Former Revere Mayor Tom Ambrosino has crossed the City line and become the new Chelsea City Manager – winning out Monday night in an 8-3 vote of the Chelsea City Council during the first round of voting.
Former Portland (ME) City Manager Mark Rees. was also considered by the Council.
“I’m very excited,” said Ambrosino, who said he will continue living in Revere. “Since leaving Revere, I have come to miss the daily interactions with the public. I got a lot of satisfaction from that. I miss the feeling you go when you can make a difference in people’s lives. You got that chance as a mayor, and you get it as a city manager.”
Ambrosino, who is now the executive director of the state Supreme Judicial Court, said he never would have guessed that he would one day lead the City next door to where he was mayor.
“I never would have guessed that and never gave it a whole lot of thought until I was approached and asked to think about it,” he said. “I thought about it and felt it would be a good opportunity. It had all the things I loved about being a mayor and it is missing many of the things that drove me crazy as a mayor – the fundraising and worrying about re-elections. I can immerse myself in urban policy, serve people and leave the politics aside. I’d have a contract and work under that contract.”
Right off the bat, current Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo said he was happy to see his former city government colleague would be next door working as a municipal official.
“I’m thrilled for Tom and the city of Chelsea,” said Rizzo. “His experience and leadership is just what the city of Chelsea needs to fill the void left by Secretary Jay Ash who had literally transformed the city of Chelsea during his tenure as manager. I look forward to working with him as I had with Jay in the past on initiatives and toward solutions regarding issues that face our respective cities and our region.”
The Chelsea City Manager process began last December when Ash announced he was taking a job with Gov. Charlie Baker as the new Secretary of Housing and Economic Development.
Ash said he was glad to see his former municipal colleague become his successor.
“He is among a handful of the best public sector managers I know,” said Ash. “He is admired by many both for his work in Revere, where he distinguished himself as a great mayor, and then his work around the region, both for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and the Metropolitan Mayor’s Coalition. He has the great combination of outstanding public policy credentials while being able to also be effective operations guy. During his time in Revere, I would often seek advice from him. I appreciated the way he thinks through issues and I admired him for his vision about how government should be responsive to its residents.. I believe he is going to fit into Chelsea well, as he is a champion of urban communities and a great people person as well.”
The Chelsea City Council contracted with the Collins Center from UMass-Boston to run a search process, which started in late January.
By March 31, some 30 applications had been turned in, including one from Ambrosino.
Names were whittled down to about 15 candidates, then seven, and a special Screening Committee chose four names to submit to the Chelsea Council for a decision.
However, two people dropped out of the process before the decision could be made, leaving only Ambrosino and Rees.
Last Saturday, both men went through a grueling interview process at Chelsea City Hall, where Ambrosino came out the most impressive to the majority of the Council.
The winning candidate needed seven votes to secure the position, and Ambrosino got eight votes on the first ballot.
“We had two good candidates,” said Chelsea Council President Leo Robinson. “For me, I think I had to weigh the issue of him working in a community that close to Chelsea. He’s been part of the Mayor’s Coalition. He will come in and hit the ground running. We have a lot of momentum here, but we need someone to continue the path we’re going on. The other guy, Rees, was just as qualified, but to me, Tom Ambrosino had the edge.”
Ambrosino will be working out his contract with the City Council over the next few weeks, and it is estimated he could begin work in mid-July.