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News

Top 100 city wage earners announced

Once again, the city payroll’s top wage earners were dominated by public safety and school department officials, with nine emanating from the police department. Leading the top five, retired Supt. of Schools Dr. Paul S. Dakin was the top earner for the 2016 calendar year as he remained on as an advisor earning $227,380.62. Current Supt. of Schools Dr. Dianne K. Kelly earned $191,912.31 as fourth on the payroll.

Leading the police department, Police Chief Joseph A. Cafarelli earned $213,871.59; Police Lieutenant David J. Callahan earned $208,798.79 with $39,268 in detail pay for a total of $248,066; and Executive Officer James Guido earned $191,233.80 with $44,605 in detail pay for a total of $235,838.80.

Of the 2,299 employees listed, the lowest payee was a part-time cafeteria worker who earned $27.28.

See page 13 for the top 100.

 

Opioid crisis remains top priority as overdoses, deaths decline

Data is showing efforts to curb heroin and opioid-related deaths are working in Revere. In 2015 there were 256 calls for possible overdoses. In 2016 the number dropped to 195 calls for possible overdoses.

The Fire Department received 125 calls where Narcan was used in 2016. Sixty-seven of those calls involved a person who was unconscious, and there were four times where the person could have been dead. Meanwhile, the department dealt with 151 calls in 2015 where they used Narcan.

However, while this appears to be an improvement, 2017 seems to be starting off on a rough start. In the first week of February, there were 14 opioid overdoses in Revere, and two unconfirmed opioid overdose fatalities. This increase is reportedly linked to the use of heroin contaminated with the drug fentanyl.

Mayor Brian Arrigo said tackling the issue is one his biggest priorities– citing the new Substance Use Disorder Initiatives (SUDI) office to reduce the impact of opioid addiction on Revere families. “Initial reports show that overdose calls went down 24% in 2016. That’s a good start, but not good enough. The SUD office takes a data-driven approach and works with our police and fire departments, city staff and medical professionals, knocking on the doors of each and every person we can identify that may need help battling addiction,” Arrigo said during his State of the City address Monday night at City Hall.

The SUDI Office Drop-In Center is open every Tuesday evening from 5-8 p.m. at 437 Revere St. – where people can seek support from professionals. Residents can also get Narcan at CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen’s.

Arrigo said this year he will be launching a pilot program for middle schoolers to teach them the dangers of prescription drugs.

“With so much promise in Revere’s future, we cannot allow the opioid crisis to fall off our radar. It will remain a top priority for me and my administration. I am committed to these data-driven approaches to improving the lives of all Revere residents,” he said.

   

Strengthening Revere in 2017

~ OP-ED ~

On Monday, I delivered my State of the City address, outlining some of the progress we’ve made together and laying out important initiatives for 2017 that will make this city even stronger. For us to realize our vision for Revere, I will be seeking your help.

Improving online constituent services

After years of delay, my administration got online bill payment up and running within six months of taking office. You can also now apply online for parking permits. These are good first steps, but we need to do more to make the customer experience easy and convenient.

This year, we will open a 311 constituent service call center, so you can call, text, tweet, email or Facebook message City staff to resolve issues spotted in the community, from a pothole to a missed trash pickup. One call or communication to City Hall will get issues resolved in a professional, courteous manner.

We are also rolling out electronic-permitting software, so you can request a building inspection, a permit, or a bulk trash pickup sticker from the comfort of your couch or office. This software will make life easier for residents and small businesses alike.

Professionalizing City Hall

When I took office, Revere was the largest city in the Commonwealth without a Human Resources department. No more. An interim HR consultant is in place, and an HR director will be hired later this year. We’ve ensured that city positions are posted publicly, with an interview process that gives all qualified applicants a chance to apply.

We asked UMass-Boston to assess the city’s HR deficiencies. Later this month, I’ll be presenting their report to the City Council, detailing our shortcomings and offering recommendations on how to professionalize personnel and hiring practices. We want to attract and hire the best and brightest, while retaining the talent we already have.

As part of setting high expectations for city employees, we are drafting an ordinance to ensure that all city staff are in full compliance with state ethics laws. We are working with the State Ethics Commission to hold ethics trainings for employees in the coming months.

Data-driven infrastructure repair

In 2016 we created a website so all residents could see which streets were scheduled for repavement. That laid the groundwork for our efforts this coming year, in which we will be utilizing state-of-the-art software to analyze the wear and tear on city streets, and lay out a transparent, comprehensive plan for street repair. Residents should know that street repair – and all city services – will be prioritized based on need rather than politics.

In 2017, we will also be tackling the three-year backlog of sidewalk repair requests inherited upon taking office.

Overhauling resident parking

We have heard loud and clear the comments from residents about the city’s parking issues. As a result, we are cracking down on illegal parking of commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods, and ending abuse of the visitor parking permit program – ensuring that resident-only spots are for residents whose cars are registered here.

I will soon announce the formation of a Parking Committee that will guide a major overhaul of residential parking. If you want parking rule changes on your street, this will be your resource.

Building a thriving, sustainable local economy

Revere residents rejected continuing to chase a “quick fix” by coming out overwhelmingly against the short-sighted slot parlor proposal. We know we can do better than that by building a sustainable, 21st-century local economy, built on small businesses. New restaurants, cafes and small businesses celebrated grand openings all across the city in 2016, and we’re creating an environment where more will thrive in the years to come.

The mixed-use project on Revere Beach Parkway is breaking ground this year and will feature Revere’s first new hotel in nearly 20 years. This project will create hundreds of jobs, and bring with it millions of dollars in water, sidewalk, and pedestrian access improvements.

