Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro wants to see the videotape of a verbal exchange between Revere resident Gina Castiello and a member of the Revere Human Rights Commission that allegedly occurred following an HRC meeting on Dec. 2, 2021.
Cogliandro, chair of the Appointments Subcommittee, made the request after Castiello expressed displeasure about an HRC member’s interaction with her at a meeting held in the Council Chambers.
“Are these insults audible on the YouTube Channel on these videos?” Cogliandro asked Castiello.
Castiello said the insults occurred after the December 2 meeting, “And yes, we have them on video.”
“I’m the chairman of the Appointments Subcommittee. Can you send me the timestamps of that so that I can review them? To me, that behavior is unacceptable in these Chambers for anybody. If someone, especially a resident is being insulted, we wouldn’t allow any of us to speak to each other that way up here. We respect each other and we don’t speak that way to any of you. So that’s not okay with me.”
Prior to Cogliandro’s request, City Council President Gerry Visconti had responded to Castiello’s questions about how the Human Rights Commission was formed, and the process by which members are appointed.
“This [Commission] was created back in 1994 by the former mayor, Robert Haas,” said Visconti. “Just like every other board, the Mayor [Brian Arrigo] appoints the people that he feels are qualified, and we as a City Council approve them or deny them. That’s just the process with the HRC along with every other board that is in the City.”
“Understood, point well taken,” said Castiello.
Visconti also noted that Castiello had declined an opportunity to have a private meeting with Arrigo.
“You denied [that private meeting],” said Visconti.
“Four times I denied private mediation,” said Castiello. “Because I wanted a public mediation to bring it to the public forefront so the constituents of Revere could see what’s going on with this Human Rights Commission.”
“Gina, you have some legitimate concerns of how you’ve been treated. I haven’t seen the tapes. I don’t know.” said Visconti.
Cogliandro now wants to view the tapes and proceed toward a resolution of the matter.
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe also weighed in on the dispute, telling Castiello that “the HRC doesn’t have any authority over you – I know that’s the feeling [you have] , but I don’t know why.”
“There’s a Library Commission, a Cultural Council, a Council of Elder Affairs – there’s no authority over you, so I don’t know there’s this feeling that one group (HRC) has [the authority over you] – they meet and discuss things that are important to some people in the city, and they talk about it. There’s really no authority over you. People that are representing on these councils or commissions, if they’re being disrespectful in that manner, they will come back in front of us in two years [for reappointments]. I hope you can give some information to Councilor Cogliandro, and if these things are happening, and they come back in front of us when their appointments are up, it’s going to be stuff that we decide whether or not they do get confirmed again.”