Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro has been in office for only five months. But heâ€™s not shying away from making motions that stir things up.
Citing poor attendance at meetings by some councillors, Cogliandro wants an ordinance passed that would deduct a percentage of a city councillorâ€™s salary when a councillor is absent from a regular meeting or a subcommittee meeting.
â€œWeâ€™ve had 19 subcommittee [meetings] and weâ€™ve had two of them full,â€ began Cogliandro. â€œWeâ€™ve had 11 Council meetings, and weâ€™ve only had every councillor at four of them.â€
Cogliandro added, â€œThis is a job weâ€™re paid to do, and I feel like we owe it to the people to come here and conduct our business.â€
The first-year councillor said he understood that the demands of the job extend beyond meetings to â€œphone calls, emails, site visits, but this is what weâ€™re paid to do.â€
Cogliandro said there was a recent subcommittee meeting and a quorum (the minimum number of members necessary to conduct the business of the subcommittee) was not present. â€œThatâ€™s bad,â€ summarized Cogliandro.
Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri said he has supported the measure since being elected last November.
â€œItâ€™s not aimed at anyone personally, but I echo Councillor Cogliandroâ€™s feelings,â€ said Silvestri. â€œWe are elected. Weâ€™re to here to represent the people of Revere. We have less that 24 meetings in a year, and unless there is a family memberâ€™s death, someone is very ill, or an emergency comes up â€“ we all have had that happen, but we need to do be better at being here 100 percent of the time as elected officials in this city. We always say weâ€™re here to represent the people, then we need to show up to represent the people.â€
Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino commended Cogliandro for his motion before asking his colleagues to consider moving the starting time of subcommittee meetings to 6 p.m., as opposed to 5 p.m. He said some councillors, including himself, work in fulltime jobs until 5 p.m., which makes it difficult to be at subcommittee meetings.
Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito said poor attendance in the private or public sectors is â€œgrounds for being written up, termination, especially excessive absences.â€
â€œSo, I think this motion should be put in place because the people elect us to show up and do our job, and if we donâ€™t, there should be consequences,â€ concluded Morabito, while wondering whom would decide the percentage of the councillorâ€™s salary that â€œwould be docked.â€
Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo, who is a nurse, said there are many health-related factors that need to be considered, such as long-term illnesses and surgical procedures that would prevent a councillor from attending meetings.
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo said, â€œWhile I get the idea behind the motion, youâ€™re going to have incidents that are going to be beyond your control. At the end of the day, we donâ€™t work for each other, we work for the voters. The voters are who put us in office. If the voters think that weâ€™re not doing our job, weâ€™re probably not going to get elected next time. If weâ€™re going to draft an ordinance and self-govern ourselves, and start talking about financial penalties, we have to be careful because there are going to be circumstances that will come up â€“ so I think itâ€™s worthy of discussion and Iâ€™ll vote for it, but if weâ€™re going to judge ourselves on attendance, what are we doing? I give the voters enough credit to understand if weâ€™re doing our job or not.â€
Silvestri had the last word, saying that he had a planned golf trip and veteransâ€™ conference for Monday, â€œbut I canceled that vacation and that trip, because I owe it to the people who put us here every two years to show up here and earn my pay. We do have to hold ourselves accountable and show up for the people.â€
Council President Gerry Visconti referred the matter to the Legislative Affairs Subcommittee.