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Maiocco, Dello Russo Elected to Council President, VP

More controversy for council at second meeting this week.

There were more fireworks at the second Medford City Council meeting of the week Thursday, but the council finally found a way to elect a president and vice president.

After Tuesday's meeting was derailed amidst questions about conflict of interest for councilors voting for themselves for president and vice president, a special Thursday meeting led to the re-election for Councilors Robert Maiocco to president and Fred Dello Russo for vice president.

On Tuesday Councilor Michael Marks said he'd received an opinion from the state Ethics Commission that councilors who vote for themselves for president and vice president could have a conflict of interest.

This is because the president and vice president carry higher stipends than other councilors.

Councilor Robert Penta invoked "Section 22," a bylaw that ends all debate on a topic until the next meeting, on both votes, effectively ending the meeting.

In the case of Thursday's vote for council president, four councilors were nominated for the office. The "rule of necessity" was invoked by those four councilors (Maiocco, Dello Russo, Paul Camuso and Richard Caraviello) as a means of allowing a vote to move forward.

City Solicitor Mark Rumley informed the council that if a majority of the seven-person council had a conflict of interest on a vote, they could invoke the rule of necessity, state their conflict for the record and then proceed with a vote.

Penta and Marks both vehemently disagreed with Rumley's position. Marks was angered that Rumley provided the opinion without the direction of the council, but Rumley stated City Clerk Edward Finn had come to Rumley on the matter.

Marks called that action "underhanded," which caused Rumley to ask if Marks' decision to go to the state Ethics Commission in the first place was any less underhanded.

For his part, Penta did not believe the rule of necessity would override the conflict of interest issue. 

Finn called for a vote. Marks and Penta voted "present" while the rest of the council voted for Maiocco, including Maiocco himself.

"This whole thing was a ploy to get around electing the person to this particular position," Penta said. "It's wrong, it's not good, it's not healthy for the city and it doesn't do justice to this Medford City Council."

After being sworn in by Finn, Maiocco said he was grateful to be a city councilor and looked forward to doing the best for the community "despite our differences."

Maiocco also apologized for what happened at Tuesday night's meeting.

The vote for vice president appeared to be headed in the same direction with the same four councilors being nominated, including Maiocco, who had just been sworn is as president.

Maiocco was originally comfortable with being nominated for vice president but Rumley said it would be "ridiculous" for Maiocco to accept the nomination.

Penta felt councilors were misusing the rule of necessity in this instance. 

"Why is everyone so intent on trying to get around this?" Penta asked.

Maiocco criticized Penta for his "diatribe" on the topic and for several moments the two longtime Medford councilors were shouting over each other.

According to Rumley, it would be impossible for Maiocco to serve in both capacities and eventually Maiocco withdrew from consideration.

After Camuso withdrew, it left a vote between Caraviello and Dello Russo. Dello Russo, Penta and Marks all voted "present" with the other four councilors voting for Dello Russo.

Dello Russo thanked his colleagues and said he would do his best to "serve the City Council and the residents of this community."

With an organization finally in place, the council moved forward with business Thursday. That included granting the common victualler license for the new Stop & Shop on Salem Street, the final permit needed for the opening of the supermarket.

The Stop & Shop's grand opening will take place at 10 a.m. today.

