© The Stoneham Independent
STONEHAM, MA - Moving to a new community, Board of Assessors Chairman Anthony Kennedy resigned from his office earlier this week.
During a selectmen's meeting in Town Hall on Tuesday night, Town Administrator Thomas Younger advised the elected officials that they and the remaining Board of Assessors will be charged appointing Kennedy's temporary replacement.
"The process, when there's been a vacancy on an elected committee, is to hold a joint meeting with your board and the remaining members. You will vote and choose a candidate to serve until the next election," the town administrator explained.
Kennedy, who had served on the three-member board since 2010, officially stepped down from his seat on Monday. Before departing Stoneham, he and his wife, longtime school department secretary Jill Kennedy, made an unspecified financial contribution to the public education system.
Both longtime residents were staunch advocates for Stoneham's schools, and though Younger didn't disclose how much money was left by the couple, he noted it was large enough to start a new scholarship for SHS pupils.
Kennedy was also a one-time Board of Selectmen Chair who took particular interest in town finances. Under his leadership, Stoneham managed to temporarily delay the imposition of mass layoffs and other reductions in town services during the early 2000s, but towards the end of his tenure, the town's structural financial issues had finally caught up to the community.
In 2007, Kennedy, who was at the time the senior member of the board, lost his selectmen's seat to election challenger Frank Vallarelli. In total, Kennedy's tenure on the board had spanned nine years.
Three years later, the Janice Lane resident returned to the world of local politics by announcing his candidacy for the Board of Assessor's seat being vacated by veteran member Richard Mangerian. In one of the closest election contests in recent history, he eked out a narrow 26 vote margin-of-victory.
He current term would have expired in April of 2019.
The Janice Lane resident, who had lived in Stoneham for the past 35 years, told his colleagues, Board of Assessors members Craig Celli and William Jordan, about his pending resignation during a meeting late last month.
In turn, Kennedy's two peers on the Board of Assessors, Craig Celli and William Jordan, notified the Board of Selectmen about the vacancy in a memo submitted on Aug. 30.
Though town officials are not necessarily compelled to do so, Younger this week advocated for advertising the open seat to the general public, before naming an appointee.
The upcoming decision on Kennedy's replacement will not be the first time the Board of Selectmen have filled a vacant seat.
In 2007, a past board joined with the School Committee to name current Selectman Shelly MacNeill to the local education board. MacNeill, who was amongst two other candidates vying to fill the seat being vacated by former Ravine Road resident Miriam Regan-Fiore, would go on to serve for a decade on the School Committee.
In more unusual circumstances, the Selectmen and Board of Health in 2009 similarly had to jointly fill a vacant seat after the Town of Stoneham recorded its first-ever deadlocked election.
Ultimately, incumbent Board of Health member John Scullin was picked to continue serving in office after he tied challenger Ernest Paul Sacco with 483 votes in municipal elections for the position.
Both candidates in that race had asked for a recount, and during that tally, Stoneham's Board of Registrars declared a ballot previously counted as a blank had in fact been cast in Sacco's favor.
However, Scullin challenged those results in court, which resulted in a Middlesex Superior Court judge's declaration that the election outcome be decided by a joint vote of the Board of Selectmen and sitting Board of Health members.