MBTA Wi-Fi project, as currently proposed, will not be advanced

MBTA Wi-Fi project, as currently proposed, will not be advanced

Gloucester and Cape Ann Elected Officials Work Together to Communicate Concerns

 BOSTON – The MBTA today notified BAI Communications that it will not approve the company’s current proposed implementation of the Wi-Fi system, under which BAI proposes to install approximately 320 seventy-foot monopoles along the Commuter Rail network’s rights of way.

In a letter to BAI, the MBTA said the proposal is not consistent with the license agreement, and cited concerns among members of the public and among federal and state legislators concerning the project’s impact on historic sites and community character.

“Gloucester is pleased about today’s announcement to halt the installation of Wi-Fi monopoles, especially since we didn’t get the chance to review any plans in advance,” said Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “Thankfully, our administration worked across Cape Ann and the North Shore to share information, review the potential sites, and learn from our citizens what their thoughts were, which triggered a demand for accountability from all involved. We are grateful that our voices were heard by working together across local, state and federal levels.”

The MBTA said the license anticipated a more modest project involving the use of “short monopoles” or “existing light poles” to provide Wi-Fi, with only “excess space” available for lease to third party communication providers. BAI’s current proposal would double the size of every pole (and install an extensive fiber network) for the purpose of creating infrastructure to lease.

The MBTA has invited BAI to submit a new implementation plan that better reflects the more modest project anticipated by the license, on a timeframe that is consistent with the MBTA’s transportation and safety needs.

In light of the MBTA’s action, it is no longer necessary to discuss the Wi-Fi project at the August 14th meeting of the Fiscal and Management Control Board. Therefore, the Board will not be accepting public comment on the project.



The City of Gloucester and Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken will be working closely during the 2017 beach season at Good Harbor Beach with the Essex County Greenbelt Association and the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to manage Piping Plovers if they return again to nest on the beach.
“For generations, Gloucester’s citizens have existed in a delicate balance with our coastal ecosystem, from the open ocean, to the rocky shorelines and of course to our beaches,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “We are committed to making every effort possible to protect nesting Piping Plovers at our beaches but we will do so while maintaining public access to these amazing areas. Please help me and the City by cooperating with any short-term restrictions imposed at our beaches in 2017.”
In 2016, Piping Plovers, a small shorebird, were observed nesting for the first time at GHB, and the City acted quickly and responsibly along with Greenbelt and MADFW to protect the birds and their nesting areas. The City is preparing more proactively now for the 2017 beach season.


Piping Plovers are a small shorebird that was placed on the US Endangered Species List in 1986 as a threatened species. Piping Plovers nest directly on the sand at beaches throughout MA, typically on the upper beach just below the outer dune edge. Statewide the Piping Plover population has been increasing over the past 20 years and the population reached about 650 pairs in MA in 2016.
In Gloucester in 2016, 4 pairs of Piping Plovers nested at Coffins Beach and fledged 10 young. A single pair of Piping Plovers nested at GHB, hatching 3 chicks but none survived to fledge. The Piping Plovers at GHB nested later than normal in the season which may have contributed to the lack of chick survival. Better early season protections could help eliminate this problem in 2017.
The US Endangered Species Act requires public and private landowners to take necessary measures to protect listed species like Piping Plovers. MA also has guidelines and laws for beach nesting bird management. The city is making every effort to be compliant with all regulatory guidelines.
Piping Plovers typically arrive from their southern wintering areas to our local beaches in late March or early April. Males and females quickly form breeding pairs that begin the process of courtship and nest site select throughout April and May. During April and May, it is important to limit disturbance to the birds and their habitats. Chicks can hatch from nests in late May and are immediately mobile and move out of the nest in search of food. As chicks grow older and larger, they will roam from the dunes to the water’s edge in search of food. Chicks are very vulnerable to human disturbance and are susceptible to predators like gulls and foxes.


Gloucester officials have directed City staff to collaborate with Greenbelt and MADFW to development management strategies to protect Piping Plovers found nesting on any Gloucester beaches.
  • Beach Scraping – Limiting beach cleaning activities like beach scraping with a tractor and mechanical rake is very important once Piping Plovers arrive at GHB. This could start in April and last though June in certain areas at GHB.
  • Fencing – It is also important to strategically select areas for temporary closure with single strand fencing and signs. These fenced areas allow a refuge for Piping Plovers to begin their nesting season normally in May, before the busy beach season. fences could be installed in April and be in place through June in certain areas at GHB.
  • Monitoring – Regular monitors from Greenbelt, MADFW and theCity will visit GHB in March/April to determine if PipingPlovers are present and to ensure that any nesting Piping Plovers are well protected. Monitoring will continue as long as Piping Plovers are present at the site.
  • Public Access – GHB will remain open to the public during the beach season. Only selected small areas may be closed to the public to protect Piping Plovers. Mayor Theken encourages all beachgoers to respect the closed areas and to consider Piping Plovers as an important part of Gloucester’s rich and healthy coastal ecosystem.
  • Dogs – Unleashed dogs can pose a very real threat to Piping Plover adults and chicks. Dogs owners are responsible for controlling their dogs and may be legally responsible for any adverse impacts to Piping Plovers and their habitats.

