Aldermen Approve Appointment of Viscay, Dionne Ask Mayor for a More Transparent Process in Future Searches

February 13, 2013
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The Board of Aldermen voted last night to approve the appointment of Richard Viscay as City Auditor by a margin of 6-1, with Alderwoman Millie Cardillo voting against the appointment. The board also voted unanimously to confirm the appointment of Robert Dionne as the city’s new Human Resources Director.

Viscay, who was hired to be the city’s new Chief Financial Officer, will have to wait for his new title as CFO, as the Mayor’s office must first file its Administrative Code with the council, to allow for the creation of the position within the framework of the city charter.

“Technically, he doesn’t have the title of CFO, yet,” said Mayor DeMaria, following the vote. “But internally, he will be directly overseeing the other financial departments. He’ll be doing exactly what a CFO does.”

DeMaria said he was not sure exactly when his administration would file the Administrative Code, but expected that it will be sometime this spring.

“We don’t want to do it piecemeal,” said the Mayor. “There are a number of things that go into that code and my staff is finalizing what that will look like, and then we’ll file it with the council for their approval.”

According to Chief of Staff Melissa Murphy, the Administrative Code essentially outlines the structure of city government under the Mayor’s administration. For all intents and purposes it is an organizational chart for city departments. Under the city’s old charter, specific duties of the financial departments would outlined in the charter. With the new charter, the Mayor will propose his plan for managing city government through the Administrative Code and council, both the Aldermen and Common Council, have the authority to approve or reject the proposal. They cannot make amendments to the code as it is proposed.

Since the creation of a new Chief Financial Officer role is one of many components in the new Administrative Code, the Mayor’s staff is waiting until all elements of the code are ready to be put forward.

Viscay comes to the city from Salem, where he was Mayor Kimberley Driscoll’s budget director for six years. Everett is one of only two cities in the region that has not already adopted a Chief Financial Officer position to oversee all aspects of the city financing.

“There is some belief that the council has voted against the CFO position twice,” explained Murphy. “That’s not true. There was one vote against the creation of the position through a Home Rule Petition, but the second time that the position was proposed the administration pulled it back. The mayor decided it would be easier and more manageable to create the position through the Admin Code process.”

Dionne hiring also approved

The Aldermen also approved the hiring of Dionee, who replaced Robert Joy as Human Resources Director.

However, Aldermen Robert Van Campen did use the vote as an opportunity to once again call on Mayor DeMaria to establish a more open and transparent process in hiring new department heads.

Van Campen noted that he has heard good things about Dionne, from his former employers and said he “hopes” that Dionne will be very good for the city. However, he added, “was there an opportunity to find an experienced municipal human resources director?” and said the process in his opinion could’ve benefited from being more thorough.