Arthur DeLuca January 11, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Your points are well taken Ray and dead on! Obviously the monkey wrench was thrown in this fashion in attempt to cause exactly the spectacle it did. It's actions like these that make me say Government is too important to be run by politicians (and my 2 other long-standing mantras 1) "In order to revitalize Medford Square, one must first revitalize the City Council" 2) "The problem is and always has been the City Council") Clearly some were acting not in the best interests of the residents of Medford. What's really a shame was that if the Council had gone alone with Mike Marks original ploy, the voting results would have beem the same. Instead of 7 voting between Maiocco and Marks (which is where this was oviously going, as witnessed last January), with the results coming out perhaps 4 to 3 in Maiocco's favor; it would have been 5 voting for them with the results coming out 3 to 2 in favor of Maiocco. Even if my analysis of who would vote for who is wrong, if one eliminates the votes of the two running, the vote totals would evenly reduce one vote for each side resulting in the same side ahead; just by a lesser number. Maybe this would have been realized and tried Tuesday night, but Penta's raising Section 22 ended that possibility. As such I am equally ashamed of Bob Penta as I am of Michael Marks. I hope ALL the voters remember this week when they hit the voting booths this November!
Jay January 11, 2013 at 04:47 PM
This council is a disgrace and should be ashamed. While I do enjoy the opportunity to watch and be informed on the cable station I wonder if this is the reason for constant grandstanding and rhetoric. Every person on the council needs to learn to say more with less. They love to hear themselves talk and rarely move the ball down the field. We need a wholesale change!!!!!
Richie M January 11, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Another meeting another black eye for the City of Medford. Councilor Penta's haranguing the two women from Stop & Shop was over the top, unnecessary and embarrassing. And as usual Camuso being the obnoxious buffoon that he is couldn't resist the urge to show everyone how smart he is. Three times he felt the need to point out that "on a hot August night" (what??) Penta & Marks voted against funding for school security. Three times. He says "it's water under the bridge" and "I'm not trying to make an issue out of it but I just think the rest of youse should know". Like the intemperate man child that he is, Camuso just doesn't understand that sometimes it's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. Maiocco once again neglected to take his grown-up pill. The would- be monk and frequent guest of Steve Wynn (another bizarre pronouncement from the undertaker) Dello Russo had to tell us that he has a day job. Kudos to Councilors Caraviello & Lungo-Koehn for doing the people's business. Like Breanna said: "let's end this circus." Indeed. Come November it's time to strike the tents and send some of these fools packing.
Doria Alberg January 11, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Councilor Penta is so rude. As someone who represents 'the people' he needs to get a grip. I've never met anyone with more Napolean Syndrome then Penta. He's ALWAYS argumentative!! Is he constipated? IBS? or just plain immature. This is a man I would not want as a friend or relative. He's outlived his time on the board. I don't feel he actually gets anything done. He's an obstructionist, someone says 'black', he says 'white'. He argues for the sake of arguing. Some advice Penta...join the debate team!
Engineer January 11, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Calm down Harvey
raymay January 11, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Will someone who's not crazy/argumentative/thickheaded -- anyone? Please? -- run for city council? Part of the reason we have these clowns in is because *someone* voted them in.
Engineer January 11, 2013 at 10:23 PM
How about Chuck Chardonnay?
Doria Alberg January 12, 2013 at 02:32 AM
Not Harvey...how are you Joe??
Engineer January 12, 2013 at 04:10 AM
Oh no, "Doria" has figured out that I am "Joe". Oh "Doria" why did you have to tell everyone my secret? Alas, I'll never be able to show my face here again....would that you would do same. C'mon Harvey, what's your take on things??
Doria Alberg January 12, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Joe I have no beef with you, it's done. Lets not do this okay? I'm not writing about you, I don't intend to, so please just let this go okay?
Jake O'Donnell January 12, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Let's get back on track and keep comments to the subject of the article. We've gotten off topic here.
liam January 12, 2013 at 05:14 PM
