City Splitting Up Financial Positions After Failing to Find “Unicorn”

Watertown City Hall

After the City Council struggled to hire someone to replace retired Auditor and Financial Director Tom Tracy, City Manager George Proakis recommended that the job be split into two. Last week, Proakis told the City Council of his plan to split up the duties that Tracy had, rather than trying to find someone with the same skills. Tracy retired in October after working for nearly 30 years in Watertown, and has stayed on part-time to help Proakis with his first budget as City Manager. “We’ve done a pretty broad search, we hired a consultant and we made some real progress in searching all corners for this type of position,” Proakis said. “After taking a significant look at this I have come to the conclusion that the combined chief financial officer/auditors are unicorns.

Watertown Teachers Contact Approved by School Committee

Following lengthy negotiations, teachers in the Watertown Public Schools have a new contract after the School Committee approved the deal on Monday night. The deal includes increases in each of the three years of the deal, plus bumps in the first and third years. Another addition is increased parental leave, said School Committee member Lindsay Mosca, who was on the district’s negotiating team. Jessica Middlebrook also represented the School Committee on the negotiating team. “I think that the Watertown Public Schools have a lot to be proud of in the contract,” Mosca said.

U.S. Rep Clark Presents Watertown with $240K for Project to Protect River, Increase Climate Resiliency

Charlie BreitroseCongresswoman Catherine Clark looks on as Watertown City Manager George Proakis speaks about the $240,000 in federal funds to build stormwater tree trenches in town. Congresswoman Katherine Clark visited City Hall Monday to announce $240,000 in federal funding for a climate-related project in Watertown. The City will use the money to install 15 tree trenches designed to remove pollutants from the Charles River and cool temperatures by providing more trees on City streets. The Department of Public Works applied for the money after hearing about the funding, said Watertown DPW Superintendent Greg St. Louis.

Watertown City Manager Holding Meet & Greet in District A

Watertown City Manager will be available to speak with the public during an event focusing on District A in the East End of Watertown on Jan. 18. A similar meeting was previously held in District D in November. The City of Watertown sent out the following announcement:

Please join us at the District A Meet and Greet with City Manager George Proakis on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Hosmer School Cafeteria, 1 Concord Road, Watertown, MA.

Watertown’s First Deputy City Manager Has Experience in Medford, Somerville

Emily Monea

The following announcement was provided by the City of Watertown:

City Manager George J. Proakis is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Emily Monea as Watertown’s new Deputy City Manager. Ms. Monea has most recently served as Acting Chief of Staff to Mayor Luengo-Koehn for the City of Medford, supporting the Mayor in daily leadership and management of the City, focusing on HR modernization, recruiting, complex employee matters, and labor relations. Prior to that she was the Chief of Staff to Mayor Curtatone for the City of Somerville and later became the Transitional Director of the Mayorʼs Office of Innovation and Analytics (SomerStat) supporting the transition of Mayor Ballantyne into office. While serving as the chief administrative officer for a city employing over 1,000 employees and serving over 80,000 residents in four square miles, Ms. Monea managed day-to-day operations while leading medium- and long-term strategic planning and organizational change. Ms. Monea partnered with senior staff to effectuate the Mayor’s legislative and policy agenda; to develop accompanying strategies for City Council and community engagement; and to align financial, legal, HR, and operational strategies, including oversight of the City’s $270+ million operating budget.

Five Members of Residents Advisory Committee Appointed

Charlie BreitroseWatertown City Hall

The City of Watertown sent out the following announcement:

City Manager George J. Proakis is pleased to announce the establishment of Watertown’s first Residents’ Advisory Committee. The Residents’ Advisory Committee, as required by Section 3-7 of the new city charter, is designed to “assist with recruitment, evaluation and selection of candidates for appointment to multi-member bodies.” As noted in the charter, the committee and the City Manager will work together to “actively encourage a diverse pool of applicants for (these) multiple-member bodies.”

The City Manager has formed a five-member committee to serve in this role. He has appointed the following individuals to this committee. All members of the committee are residents of Watertown:

J. Elizabeth Cremens: Ms. Cremens is a retired Associate Justice of the Massachusetts District Court. Ms. Cremens has served in a number of volunteer roles in non-profits and local government.

City Buying Former Parker School, Council Approves Funds & Deal

City of WatertownThe City of Watertown will purchase the former Parker School building on Watertown Street. The City of Watertown will purchase the former Parker School, now an office building, and use it for municipal offices as well as renting out space. The purchase was approved by the City Council on Dec. 13, along with transferring $12 million to help with the deal. The total cost will be $14 million, and City Manager George Prokis said he expects the purchase to be completed by mid-January 2023.

Council Approves Adding $4.3 Million to FY23 Budget, Plans to Spend Most of Funds

Watertown City Hall

Watertown’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget increased by $4.325 million when the City Council approved the budget amendment on Nov. 9. Most of the additional funds will go to help purchase the former Parker School or will go into the High School project stabilization fund. City Manager George Proakis gave the details of the budget amendment for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2023. The additional fund mostly come from accounts that came in higher than when the budget was approved last spring, Proakis said.