For more information, please contact Greenbelt Essex County Trust at dwr@ecga.org or (978) 768-7241 x14


City of Gloucester Closed Thursday for Snow Emergency

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 9th the City of Gloucester and all public buildings including City Hall and schools will be closed. Effective at 8:00 AM tomorrow, Thursday, February 9th, the city has declared a snow emergency and parking ban on all city streets due to an upcoming severe snow storm.

From 8:00 AM tomorrow, Thursday, February 9th, until 7:00 AM Friday, February 10th all vehicles are banned from parking on city streets.

Residents may park in all municipal and school parking lots.

Please remove all vehicles from municipal and school parking lots before the parking ban expires at 7:00 AM Friday. School parking lots will be the first areas to be ticketed and towed once parking ban has concluded. Violators of this emergency declaration will be at the owner’s expense. Your cooperation during this parking ban is necessary for efficient and safe snow removal efforts.

All residents and businesses are reminded that they are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property. Please make every effort to shovel out hydrants at or near your homes, and please check on your elderly and disabled. All city buildings will be closed on Thursday, February 9th with regular hours planned for Friday, February 10th weather permitting.

To repeat, the City of Gloucester will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, February 9th, with a parking ban issued on all city streets as of 8:00 AM tomorrow, Thursday, February 9th, 2017. The ban shall be in effect until 7:00 AM, Friday, February 10th

Updates will be forthcoming as the storm progresses. Please check the City of Gloucester website and social media for further updates atwww.gloucester-ma.gov

Gloucester Civil War Coat Preservation Plan Wins Statewide Recognition, Grant Money

GLOUCESTER, Mass., Feb. 1, 2017 – Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Committee of the Arts Board Member Catherine Ryan announced that Gloucester has been awarded a statewide grant of $6,620 from the Massachusetts State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) to help with conservation and historical education for a Civil War uniform coat.

“I’m proud of our city volunteers, students and residents who came together to help raise awareness of this American artifact that has history to our country and to our local community,” said Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “With this SHRAB grant, as well as Awesome Gloucester and online fundraising monies, the education and heritage will live on for years to come.”


The SHRAB program is an extension of grants awarded by the Massachusetts Sesquicentennial Commission of the American Civil War with supporting services from the Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin and Massachusetts Archives Department, which features a rigorous and competitive qualifying process. The program reviewed hundreds of applications across the Commonwealth, but the ten-page application overview designed by two young activists, Charles King and George King, was “enthusiastically” selected by Commonwealth Archivist Dr. John Warner and his committee.

Both Charles and George King joined Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Director of Communications and Constituent Services Christopher Sicuranza in late January for a conference call with Archivist Dr. Warner to reveal the grant award, which was the culmination of months of work for advocacy and awareness for the conservation project. In addition to the monies provided by the SHRAB program, Charles and George led efforts across Gloucester to raise awareness through local media and manage fundraisers through online sites and the Awesome Gloucester program.

Charles and George high-fived upon hearing the approval of their grant proposal from Commonwealth Archivist Dr. Warner in Mayor Sefatia Romeo-Theken’s office.

Plans to create an innovative and attractive display case are currently being developed, but a special emphasis on mobility was factored into the funding request so that the artifact can be easily transported to other museums, including the aim of bringing the feature at a Smithsonian National Museum as part of a regional or national ambassador program.

About Civil War Coat

Over 80 years ago, the Civil War coat was installed in the then new Gloucester High School through Albert W. Bacheler who fought in the Civil War and later served as principal of Gloucester High from in 1884-1914, using the coat in his lessons. Years later, a former student , noted businessman and philanthropist, Roger Babson, donated an enshrinement memorial at the school to help preserve the coat, but over the years the coat’s condition became fragile. One parent, Kim Minnaugh, asked Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken to assist with recovery efforts, which gained assistance, support and financing through various offices including Chief Administrative Officer Jim Destino, City Archivist Sarah Dunlop, Veterans Affairs Director Adam Curcuru, Sawyer Free Library Assistant Valerie Marino, Catherine Ryan and The Committee for the Arts, Massachusetts Historical Commission Director of Preservation Planning Michael Steinitz, Superintendent Dr. Richard Safier, Principal Cook Gloucester High School, and Allison Cousins and Principal Lucey at O’Maley Innovation Middle School.