The time was already long overdue for a change in the two presiding offices of president and vice-president of the Medford City Council. The intransigence of Councilors Maiocco, Dello Russo and Camuso begs term limits for these two offices. The question should not be why Councilor Marks did what he did, but why Mr. Maiocco so tenaciously refuses to relinquish the council presidency and give someone else a chance. An adversarial relationship between councilors when it comes to individual issues is healthy. However, Mr. Maiocco's behavior in telling a citizen he "has no standing in the city" was disgraceful and intimidating to any Medford resident who may want to come before the city council. The discussion about stipends presented another disturbing moment. Councilor Dello Russo laughed off the existence of his stipend as being so insignificant he didn't even know what it was or that it existed and frankly didn't care. His attitude is a slap in the face to anyone who is currently unemployed. Unfortunately, the lines have been drawn and the sides have been chosen with two councilors, Lungo and Caraviello, who seem to sway in the wind. The glue that seems to bind this divisiveness resides in the Mayor's office and with those who serve him on the city council. When and only when the holder of that office changes, we might just see a city council that is still adversarial, but one that reflects seven councilors who are truly representing the residents of Medford.
darleen sullivan January 12, 2013 at 07:43 PM
OK---but seriously - Why did Marks wait to raise the issues at the meeting? Clearly he looked into it, then knew about it, but didnt contact his council mates BEFORE? Seems selfish - and clearly not in the best interests on Medford. And why is Dellos Russo's statement a slap-in-the-face to anyone? What a stretch. It's short money percentage wise to what they get paid. They should get rid of the council anyways...city elects a Mayor. if you dont like him---vote him out. and flinflon does sound like the blogger/liar joe v
Arthur DeLuca January 12, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Reminds me of another "gem" performed by Councilor Penta some years ago when the Council was meeting in the High School due to the Alden Chambers being renovated. He was grousing about the inconvenience to the Council and found fault with the fact that the architect was a woman. He actually said something like "How dare any woman think that she knows how to design a building better than a man". I thought he'd outgrown such a mysogenistic stance, but based on Thursday night, I don't think he's done much growing at all in the ensuing years. In fact, based on his three obviously revenge-laden resolutions Bob Penta has on the agenda for next week; I'm expecting even more childishness next Tuesday.
Arthur DeLuca January 12, 2013 at 10:33 PM
in 2003 I ran for City Council. In my campaign even let people know that I played Doctor Rabies on TV3. I got 2300 votes (at that time 45% of the 5000 threshhold needed to come in). That means 2300 people in Medford would have rather had Doctor Rabies sitting on the Council than at least one of the seven who made it in. Now the threshhold is down to 4000 votes needed to come in, and this is with approximately the same number of people voting; 10,000 out of 33,000 registered voters (numbers rounded of course). The same number of people are voting yet the Councilors are getting less votes. Even when you add in the votes for those who lost, the total votes cast are still decreasing. Some of the Council has become that unpopular. o see just who they are, comoare the 2003 totals with 2011 election totals.
Arthur DeLuca January 12, 2013 at 10:38 PM
If you want to put in term limits short enough so that Paul Camuso can't run again, you would also preclude every other Councilor from running except Fred Dello Russo and Rick Caraviello; and ANY term limits knocking out anyone you don't like would AUTOMATICLY knock out Bob Penta whose been there the longest. Let's see now... just keep in the two newest Councilors and toss out the 5 oldest? Well, I'd be losing two I want to keep, but also be getting rid of all three who I want out - okay... I'm in!!!
liam January 13, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Darleen Sullivan; Councilor Marks raised the issue at the meeting, before the public, where it should be raised. What is selfish is not voluntarily stepping down and allowing a fair rotation of president and vice-president. The rest of your comment is so ill-informed it doesn't deserve a response. Arthur DeLuca: I was referring to the presidency and the vice-presidency of the city council with regard to term limits.
liam January 13, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Unfortunately, at the Thursday meeting, Lungo-Koehn and Caraviello voted to continue the status quo.
liam January 13, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Why don't you run for office?
Arthur DeLuca January 13, 2013 at 03:44 PM
