By Cathleen Twardzik
Alderman William Roche, Ward 1, recently resigned as an alderman, and now he will assist the city as Interim Part-time Personnel Director.
Maureen Bastardi, School Committee Member, Ward 1, was named by the aldermen to serve the balance of Roche’s term.
Roche, who holds a master’s degree in Human Resources from Boston University, considers the position of Interim, Part-time Personnel Director to be an “opportunity” to assist the city while they search for an individual to serve in that role on a full-time and permanent basis.
Roche’s goals in his new position will prove to be useful to the city. He would like to recruit and interview individuals for top-level administrative positions, to provide assistance with the modernization of human resource systems, which is currently in progress, to set up performance-based non-union evaluations and reviews, and to help out with contract negotiations with the Somerville Municipal Employees Association.
To Bastardi, “It’s both an exciting and very sobering prospect. To the mayor and to my new colleagues on the Board [of Aldermen], but above all, to the people of Ward 1, I offer my solemn promise to do my very best to uphold the high standard of integrity, compassion and public service that Bill has brought to his municipal service.”
Several issues with which Roche has dealt and deems essential to his experience as an alderman include: strengthening the “quality of life neighborhood issues, such as public safety (safe streets/gangs) and public health (rodents/absentee landlord) issues. Some of the milestones as Chair of Legislative Matters [include] drafting and passing an ethics ordinance in 1997, signing the living wage ordinance into law as acting mayor in 1999, drafting and passing an anti-gang ordinance in 2004, opening the East Somerville police substation in 2008, and passing a historic vote for a $25 million bond for the Assembly Square development,” said Roche.
Roche treasures having had the experience of helping the immigrant community to squash barriers to city government and easing the process for some of them to gain citizenship.
In addition, he efficiently aided residents, especially veterans and senior citizens, to cope with issues within their neighborhood, all of which influenced those individuals’ quality of life.
“I built some great relationships with colleagues and Ward 1 residents. Most of these will go on long after I leave politics, as they are now lifelong friends. In addition to serving on the Board for 17 years, I served as acting mayor of the city in 1999, an experience I will never forget.”