By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Mayor Brian Arrigo continued the conversation of residency waivers last week with the city council and this week he is sharing that his Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) is leaving June 30 because his residency waiver is about to expire.
CAO Omar Boukili, who resides in Somerville and is also running for Ward 4 Alderman in that city, pledged a year ago to move to Revere, but has not.
Two weeks ago the city brought forth a candidate for the police/fire department IT department who resides in Saugus. The city council voted down a request to waive the residency requirement. As a result the city lost a candidate the search committee deemed the top candidate for a job.
Arrigo said at the end of the day he wants to get the most qualified candidates as possible. He said two things were said two weeks ago that aren’t true.
“That I’m hiring more and more people from outside the City and that I am constantly asking for waivers,” Arrigo told the councillors. “These statements are inaccurate.”
Arrigo said since he took office in January 2015 he has hired 39 people with 37 of them living in the City and two waivers were granted, one to Boukili and one to Director of Innovation and Data Management Reuben Kantor.
“All things being equal, of course I would go with a Revere resident. Of course I want to give Revere people jobs,” Arrigo said.
Arrigo explained that the new human resources department has been set up to avoid the image of friends and family getting jobs.
“One job in the city got 200 resumes,” Arrigo said. “We are getting a lot of people who are interested and qualified. But I can’t let things be said that are blatantly untrue.”
He noted that the city has 121 non-school employees who currently reside in Revere and constitute $7.4 million in payroll. He added that from 2002 to 2015, since the residency waiver was put in, 149 people were hired and still work for the city. Of those, 45 reside outside of the city and still work for the city. From 2012 to 2015 there were 15 hires that resided outside the city.
The waiver is built into the residency requirement for the instances that someone outside may have qualifications better suited for the position being offered.
The residency requirement was implemented in 2002 with some saying that it was for political reasons.
“What should we do with those I did not hire and reside outside the city,” Arrigo asked the councillors, adding that he’s not looking to change the residency ordinance.
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe said the problem with the waivers is that people may use this opportunity to have a “bridge job,” working for the city only to move on to another, better job.
Councillor Tony Zambuto said the ordinance with a waiver is ridiculous.
“It was put in for political reasons,” Zambuto said, adding that he would prefer residency be an option.