By Jim Clark
The City of Somerville Board of Aldermen issued a citation at its most recent regular meeting on March 9 commending the Elections Department on its outstanding execution of early voting in last November’s Presidential election.
Speaking as sponsor for the citation, Ward 3 Alderman Robert McWatters told the Board in remarks preceding the awarding of the citation, “As this Board is familiar with, for the first time in our state’s history we had an early voting and I just want to commend the Elections Department on a fabulous operation. As we want to do on this Board, we recognize all our city employees, especially our police and fire who are with us here tonight.”
McWatters further stated, “We appreciate their public service. But I especially want to recognize the Elections Department. On the early voting, there wasn’t much guidance from the state, which is typical. They were in uncharted waters and they did a fabulous job. They sought the guidance from this Board and they used these chambers for 11 days, and I was one of the voters in the city who took advantage of it. I voted first on the first day.
“They also had evening hours every night, and they had weekend hours,” McWatters said. “They were recognized by the legal counsel of the Secretary of State’s office, Rebecca Murray, who happens to be a Somerville resident. She sent a letter to the mayor saying how impressed she was with this operation. So I think that’s a testament to the Elections Commissioner, Mr. Salerno, the entire staff, Maria Meghan and Sheila.”
The alderman summed up by saying, “I just want to commend them on the terrific operation, and they also were cited by the Secretary of State at a recent conference for running a smooth operation without any glitches. So I think it’s a testament not only to the department but to the administration. They ran a fabulous operation.”
Alderman At-Large Jack Connolly, who made the formal presentation of the citation, echoed McWatters’ appreciation saying, “As a member who has had the services of the Election Department for I believe it’s now 17 elections, I just feel very honored to say that I’ve seen light years of improvement over the time from 1984 into the future, Nick and his department has maintained a very high standard of excellence, overseeing the department, taking care of the optical scanning machines, and making sure that all the details – including getting ready for the early voting – was the passion that he and the team put into it.”
Chairman of the Board of Election Commissioners Nicholas Salerno and department staffers Maria Pierotti, Megan Arruda, and Sheila Forestal were present at the meeting to accept the citation. Salerno expressed his department’s appreciation for the honor saying, “I thank you very much for your recognition tonight. It’s appreciated very much, and the staff does, I know. We may be a little bit bashful, but it’s fully appreciated.”
The formal citation reads in full as follows: Be it hereby known to all that the Somerville Board of Aldermen and Mayor offer their sincerest commendations to the Elections Department which was recently singled out at the Winter Meeting of the MA City and Town Clerks Association for its outstanding execution of early voting in last year’s Presidential Election. Only three cities in the State had a higher turnout than Somerville. The Membership and Mayor extend their sincerest gratitude and best wishes for continued success in all endeavors. Offered this 9th day of March, 2017.