The cameras are EXACTLY the reason for all this grandstanding. You should attend a Committee of the Whole meeting sometime. The one I was at was like a dress rehearsal for the actual meeting. The Councilors were quiet, polite and reasonable in their discussions; acting as you'd expect elected officials to act. One could see how they were going to vote on the subjects discussed. Then when the time came to actually vote (In Alden Chambers in front of the cameras) all Hell broke lose and the time-wasting posturing began! I remember one night last year when the cameras weren't working and the meeting came over the cable as sound over black, at one point Councilor Penta could be heard saying "What am I doing this for, we don't have a picture". This is an obvious admission that he is gesturing only for the cameras. He's nothing but an actor, and a bad one at that! Anyone with Verizon Cable has on their channel lineup the government access channels from some surrounding cities. You have the ability to watch these other cities Council Meetings. I would love to hear back from someone how these other meetings go compared to ours. I think you'll be even more dissatisfied with our Council after seeing how others are run.
Arthur DeLuca January 13, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Fair rotation? This isn't some kind of treat to be divided equally; it's a duty. The Council President has to be someone who will fill in as acting mayor should the mayor leave before his term is up; it's not a seat for any and all to share. They must be qualified. If one wants to make the selection of these council fairer, then how about letting the voters decide in the following manner. Whoever receives the most votes for City Council will be the Council president. The 2nd highest number of votes gets the VP's seat. this will be for the 2 year term. In case of a tie, they split the office, 1 year each as Pres & 1 for VP. Term limits for Pres & VP won't work unless there are also term limits for the office of City Council itself. Otherwise you could end up with a situation where all councilors have been in office so long that NONE of them could serve as president. And as far as any of the Council running for Mayor, look at last election's results. In order to win the mayor's seat, one must get the majority of votes; around 5000. Most, if not all, of the Councilors get much less than that. If such a small number thinks so little of the candidates that they can't get that 5000 as one of the 7 councilors (with the voter getting to cast 7 votes) , why would a greater number of people vote for them for the seat of one and only one mayor? They just don't have the popularity! We saw last time that just not being McGlynn is not enough to win; one must also have ability.
Jeff C January 13, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Ah yes "Penta said something like".. Arthur why don't you hang it up with the full time troll/Camuso, Dello Russo, Maiocco apologist schtick. You seem to have an answer for everything here. Wonderful. Let the city be the lucky recipient of your knowledge and talents. Put your money where your mouth is and run for office. It's been ten years. I know it's not as easy as trolling but...why not?
darleen sullivan January 13, 2013 at 07:04 PM
liam - fair rotation? this isn't youth baseball where everyone gets up to bat. Dello Russo removed the issue that conflicted with the Ethics Comm---xtra pay. So he offered to waive it. That's great. It's not a lot of money (so if you think it is) , and it's ridiculous that its awarded period. and if Marks REALLY care about the PUBLIC, and not grandstanding, he would have raised the issue BEFORE the public was subjected to it. The public was not best served by him announcing this shortly before a vote....how can you not see that? Odd. CCouncil is a disaster...Penta should be the president, since he really is the biggest disaster of all
liam January 13, 2013 at 07:04 PM
I see. The only councilors who are qualified are the ones you deem to be qualified, is that correct? I'm trying very hard to follow your illogic. It is a challenge. The rest of your diatribe was like trying to negotiate a labyrinth. I made my points. There's no need on my part to justify them any further. Thank you for your responses, convoluted as they are. Have a nice day.
Arthur DeLuca January 13, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Gee darleen, Liam sees convoluted responses and can't follow the logic when a straight-forward statement was made, and can't see the grandstanding by Marks & Penta when it's in plain sight. This speaks volumes as to why these two keep getting re-elected; many people in Medford can't see it either. I choce not to run again for City Council when I relaized how ineffectual they were. I can get far more done for the City of Medford by using TV3 to get the word out to the people; whether it be an episode of "Setting Things Straight" or of "A Socio-Political History of Medford". Why should I settle for the second best methods (being a City Councilor) when the best method is readily available to me? People used TV3 as one of their tools in getting rid of Plan E (in which the Council had a strangle-hold on the City) in favor of Plan A (our present system. And ever since that time, Bob Penta still acts as if he's operating under Plan E. He just doesn't get it - the people took that power away from him because they did not like the way he used it. Next Tuesday's 3 agenda items Penta is sponsoring is a perfect example of why we are no longer under Plan E. If things go the way I expect they will and we are subjected to more shameful shenanigans, I think I'LL make the next episode of "Spotlight on Bullying" for TV3.