That’s the kind of model for development Revere needs for a vibrant economic future, and it’s what we’re working towards at Wonderland. After a year of holding Wonderland ownership’s feet to the fire, there is good news to announce. A sale appears imminent. Soon, we can begin the community-oriented process of turning a decaying relic of a bygone era into an engine for our local economy.

The owners have committed in writing that if for any reason the sale doesn’t go through, they will initiate the processes necessary to clean up the Wonderland site. In the coming months, we’ll have news to announce about progress on the site and the kickoff of a master planning process.

Building a Revere that welcomes everyone

Revere’s public schools continue to be a shining example of what a great public school district can be: inclusive, innovative, and award-winning. We can all be proud of our students’ continued success.

In 2017, we will make sure the rest of the city lives up to the standards set by our teachers, students, and parents – especially in how our schools welcome everybody.

Our city has always thrived on immigrants. We are richer for the presence of those following in the footsteps of Irish and Italian immigrants of the past, making a new life for themselves and their families here in our community.

My message to all Revere residents is this: I am not interested in getting in the middle of a national political debate that pits neighbors against one another. What I am interested in is making sure that each and every one of you, whether here by birth or by choice, is treated with dignity and respect.

I am proud to be your Mayor. No matter who you are or where you came from, my goal is to make you proud to call this city your home.

   

City officials comment on mayor’s address

Reaction to Mayor Brian Arrigo’s State of the City address seems to be positive among city officials and residents. Arrigo spoke about making city services more accessible, economic development and welcoming every resident who is a part of Revere during his address at City Hall Monday night.

“It was an uplifting speech,” Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said after the speech. “I think it was something we all needed to hear and inspired us to keep making Revere the great place it is to live.”

Resident Jennifer Brogna said she is happy more and more services are being available online. “It just makes things so much easier to do everything online,” she said.

Brogna, who had never been to City Hall before the address, thought the night proved to be an excellent opportunity to start getting involved in her community. “I have never really taken an interest until recently,” she said. “There is a lot going on in the world and I am realizing how important it is to be involved.”

She plans on taking part in the comprehensive, community-based visioning process for Wonderland. “That site means a lot to Revere. I want to make sure we get something wonderful,” she said.

“A comprehensive, community-based visioning process will gather input from the whole community on critical subjects, such as open space, transportation, economic development, zoning and housing. Through your engagement, critique and feedback, we will develop a shared vision for our community. And you will help us realize that vision,” Arrigo said about the process during his speech.

Guinasso said he is excited about the future of Wonderland. “We have been waiting so long to see what happens to that site,” he said. “This is going to bring jobs to Revere and mean great things for our residents.”

Others were excited about the commitment to sidewalk and pothole repairs.

“Street and sidewalk repairs should be dictated by need, prioritized by the seriousness and importance of the issue, while respecting your tax dollars. So last year we launched a webpage that shows a transparent, accountable explanation of the streets targeted for reconstruction,” Arrigo said. “This year, we will utilize cutting edge technology to create an interactive map of the wear and tear on all our streets, and will create a fair, transparent and comprehensive plan for street repair.”

Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino said this is the issue she hears the most about. “When I am speaking with residents, this is what they always bring up. It’s also one of the first things you see about our neighborhoods,” she said. “I am excited to know we’re going to focus on that and improve it.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dianne Kelly publically thanked the mayor on Twitter for speaking about the accomplishments of the Revere Public School system.

Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna said she was moved by Arrigo’s speech, especially towards the end. “I feel the highlight was at the end of his speech when he said that everyone here by birth or choice will be treated with respect and dignity and that his goal was to make people proud to call Revere their home,” she said.

   

City of Revere issues Opioid Overdose Warning

The City of Revere is issuing an advisory regarding a recent increase in opioid-related overdoses. This increase is reportedly linked to the use of heroin contaminated with the drug fentanyl. From February 1– February 7, 2016, there were 14 opioid overdoses in Revere and two unconfirmed opioid overdose fatalities.

The City of Revere’s Substance Use Disorder Initiatives Office (SUDI) encourages emergency response services, health care providers, substance abuse treatment services providers, public safety first responders and the public to exercise increased vigilance in promptly identifying a suspected overdose, and to take appropriate action.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that most overdose instances resulting from fentanyl occur because of the mixture of fentanyl with heroin in a powdered form. Unmixed fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Just a quarter of a milligram – 0.25 milligrams – can kill you. The mixture can increase chances of an overdose as well as the severity of fentanyl overdose symptoms. This makes it even more important that bystanders who associate with those using fentanyl can recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose to prevent severe injury or death.

Signs and symptoms of fentanyl overdose are consistent with opioid overdose and include the following: unconsciousness or unresponsiveness, respiratory depression or arrest, cyanosis, vomiting and pinpoint pupils. Overdoses can be treated on site with naloxone (aka Narcan™). Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that temporarily works by blocking opiate receptor sites in the brain, allowing the person to be transported to the hospital for further treatment. With fentanyl-laced heroin, multiple applications of naloxone are often necessary to reverse an overdose.

 

Support is available

Resources are available for those actively using opioids, and for their families, on how to prevent, recognize and intervene during an opioid overdose by using naloxone. Through Revere’s SUDI Office, the Drop-In Center at 437 Revere St. in Revere is open every Tuesday evening from 5-8 p.m. In addition, the SUDI Office employs Direct Service Providers, who are available to everyone free of charge. For more information, contact the SUDI Office at (781) 629-4158 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

   

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