Reactivating The HRC
As long-time Revere resident (five generations strong), an active member of local non-profit organizations and a participant in other activities supporting the economic development and quality of life in our city, I feel compelled to make the following observations regarding the reactivation of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the proposed appointment of Dimple Rana as its director. My hope is to open the eyes and minds of all residents of this city, create a call to action and encourage our elected officials to make the right decision.
1. First, I want to state that I believe, without doubt, that Revere needs a Human Rights Commission and that Dimple Rana has the qualifications to head up the commission. Due to the time constraints brought about by the budget deliberations, I believe the Appointments Subcommittee made the right decision postponing to the decision regarding the HRC and the appointment of Dimple Rana. However, I and many others who watched the meeting, believe that they were inconsistent in their response to proposed appointment of Ms. Rana.
The re-establishment of the HRC is an important matter and its goals and objectives do need to be clearly understood. I believe the councilors involved deserve the benefit of the doubt regarding the impact of the Budget process on their ability to adequately consider and decide on the HRC. Anyone who watched the sub-committee meetings, and then the council meeting, can obviously see that the Budget was all consuming.
As councilor Visconti pointed out, there is a need for a Human Rights Commission in this city, as there should be in any city that wants to say it is truly inclusive. Our Country is designed to provide checks and balances in the way it is governed. It was also built on a Constitution that declares that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with “certain unalienable rights”. The Human Rights Commission is a check on all levels of our city governance and operation to ensure that every resident is treated fairly and equitably. We take pride in the diversity of our city. We justifiably celebrate the outreach programs and achievements in our schools that have made us a stronger community. However, there is still much work to be done if we want to become a truly diverse and equitable city.
Having participated in many conversations throughout the city and considering recent history, I believe it is quite evident that an HRC is needed to ensure equality in our city. A few Cases in point:
• The recent hate crime where a car was spray painted with several swastikas and “white power” was written on the street in front of an immigrant’s home.
• Conversations with students regarding the frequent and inappropriate use of the N-word, not only by students, but by teachers and staff.
• Middle School Students having to defend an immigrant worker at a Dunkin Donuts counter who was being berated and verbally abused by bigoted, racist comments from so-called “Real Americans”.
• Reports from immigrant residents who are not always given the patience and support needed to help them effectively and fairly navigate city regulations and departments that enforce them.
• 38% of our city’s population are foreign born. Many of them live below the poverty line or are working multiple jobs. individuals working with non-profit organizations and community groups continually receive reports from residents who are unfairly treated by predatory landlords that do not adequately maintain their properties.
Will a Human Rights Commission make all of this go away? No. However with true leadership and a commitment to collaboration from city leaders, it will make us a better City. I truly believe it will.
2. Regarding the subcommittee’s handling of Ms. Rana’s proposed appointment, I believe that the subcommittee members could have and should have done a much better job in their response. I found it quite telling, and disappointing, that after about 30 minutes of praise and commentary for other appointees, the Council offered no comments regarding Ms. Rana, a person, who has done far more for this city than any of the other candidates with the possible exception of incoming Police Chief Callahan. Why?
For the last 12 years, Ms. Rana has done an exemplary job with Revere on the Move and other community initiatives she has directed. She has worked tirelessly to organize people and obtain resources needed to improve the community and the lives of those in it. There was no mention of this work or praise for her commitment.
If nothing else, there should have been immediate high praise for the work Ms. Rana has done organizing and chairing the daily Covid-19 response meetings and coordinating with City departments and community groups throughout the city to meet the many needs of so many people during this crisis. The community network she chaired was, and still is, an instrumental tool to ensuring effective communications and community collaboration throughout the crisis. Without it, the City’s ability to successfully respond to the crisis would have been weakened. The fact that her accomplishments and innumerable contributions to this city were not recognized by the subcommittee was, at the very least, unexpected and disappointing.
In addition, Ms. Rana came in sixth in the last Councilor at large election with 2,684 votes with a consistent 4-5% favorable representation in every ward, indicating a wide level of support. Factoring in the non-voting population, and the human rights perspective, Dimple’s impact and presence is even greater.
Why did the subcommittee not recognize Ms. Rana for her contributions to the city, which have been many? The subcommittee’s discussions should have been about Ms. Rana’s appointment, not about the commission. Why were most questions from the subcommittee regarding the formation of the commission and not the candidate for that position? Looking at recent history the Disability Commission Executive Director was appointed and then it took 3-6 months to work out all that commission’s details. Why is this appointment any different?
