Aldermen Notes: Pasquarello sworn in

by Tom Nash on January 17, 2011

Police Chief Thomas Pasquarello speaks after being sworn in.

The city’s new police chief received a final seal of approval and an official swearing in at last Thursday’s Board of Aldermen meeting. Pasquarello contract approved

After three months in limbo, Thomas Pasquarello’s contract as the city’s next police chief was approved by unanimous vote. Pasquarello, a former regional DEA  director, has been serving as acting chief since late last month.

Pasquarello will earn a  salary of $185,000 per year, with a five-year contract — both sticking points for Ward 3 Alderman Tom Taylor, who ultimately voted in favor.

“His subordinates feel that he’s a good guy, and he’s the right guy for the job,” Taylor said. “That makes me feel better.”

Acting deputy chiefs Mike Cabral, a finalist for the chief position, and Paul Upton were also confirmed as permanent appointments.

Among the first items presented to Pasquarello as chief was a request for clarification on Mayor Joseph Curtatone’s policy toward notifying the federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency of non-U.S. resident arrests for serious offenses.

MaxPac petition will get hearing

A petition put forward by a group advocating for union and local labor to be used at the MaxPac development will be heard by the entire board.

Many of the 51 petitioners gathered at the Jan. 6 Planning Board meeting to challenge the developer of a 184-unit rental complex on its use of non-union labor.

The meeting will take place Jan. 25.

SomerPromise funding questioned

Aldermen expressed concern with a proposal to raise money for the city’s SomerPromise education program through a private trust fund.

“The concerns of the Finance Committee were we may lose oversight of how the funds are being used,” Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston said.

SomerPromise Director Stephanie Hirsch said Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Schools Superintendent Anthony Pierantozzi would have ultimate control of how the fund’s money was spent.

“These are funds raised in a trust, like the affordable housing trust fund,” Curtatone added. “We have a precedent here on how such trust funds are being used.”

The item was sent back to the Finance Committee.

Zipcar spaces irk Desmond

The city’s plan to lease 14 of its parking spaces to car sharing business Zipcar had Alderman-at-Large Bruce Desmond asking why the spots had to be so close to Somerville businesses, arguing losing those spots will mean lost customers.

“It’s just one more thing we’re doing that’s going to impact businesses in a negative way,” Desmond said, while noting he approved of the concept in general. “Why do [the spaces] have to be in such prime areas?”

Desmond suggested using spaces such as the Department of Public Works instead of the CVS parking lot in Magoun Square. The Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development, who put forward the plan, did not have anyone at the meeting to respond.

Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz said she approved of the spaces that would be leased in Davis Square, on Holland Street.

“To me, the concept of Zipcar is to get people to share cars,” Gewirtz said, who said she is debating getting rid of her own car. “I really think we need to encourage people to car share as much as we can.”

The item was kept in committee.

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