After 18 years of complete stability on the Revere Housing Authority’s (RHA) Board, former Chair George Anzuoni has had one wild ride over the past several weeks.
In a relatively innocuous and cold letter to Anzuoni about three weeks ago, Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration informed Anzuoni that his services on the RHA Board would no longer be needed.
Just like that; it was all over.
It was quite a shock for Anzuoni, who was first appointed by Gov. William Weld, reappointed by Gov. Jane Swift and finally reappointed by Gov. Mitt Romney. All Housing Authority Boards have one member chosen by the governor, and for many years Anzuoni was that pick in Revere.
Anzuoni’s appointment, though, had expired in 2009, and Patrick did not reappoint him immediately. Since that time, though, he was simply held over in his service – until a few weeks ago.
The Journal contacted Gov. Patrick’s Office and the Department of Housing and Community Development, which oversees housing authorities in the state.
They indicated that they had appointed Bob Furlong to the position on Sept. 18th, replacing Anzuoni with no stated reason. They indicated they had no further information on the situation, nor did they supply any specific reason why they chose not to reappoint Anzuoni.
RHA Executive Director Linda Shaw said it probably came down to political affiliations and length of service.
“I think it was for two primary reasons,” said Shaw, who noted she has worked successfully with Anzuoni. “First, he had been on the board an extensive period of time and the bigger reason was the governor wanted to have his own appointees in place because George is a Republican and the governor is a Democrat. I don’t think there’s anything sinister about it. It’s just the governor has been cleaning house recently and trying to put his people in place.”
Furlong is a long-time City and state official that lives in the Point of Pines and is very well liked. Most recently, he was a mayoral assistant to former Mayor Tom Ambrosino. He also served for many years on the State Racing Commission, until it was recently disbanded and folded into the new Mass Gaming Commission. Furlong is also an ardent supporter of Gov. Patrick and the Democratic Party, but seemingly has little to no experience with Housing Authority work.
Anzuoni, however, has an ‘R’ next to his voter registration, as he has long been a registered Republican and active in that party.
It seemed like the end for Anzuoni – who is also the City of Revere’s Director of Finance.
But, in a twist of fate, recently appointed RHA Board Member Ray Nickerson decided to resign his new position this week. That opened up a way back on for Anzuoni, and Mayor Dan Rizzo was happy to re-appoint him this week.
On Monday night, the City Council considered the appointment and approved it with a unanimous vote.
So, Anzuoni’s on-again, off-again ride at the RHA Board has ended, and he now finds himself back where he started – though he has lost his governor’s appointment and his chairmanship.
“It’s not like I’m not qualified or anything,” said Anzuoni this week. “I’m one of the few Board members that is certified. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on this appointment and I take it very seriously. Serving for 18 years is no small thing.”
How do the elected officials from Revere feel about the sudden removal of Anzuoni? Here are their responses.
House Speaker Bob DeLeo – Did not comment in time for this story.
State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein – “I didn’t support or oppose any of it. That’s the governor’s position to appoint. I like George Anzuoni. He’s a good person and a neighbor of mine. I’m have supported him in the past.”
State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli – “George Anzuoni has served with distinction in the Housing Authority Board and I’m glad to see that Mayor Rizzo appointed him.”