Jeff C January 13, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Arthur stop wasting your considerable talents at TV3 and here on the Patch. You seem to have a solution for everything that's wrong in Medford (at least when it comes to the City Council). Let Medford be the lucky beneficiary of your vast knowledge and skills. Share them with the rest of us. Not everyone watches TV3. Not everyone reads the Patch. Why should they get you all to themselves? It dismayed me when you wrote: " I choce not to run again for City Council when I relaized how ineffectual they are" [sic]. I always wondered why. Now I know. Ten years is much too long. Be the man to set those miscreants (especially your bete noire Penta) straight and make the City Council efficient again Arthur. Be the tip of the spear. Make them toe the mark. You could be the man to really shake things up. Stop the trolling here (and elsewhere) and put your name on the ballot.
Arthur DeLuca January 14, 2013 at 06:09 AM
Jeff, honestly, I have been effective behind the scenes. You may remember the first time the Stoneham Zoning Revue Board attempted push the sale of the New England Medical Center property over the objections of the people? I worked with others to make a video for TV3 which, coupled with other people leafletting the City helped get enough letters of protest written to stop it. And be assured when I come up with what I think is a good idea to move the City forward; I share it with various City Council members. And, yes, they DO read these things on the Patch. What they miss is relayed to them by others who see it. I'm not speaking about just myself here. ALL of us who comment on the Medford Patch help to mold the future of Medford; don't sell the power of the people short. These media outlets are effective! Look what one short video piece of Mit Romney speaking to the Fat Cats did to derail his run for President.
Jeff C January 14, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Medford's loss is the internet's gain Arthur. I suppose it is easier to remain "behind the scenes and be effective" like you said, rather than having the guts to put your name on the ballot. I can't say I blame you though. In the end it would be another election with the same disappointing results (for you anyway). So I guess it's easier to tell your limited audience what your solutions are and rail against the darkness (Bob Penta) from the safe confines of your basement. Rather than go out pound the pavement and start ringing doorbells. The very least you could do is wave to the passing traffic in Medford Sq. Heck it's even close to TV3. You've come a long way in ten years Arthur. Failed City Council candidate to full time internet troll. If the rest of Medford (those who don't read the Patch, Inside Medford or watch TV3) only knew what they are missing.
Arthur DeLuca January 15, 2013 at 05:43 AM
You want to see rude, then check out this Tuesday's (that's tonight!) City Council meeting and watch Penta argue in favor of his resolution to change the procedure of electing the City Council Pres & VP from having the City Clerk preside over it to a set of conditions that would turn that task over to Bob Penta, and only Bob Penta, for as long as he sits on the Council. He wants the duty to go to the longest in office City Councilor. If two such Councilors fit that criteria then the one who is oldest gets the Job. Now Bob Penta is the longest sitting City Councilor and will remain so for as long as he holds that office. But since the assigning of Council Pres & VP dates back only to Plan A; if the process were to be considered from the date Plan A took effect, then both Bobs (Penta & Maiocco) have equal time as Councilors - BUT... Bob Penta is older. So any way you want to slice it, adopting this resolution and making the change would put Penta & only Penta in charge of the "elections" until such time as he leaves office. Talk about a dictator!
Arthur DeLuca January 15, 2013 at 05:49 AM
Since when is posting the truth considered trolling? If you're going to claim that any negative writings are trolling, then the Medford Patch, Boston Glode, Network News etc are ALL trolling when they report negative stories.You should know that I have the video from all the City Council happenings that you find me to be "trolling" about, so I can prove that all I write about those meetings has actually happened. I believe that is called "responsible journalism" rather than "trolling".

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