Was it because of her involvement in matters that raised awareness to issues regarding the poor, disenfranchised and discriminated members of our community? These issues were uncomfortable to many and presented challenges to discriminatory practices and beliefs that have been ignored for far too long. Those who harbor those feelings should look back throughout history to the many people, who have found it necessary to stand up, say something and do something about it, despite it being the more difficult and less popular road to take. I cannot think of better qualifications for a candidate to head up the HRC. Ms. Rana has them all and more. I think the Mayor’s “criteria” for the position is quite clear in Ms. Rana’s record.
The Appointments Subcommittee should give Ms. Rana the respect that she deserves and should appoint her as executive Director for the Human Rights Commission, a job, that her record shows, she is well qualified to perform. To do otherwise, would ignore a large part of our city population in need of fairness and equality would unjustly ignore her qualifications, and her history of service to this city she loves and has done so much to improve.
On Handing Out Raises
I am a lifetime resident of Revere. I have always shown respect for our politicians and support their hard work. But there are times that some of our elected councillors need to be questioned about their actions. This is one of those times when an injustice has occurred to a hard working city employee. This workers name is Donald Ciaramella who works for the DPW. Donny is a diligent worker that takes pride in all he does in order to make our city better. Donny has been promoted to Chief of Engineering and Infrastructure. With this position he has many more responsibilities. They include water, sewer, water meter billing , parks, highway and Sanitation. With these increased duties six of the councillors voted not to increase his salary. More work, more responsibility with no compensation. If there was a salary freeze across the city of no pay increases one could understand. This wasn’t the case. To see others receive a raise without any additional responsibilities is humiliating. And yes some did receive raises. I am calling out to Ms McKenna, Ms Giannino, Mr. Zambuto, Mr Visconti, Mr. Serino and Mr. Rotondo to explain their vote. There are a few other capable people that were passed over and received no compensation. One is Tech Lang , City Planner, who has an impeccable reputation. Why were some given raises and others nothing? What was your barometer of voting yay or nay? If any of you voted for other raises you must have a problem with Don and Tech’s work ethic. Is it possible that some of our elected officials have also taken on a new title of Human Resource? Please explain to me and the residents your reason for voting NO.
Why No Pay Increase
This letter is addressed to the Revere City Council
As a long time Revere resident and one of your friends, supporters or constituents, who has the utmost respect for each of you, it saddens me to tell you that this time you got it wrong! Donny Ciaramella is probably the hardest working person in the entire City of Revere. He is on call 24 hours/7 days a week and you voted against his increase which should accompany his promotion? What were you thinking? I would understand if the city was cutting everybody across the board… But this simply was not the case! Also, citing the Pandemic as a reason added insult to injury.
Donny takes pride in everything he does and never leaves a project unfinished. I am requesting that each of you: Councillor Rotondo, Councillor McKenna, Councillor Giannino, Councillor Serino,Councillor Zambuto and Councillor Visconti please reconsider your vote and really look at what this man has done and what he is doing for this city. He has basically taken on two positions with the pay of just one! How can this be justified?
Again, if there was a salary freeze across-the-board then I would not have a problem with it but that’s not the case! The way it was done was insulting. I have witnessed him work on several occasions. He is constantly on the go making sure that everything runs smoothly. He worked endless hours ensuring that the pumping stations in Ward 5 are in good working order so we do not flood. With this new position as Chief of Engineering and Public Works, Donny has even more responsibilities then he did before. So, Why shouldn’t he get paid for it? Would you work for free? Donny has always gone above and beyond and if Mayor Arrigo did not feel he deserved this promotion and increase then he would not have proposed it. With this promotion, Donny is responsible for water, sewer drain, highway, parks, sanitation and engineering now.
Council President, Patrick Keene said it best, “Donny is overseeing two very large departments and he epitomizes what we want in a person that is willing to do the work and to not pay him for that is pretty short sighted” As one of last week’s papers stated, The mayor stated that Donny as well as a few others who were shortsighted, “should receive their adjustments in different amounts to go with their increased responsibilities.” I too, strongly agree with Mayor Arrigo and Council President Patrick Keefe and am urging these Councillors who voted against him to reconsider their vote and give Donny Ciaramella the increase which comes with the promotion he has been given and without a doubt earned and which is unequivocally well deserved.