WOBURN - The City Council last night named former School Committee member Joseph Demers as the community's newest Ward 4 alderman.
Following a virtual meeting last night using video-conferencing service Zoom, the aldermen in a 5-to-2 vote nominated Demers on the eighth ballot to replace former City Council President Michael Anderson. Anderson stepped down from his Ward 4 seat earlier this summer after his judicial nomination to the state's Family and Probate Court was sanctioned by the Mass. Governor's Council.
Demers, who beat out a crowded field of 10 other candidates, won't have to seek re-election to the position until Nov. of 2021.
With Ward 1 Alderman Jeffery Dillon abstaining throughout the entire voting process, Demers' candidacy was consistently supported for all eight ballots by City Council President Lindsay Higgins and Ward 5 Alderman Darlene Mercer-Bruen.
On the first vote, only Demers and former Ward 4 Alderman William Booker had more than a single supporter, with Booker's candidacy being backed by Ward 1 Alderman Joanne Campbell and Ward 6's Edward Tedesco. Meanwhile, Alderman at-large Michael Concannon backed Frank DiMauro as Ward 2 Alderman Richard Gately on the first ballot endorsed Mass. Probation Officer Kevin Meaney. Alderman at-large Robert Ferullo's initial vote was cast in favor of legislative aide Anthony Langone.
By the third ballot, Gately switched his support to legislative aide Anthony Langone, but Ferullo had at that point changed his candidate-of-choice to former Lexington Minuteman Vocational School Principal Jack Dillon. Dillon would later pick up an extra backer with Campbell's support in the fourth round of voting, but the former high school administrator would never garner more than two votes. Meanwhile, Demers for the first time on the fourth ballot picked up a third vote of support from Tedesco, and the North Woburn alderman from that point forward never wavered in his support of the Main Street resident's candidacy.
By the sixth ballot, the Ward 4 replacement vote became deadlocked in a 3-to-3 tie between Demers and Langone, who picked up renewed support from Ferullo and the first-time backing of Campbell.
However, by the eighth round of voting, both Ferullo and Concannon made Demers' appointment final by swinging their endorsement to his side. In a symbolic show of unity, the whole council then voted unanimously to officially name Demers as Woburn's Ward 4 alderman.
In what was surely Woburn's first-ever virtual swearing in-ceremony for an alderman, City Clerk William Campbell administered the oath of office to Demers through his Zoom feed. Though Higgins' was similarly sworn in to the presidency last month as her peers looked on from their homes, the Ward 7 alderman at the time was standing directly in front of Campbell in City Hall's Committee Room.
A one-time School Committee chairman, Demers stepped down from the local education board in 2018 after serving for six years.
Currently employed as a program coordinator at the Mass. Department of Criminal Justice's Informational Services, Demer's first foray into local politics happened in 2007 when he unsuccessfully ran for alderman at-large.
A WMHS Class of 2004 alumnus, the Providence College graduate would later go on to volunteer for the campaign of former State Rep. James Dwyer, who himself served as Ward 4 alderman before being elected to the state Legislature. Demers would later serve as Dwyer's legislative aide and campaign manager between 2005 and 2018.