The City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Debra Peczka-DiGuilio as the new Director of Elder Affairs at its meeting Monday night. Peczka-DiGuilio had been serving as interim director, overseeing the daily operations of the Rossetti-Cowan Senior Center.
Councillors were profuse in their praise of Peczka, who previously served as executive assistant in Mayor Brian Arrigo’s Office.
Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna said Mayor Arrigo’s designee is “a great fit for the Senior Center.”
“I think you will have wonderful ideas. I think you’re kind and passionate about the seniors. You want them to have the best experience. I’m totally in favor of this appointment, congratulations,” said McKenna.
“Her [Peczka’s] track record is unbelievable,” said City Council President Anthony Zambuto. “The seniors love her and she’s doing a wonderful job. And she loves Revere. This is another great appointment by the Mayor.”
Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti said the Senior Center holds a special place in his heart.
“I love going there. They have always welcomed me from the start of my political career,” said Visconti. “A lot of seniors were a little concerned [about who the next director would be], and I kept saying, ‘just relax,’ because there’s a person coming who fits that position to a ‘T.’ I was so excited to hear that you were being appointed. I am ecstatic that it’s become official because you have done a great job through the pandemic. Talking to all the seniors, they love you.”
Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino also lauded the appointment.
“Deb, you’re a phenomenal person in general, but I cannot think of a better person to fit this role,” said Giannino. “Your personality and the way you care about people and genuinely just care from your heart. I can’t think of a better person to be working with our seniors and to be in this position.”
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said “this is certainly if not Mayor Arrigo’s best appointment, one of his best.”
“I can’t think of anyone with the work ethic of yourself that he could have put down there in that position,” said Powers. “With the improvements you’ve made [at the Senior Center], it seems like home to many people and that’s what we should be doing for our seniors in this city, making them feel at home and making sure they’re getting whatever is necessary to make it a more pleasant visit and you’ve more than done that. You’ve exceeded my expectations and I want to congratulate you.”
Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo credited Peczka-DiGuilio for her outstanding efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I see you there. I know what you did,” said Rotondo. “Councillor Powers said you’re probably [the Mayor’s] best appointment tonight and I have personal reasons to feel that way. You have my vote 100 percent.”
Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito also noted Peczka’s excellent work with the seniors during the pandemic and upon the re-opening of the Center.
“I have full faith in you and taking on this role,” said Morabito, citing his attendance at a barbecue luncheon at the Center. “I asked some of the seniors that day how they felt about the transition and it was all positive feedback. They were so happy to be back and they were very hopeful. I reassured them that you’ll be a great fit and guaranteed that you’ll be teaching them Zumba as well.”
Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said, “I’ve heard a lot of accolades thrown your way now, so you’re walking out of here like 7-foot-2.”
Peczka, whose daughter, former Revere High star athlete Emily DiGiulio, was in the Council Chambers for the official vote, graciously accepted her appointment, stating, “I’m very humbled and appreciative and I thank the Mayor and I thank all of you. But you’re only as good as the people that surround you.”
Guinasso concluded the appointment process that was conducted at the sub-committee meeting, saying, “I think you’ll do a great job. Congratulations again and we all appreciate the work you’ve done.”