only retains gifted employees, but also attracts talented professionals,” Arrigo said.
He added that the days of being a “good guy” and getting a municipal job in Revere are over. Overlooking egregious violations and poor performance are also gone.
Arrigo plans on setting up a human resources department with job descriptions, basic workplace policies, and performance standards applied citywide.
“As the city stands today there are no written standards or protocols, few job descriptions and a lack of understanding of what the core mission of city government is,” Arrigo said, adding that everyone will receive the best service, no matter the family name, gender or ethnicity.
Arrigo said he has outlined his agenda for the coming months. Other issues he plans to address include the opioid epidemic.
“We’ve been plagued by a resurgence of overdose deaths,” Arrigo said. “In 2015 Revere was number two in the state in per capita overdose deaths. This is unacceptable.”
He noted the excellent work fire and police personnel are doing to combat the opioid crisis, as well as RevereCares, MGH, and North Suffolk Mental Health Association.
“We will reactivate the city’s opioid task force and redouble out efforts to fight this scourge,” Arrigo said.
Arrigo said the city must bring in meaningful, thoughtful and right-sized commercial development, creating jobs for residents and helping to shift the tax burden off homeowners.
Arrigo would also like the city to create a comprehensive city plan to layout the future of the city.
State Senate candidates State Rep. Jay Livingstone and attorney Joseph Boncore attended the speech as did Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, State Rep. RoseLee Vincent, School Committee members Stacey Rizzo and Dan Maguire.
“I liked how he mentioned bringing together a city divided by the election,” said Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna. “We all need to move forward and mend the animosity.”
“Brian has a clear vision for the city of Revere and I look forward to helping him achieve it,” said Council President Jessica Giannino. “The city council and the mayor’s office have a lot to do in the years to come underhis leadership. I believe we will accomplish the goals the mayor and his office have set.”
“The speech was visionary, inclusive and signaled a new day for Revere,” said Council Vice President Steven Morabito. “It provided a positive outlook for the future of our city. Mayor Arrigo delivered the speech eloquently and I believe it was well perceived.”