See Candidate Profiles for the Town Councilor-At Large Hopefuls

The big race in Watertown’s 2019 Town Election is the Town Councilor At-Large, in which seven people seek to fill the four seats. And with only three incumbents running, the Council will have at least one new face. On Tuesday, Nov. 5, incumbents Tony Palomba, Anthony Donato and Caroline Bays seek another term on the Council, while challengers Jimmy Mello, John Gannon, Clyde Younger and Michelle Cokonougher hope to win a seat. The open seat came about when Michael Dattoli and his family moved out of Watertown in 2018.

LETTER: Library Trustee Candidate Shares His Vision

Watertown Free Public Library

Dear Watertown Residents,

My name is Theodore (Teddy) Kokoros and I am running in the November 5th election to become a Watertown Free Public Library Trustee. Even though I am running unopposed, (there are 3 candidates for 3 open Watertown Library Trustee positions) I wanted to share with you 10 of my priorities if I become a Watertown Library Trustee because you deserve information on every candidate on the ballot so you can make an informed decision on election day. 1. Help the Watertown Library survey as many Watertown residents as possible to get feedback from the Watertown community about what the library does well, what it could do better, and big ideas for The Watertown Library’s future. 2.

Town Council At-Large Profile: Anthony Donato

Background

I am a first term At-Large Town Councilor.  I serve as Chair of the Rules & Ordinances Committee, the Vice-Chair of the Education and School Systems Committee and Secretary of the State, Federal and Regional Government Committee. I am also a member of the Rotary Club of Watertown, a director of the Watertown Boys and Girls Club and a Trustee of the Lt. Paul J. Sullivan Scholarship. Website: https://www.facebook.com/AnthonyJDonatoForWatertown/

Candidate Statement

I think it’s an exciting time to live in Watertown and I hope to continue to play a role in the future of our Town. I believe that I have proven to be an extremely hardworking Councilor and I have been well prepared for all meetings.  I am smart enough to know that I do not know everything and I have not been embarrassed to ask questions or to ask for help when confronted with an unfamiliar or confusing topic. I am incredibly proud of all that the Town Council has achieved these past two years.  I am especially proud of all the work that has been accomplished at the committee level where I believe I have proven myself to be open to all ideas and suggestions and that I am willing to work with anyone and everyone for the betterment of Watertown.

Town Council At-Large Profile: Jimmy Mello

Candidate Statement

I’m a lifelong resident of Watertown and was educated in the Watertown Public Schools. And now I’m a candidate who is hoping to serve as one of your four Town Councilors At Large. I want to be the voice of the residents. It has been a lifelong desire of mine to become a Watertown Town Councilor. After having served as a Town Meeting Member and on the Watertown Planning Board, my passion for public service played out as the “man behind the scenes” during years of election seasons.

Town Council At-Large Profile: Clyde Younger

Background

Watertown Town Council and School Committee Member11/97-2004 and 1/2007-12/2009As Watertown Town Council President and School Committee Member I led the Council in approving the additions and renovations of the Watertown Free Public Library.  Recognizing the need for improvements in our library system and following deliberations of the Council that they would only approve the renovations if there was an initial infusion of monies from the public I forged a public-private partnership with Watertown Savings Bank.  I joined Ms Lucia Mastrangelo in asking Mr. Ronald D. Dean, President and CEO of the Watertown Savings Bank whether they might make a contribution toward the library improvements.  Mr. Dean and the Bank’s Trustees granted the monies requested resulting in the final vote of approval by the Council. On the suggestion of a fellow colleague in the Watertown Rotary Club and Town Meeting Member, Mr. Russell Morgan, as Town Council President, I recommended for consideration the establishment of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Subcommittee.  The Town Council saw the value of seeing the process of fiscal oversight being more formally established and ratified the subcommittee. The 2000 Watertown Town Charter proved to be instrumental in making a significant change in the annual fiscal deliberations conducted by the Council.  Ms Ann Hyland, Esq. the Town Attorney pointed out that MGL allowed the Council to raise the amount allocated to the School Department above the recommendation of the Town Manager as long as an offset is identified and the overall budget does not exceed Proposition 2 ½. Watertown School Committee5/1974-12/1980 and 11/1991-12/1993Watertown School Committee, Chairman, Watertown School Committee, January 1, 1992 to December 31, 1993.

Town Council At-Large Profile: Michelle Cokonougher

Background

I’ve been involved in Watertown’s government for about 4 years now. I’ve attended meetings, spoken on a number of issues, done significant amounts of research on issues facing Watertown, and have been responsible for changes that have been made. Here are some of the things I’ve accomplished in my time advocating for Watertown:

I provided research to members of the Town Council that led to us increasing our LEEDS Requirement on new developments to a Silver Level, initially in the RMUD District, and that eventually led to a town-wide requirement. I found a discrepancy between Watertown’s Zoning Ordinance and the state law that I brought to the attention of one member of the Town Council and the discrepancy was eventually corrected. During the process of creating the RMUD, the town-wide requirement for the affordable housing set aside was 12.5%.

Town Council At-Large Profile: Tony Palomba

Background

I have been a member of the Town Council for ten years. I have served on six of the Council’s standing Committees, including the Committee on Public Works and Committee on Rules and Ordinances, as well as on the Ad Hoc Committee on Transportation. I have chaired the Committee on Human Services since 2010 and most recently, chaired the Committee on Media and Public Outreach. I am co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Victory Field II. In addition to my official Town Council responsibilities, I am an active member of the Steering Committee of the Watertown Youth Coalition, the Task Force on Substance Use Disorder, and the Watertown Transportation Task Force.

Town Council At-Large Profile: John Gannon

Background

I’ve been a municipal attorney for 25 years, advising over 100 cities and towns of Massachusetts every day on the issues that are currently facing Watertown. I’ve been a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals in Watertown for 10 years, I’ve been former Acting Town Attorney, working as Watertown’s lawyer. But I think more importantly, I’m a native of Watertown, a product of the Browne School, West Junior High, and Watertown High School; my upbringing in Watertown is an important part of who I am. I went on to Brown University and then to Suffolk University Law School, where I became lawyer to bring innovative approaches to cities and towns.  After starting a family here, I became a homeowner, taxpayer and ratepayer. Like others who chose to come to Watertown, I chose to stay here.  Watertown is a wonderful place in so many ways, and I’m here to help give back some of what this community has given to me.