This is the second of two interviews
with JOSH RESNEK
Q: The number of Blacks, Browns, and Hispanics working for the city amount to about 5% of the city workforce. What will you do to change the imbalance?
A: The diversity of our community is one of our biggest strengths and our city workforce should reflect that fact. That said, my hiring process would be open and impartial. Employment will be offered to the best-qualified individual and/or who would be the biggest asset to our city. Focus will be on what you know, not who you know. There will be a preference for Everett residents with an earnest effort made to better represent our diverse community.
Q: What kind of outreach and support for the Haitian community will mark a Fred Capone administration?
A: The Haitian community, as all our diverse groups, are valued members of our city. Rev. Myrlande DesRosiers, Director of the Everett Haitian Community Center, and Rev. Mimi Daniel of the North Shore Evangelical Missionary do amazing work within our community. I commend both organizations for their recent Haitian relief efforts. Under my administration, outreach and support will be the same for all groups within our community. Everett truly belongs to all of us. There will be open, honest communication with plenty of support for one another so that we can collaborate to make Everett the best community possible for every resident. I’m actually in the process of planning a multi-cultural meet and greet at our campaign headquarters.
Q: Will you ask for a forensic audit of the city’s finances if you are elected? And would a forensic audit reveal municipal corruption?
A: Transparency at all levels of government is essential particularly when it comes to city finances. It is crucial to have a thorough and accurate understanding of our city’s financial well-being in order to properly plan for the future. An overall municipal audit following proper accounting procedures seems appropriate. Depending on the findings, a forensic audit may be required. My approach would be reasonable, but thorough. We will be responsible in how we spend the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars. At one time, I served on the Ways and Means committee and got to see where all the money is spent. Our residents deserve that same opportunity. My administration will make municipal bills available for public review both online and in person.
Q: Will you be involved in real estate deals with other city officials? Do you feel this is appropriate behavior for a mayor of Everett?
A: An elected official, at any level, should avoid even the slightest appearance of impropriety. At the mayoral level, the requirement to be honest, transparent, and above reproach is paramount. I assure you that there will be no personal contractual relations of any kind whatsoever between myself and any employees or contractors that provide services to our city.
Q: Will you allow qualified vendors to receive city contracts? Or will you maintain the current policy of playing favorites with a chosen few?
A: It certainly is a cause for concern, and a red flag, when the same select few appear to get the overwhelming majority of city contracts over and over again. Under my administration, the bid process for city contracts will be open, honest, and fair. Bids from all qualified vendors will be welcomed with the goal to provide our residents with the best possible services. All existing contracts will be reviewed to ensure that they are compliant with the stringent procurement laws set forth by the Commonwealth.
Q: You are a practicing lawyer in Everett. Have you ever been disciplined by the Board of Bar Overseers? Have you ever faced criminal charges in a District Court?
A: I have maintained an honest and successful law practice, here in Everett, for over 26 years. I am certified to practice in all Massachusetts courts, the Federal District Court for Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and before the United States Supreme Court. Over the entirety of my career, there have been no disciplinary actions by the Board of Bar Overseers. Moreover, I have never had criminal charges of any sort brought against me, nor have I been the subject of any criminal investigation of any kind whatsoever.
Q: The present mayor wants to replace the superintendent of schools. Would you be inclined to do the same?
A: I would take a seat on the school committee without any assumptions or preconceived notions. Upon joining the school committee, I would familiarize myself with the daily operations of the school department. That would entail open and honest discussions with representatives of all school department employees, including support staff, teachers, school committee members, and members of the school administration. I would inquire as to what is working, what is not, and what needs to improve. My sole focus and purpose will be what is best for our students.
Q: Everett’s firefighters did not endorse the mayor last week for re-election. What do you think that says?
A: I had an opportunity to speak with our firefighters last week. We had a great conversation. Everett is fortunate to have so many dedicated public servants. Despite their dangerously low numbers, they report every day and serve this community with honor and pride. The failure to properly staff not only compromises our collective safety, it denies our city of the opportunity to seek grants that provide for free additional fire personnel. I explained how the current mayor and his administration squandered a golden opportunity when negotiating the host community agreement with Wynn Resorts. The additional demands that a multi- billion-dollar casino has on our public safety infrastructure are significant. Everett should have negotiated a brand-new fire/police facility in South Everett with updated equipment.