Mayor’s 2016 Year End Review & Thank You

Dear Gloucester Residents,

As 2016 winds down, I want to pause to express my gratitude to everyone for all that you have done to help move Gloucester forward.  Many believe that this year was tougher than other years, but I want to reflect on the positive and look ahead with renewed hope as we enter 2017.

To start the year, our administration and the new City Council were sworn in and we committed ourselves to working together on behalf of all Gloucester residents.  We are lucky to have so many dedicated public officials who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work hard on the issues that we face as a community.

I want to thank all City Councilors, city employees, board and commission members, volunteers, organizers, members of the business community and everyone else who has helped to build on the progress that we have made.  No one person can achieve as much as we did and will continue to achieve by working together.  I couldn’t be more proud of everyone’s efforts.

We have put our fiscal house in order by adopting financial policies that will pay benefits for years to come.  For the first time in many years, all City departments lived within their operational budgets allocated by the City Council and we are well on our way to doing that for a second straight year.  This is a critical first step in building a financially healthy City. As a result of our financial policies adopted for free cash and our work with the school department, school committee and MSBA, we are now better positioned to fund capital improvements to our schools like the roof at the high school.

In my short time as Mayor, we have been committed to economic growth in the City.  We will continue to work to expand our commercial industrial base and upgrading our technological services within the City.  At the same time, we worked to repair our coastal seawalls, establish co-working spaces for entrepreneurs, improve visiting areas like Stage Fort Park, continue our cultural heritage in the arts, attend the Seafood Show to promote Gloucester Fresh Seafood including designing the logo which led to a relationship with 99 Restaurants to sell local fish, work alongside Representative Ferrante, Senator Tarr and our federal delegations to secure funds including a new roof at the State Fish Pier, and so much more.

The City welcomed new changes in the Mayor’s Office to help with constituent services, as well as new staff leadership across many City departments, including Harbormaster, Community Development, Tourism, Communications, Police, Human Resources, and, for the first time in a long while, Fisheries Commission Director. I believe our team is stronger than ever as a result of these changes and I am confident that we will continue to provide the best services to all Gloucester residents.

From our seniors to our students, from Ward 1 to Ward 5, for those just moving here to those who have had generations living here, please know that our administration will continue to provide the best results by working with everyone and building toward a strong collective future.  While we respect our culture and heritage for 2017 and well beyond, we must continue to listen to one another and find ways to deepen our contributions, however large or small, to help every citizen.

As I have said many times, my door is always open and I welcome your input and guidance.

I am sure that 2017 will usher in many challenges for us as a community but I know through everyone’s hard work and what we have accomplished in 2016 that we will be successful.  Thank you and I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy New Year!  Let’s keep moving Gloucester forward… together.


Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken


Gloucester provides information on former police chief with FAQ

In an effort to answer some  misconceptions and concerns vocalized by the residents of Gloucester over the recent departure of the former police chief, the city has created a FAQ document to help provide insights and answers:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Departure of former Chief Leonard Campanello