Not only would that protect our residents, it would safeguard the casino’s substantial investment. The upfront monetary benefit to this community would have exceeded well over $130 million, rather than the $30 million that our mayor negotiated. It was obvious then that our facilities and equipment were aging and becoming outdated. The need for more modern public safety facilities is still present and this large expense will now be borne entirely on the backs of our residents, rather than having it provided for free. If elected mayor, I will improve the public safety support network that has been allowed to deteriorate for far too long. Under my administration, public safety will always be a top priority. Never again will the number of firefighters be allowed to drop to dangerous levels compromising the safety of both our firefighters and the residents of this community.
Q: What type of local housing initiative would suit you for Everett’s people of color and ethnicity seeking homeownership or suffering difficulties with housing?
A: Affordable housing is a basic necessity for all of us. My administration would set out with the goal of making Everett more affordable for both renters and owner-occupied properties. I want to see individuals and families plant roots here, become active in our community, and be proud to reside here. I want to enable those who are committed to this community to stay and assist those who want to attain the dream of homeownership with- in our community. We will plan smart housing development and will work with current property owners to provide incentives to make existing rental units more affordable. The city will sponsor homebuyer workshops in multiple languages and will provide information to renters and homeowners as to organizations that offer services based on particular needs. As an attorney, I understand how complicated the landlord/tenant and home buying process can get at times. My administration will use my many years of legal experience to benefit all our residents.
Q: Do you have faith in Mayor DeMaria’s ability to lead the city for another four years? Does the city need a change in leadership?
A: I do not have faith in the current leadership. Over the course of my 8 years on the council, I have seen and heard too many empty and broken promises. I have seen countless examples of mismanagement of public funds and a mayor that puts his personal interests before that of our community. Our residents and their concerns need to be at the center of every city decision. For too long, city government has made decisions for our residents without their input. That needs to change. We need new leadership and that is why I have stepped up to run for the office of Mayor.
Q: If you are elected mayor, will you collaborate with the city council on important issues or will you make demands with the promise of retribution if they are not followed?
A: I have always been about building bridges, seeking input, and working collaboratively with others for the mutual betterment of all involved. Having served on the Common Council for 10 years, representing Ward 6 when I was in my early 20’s, and now for the past 8 years as the Ward 1 councilor, I have 18 years of municipal experience and know-how to effectively work with other elected officials. I would look forward to continuing my work efforts with the city council and our residents to build a better Everett that works for all of us. Additionally, I would invite our elected officials to participate in all city-related events including the recognition of business openings, new hires, and retirements. As well, I would make a concerted effort to work with each councilor to address the specific concerns and needs of their wards.
Q: If you are elected mayor, is it your way or the highway? Will those who challenge your thinking be heard and be allowed to speak out without retribution?
A: Everett belongs to all of us, and there should be meaningful input from all our residents – not just one person. My administration will welcome all different points of view and opinions. I truly believe that open and honest discussion brings about the best solution to any issue or problem. This is our community and it will take a team effort to make it a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Q: Are you different than Mayor DeMaria or are you just another longtime pol ready to milk the city treasury? How are you different from the mayor in your life?
A: I will only speak for myself. I do not see myself as a politician, but rather a public servant. My purpose is to serve our community and our residents. Elected officials work for the people, not the other way around. I am a firm believer in treating others the way I would like to be treated. On a personal note, I do not support longevity pay or car allowance for the mayoral position given the current $200,000 salary. People should not run for public office to make money. Public service is an honor and a serious responsibility. If elected, I will not seek any longevity pay or car allowance. This will save the taxpayers over $56,000.00 in my first year alone.
Q: Did you watch the Patriots and or the Red Sox this weekend?
A: Sadly, I did not although I had hoped to. They turned out to be great games! I spent the entire day in my law office working on client issues and campaign-related matters with my wife. Much has been sacrificed to run for the office of Mayor and the demands both on myself and my family have been great. The campaign has consumed our daily lives for over six months now and sleep deprivation has become the norm. Our many dedicated volunteers have been after us to be a little more selfish with our time, but there is so much to do every second of every day. We are about three weeks away from the election, so the finish line is in sight. Nevertheless, the sacrifice and demands are worth it because I love this community with all my heart and I want to do all I can to improve the quality of life for every single resident. We have been trying to get that message out on a daily basis. Everett residents deserve a mayor that works as hard as they do and the entire campaign team has been working tirelessly day after day to earn their vote.