  • Q: Why have the details of investigations around the police department not been issued to the public?
  • A: The administration fully believes in transparency and accountability, period. When rumors and allegations are issued against public officials, they are taken seriously but handled professionally to ensure that we are not spreading lies or creating a dangerous and slanderous precedent which could ruin a person’s life or career. If any allegation proves to be true, however, we provide swift disciplinary actions with oversight from our HR and legal teams. We will always support fair due process and that will remain our standard policy.
  • Q: Are all the investigations over now?
  • A: No. Municipal Resources, Inc. (MRI) will continue their audit and review of the entire Gloucester Police Department to analyze and determine where improvements need to be made through their professional assessment systems.
  • Q: Did the mayor move to terminate Campanello earlier in the week because he was caught lying about his phone during his investigation?
  • A: Yes. Allegations were made against the former chief which led to the launch of an investigation on Campanello. During this investigation, the former chief’s phone contained critical evidence which he destroyed and he later sent anonymously to his own attorney. The Essex District Attorney’s Office was able to determine that Campanello lied about not knowing where his public cell phone was or how it ultimately arrived with his lawyer, as he was seen on surveillance tape mailing the envelope through DA Blodgett’s resources.
  • Q: Why is Gloucester paying Campanello anything if we moved to terminate him, especially if he was caught lying?
  • A: Campanello’s contract signed in 2014, by former Mayor Kirk, contained unusual clauses providing the former chief with the ability to legally fight the city and appeal all disciplinary decisions, creating a strain on city resources, budget, expenses, and staff time. Additionally, Campanello’s contract contained a clause that any termination notice requires at least thirty days’ notice, even with cause or criminal activity. Another clause provided the former chief the ability to get three months’ salary regardless of any termination decision. So whether one side calls this a termination or another side calls it retirement, the end results for final payout are nearly equal, except a true termination would be more timely, costly and continue to draw negative media attention.
  • Q: Will there be any other legal action taken against Campanello?
  • A: In order to move the city forward, it was decided it was in the collective best interest to resolve this matter efficiently, and we have done so. Any comments or questions around further legal action taken by the District Attorney’s office, or other parties, will not be addressed through our offices.
  • Q: Is this really a savings for the city considering how much we are paying out?
  • A: Yes. Campanello’s unusually strong contract signed by the last administration ensured that whether he was terminated with cause or retired on his own, he would essentially receive the same benefit. Additionally, by resolving this matter now with the former Chief, we save on legal fees- both actual and potential, as well as halt other grievances filed against the chief. Campanello’s pension will be primarily funded through his decades of service while in Saugus and other communities, as the former Chief only served in our City for a few years, thus our pension commitments are as minimal as contractually possible. Our HR, legal and budgetary teams agreed that the ultimate arrangement finalized with Campanello provided the City the least costly option, in every sense of the phrasing.
  • Q: Do you have confidence in our police department considering all the rumors?
  • A: We believe in due process, and allegations will always be taken seriously. For that very reason, we have retained MRI to offer our city a fair, unbiased assessment to determine how to best improve our police department. If we find any violations of our municipal policies in any capacity, we will enact swift disciplinary measures up to and including terminations. All the same, citizens in Gloucester can be assured that our public safety teams are committed to performing their duties to best protect and serve us all, as declared during their oath of office.
  • Q: What did the city give up as a result of this resolution?
  • A: We gave up nothing. The chief has a legal right to retire at any time, and we were moving toward a termination hearing. When he chose to retire, he voluntarily waived his contractual right to a hearing. The former chief’s contract ensured the same payouts no matter the scenario or headlines suggesting a different strategy was taken.
  • Q: I have something I would like to report, but am afraid of contacting the police. What should I do?
  • A: The Gloucester Police Department is prepared to take any and all complaints, as obligated by their service. Additionally, the Essex District Attorney’s office has various tools to assist potential victims, including “Victim & Witness Assistance” services seen at this link (http://www.mass.gov/essexda/victim-assistance/) or by calling direct at: 978-745-6610
  • Q: How does the city move on now with so many questions still lingering?
  • A: By wrapping up these dealings with the former chief, we can showcase our true community values. We have a new Harbormaster busy creating new moorings and providing new revenues, a public health team helping provide resources for all people for all needs, a community development team that just finalized the Fuller School property deal, an evolving and growing downtown featuring new stores, restaurants and now the beautiful Beauport Hotel – our city has plenty to work on and our focus on results is what the citizens demand and deserve.
  • Q: I heard a rumor on Facebook that…
  • A: All rumors are just that: rumors. We will not comment on hearsay or other potentially slanderous claims unless they have genuine validity and can showcase legitimate testimony, evidence or specific examples to support a claim. Fake names on Facebook or Twitter who spread claims should not be engaged with or shared, as the spread of misinformation will only worsen as a result. We hope that any party hiding behind a fake name or alias – for whatever reason they are doing that  – will consider identifying themselves, supporting their claims clearly and work with the appropriate authorities direct to help affect positive change, and not continue online harassment or mud-slinging. Our city has received allegations from various sources and our audits are ongoing to help determine the truth in all situations. If you’d like to report something confidentially, Gloucester Human Resources / Personnel Department can help take your claim and will protect your privacy. Additionally, The National Domestic Violence Hotline is free and confidential. They can connect you with local programs and national resources that may be able to help you, whether related to domestic violence or otherwise. To reach the hotline, call 1-800-799-7233. It is available 24 hours a day.
  • Q: Will the mayor give the public answers or provide a forum to express our input?
  • A: The mayor absolutely wants to provide answers, but she also wants to provide accountable and correct answers, too. Finalized audits through our expert partners will help provide clear and professional answers which will be shared with the public when completed. The mayor remains committed to her open door policy and interested parties can schedule a meeting with her direct using this contact form and a staff member will coordinate schedules thereafter. The mayor’s goal remains to provide the best services to the citizens of Gloucester and her office always welcomes insights – whether critical or supportive – but asks that you remain patient while we conduct thorough and complete audits. Sharing any results from these audits in advance would potentially jeopardize the integrity of any investigation and may violate legal and personnel agreements, too.

Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken reaffirms that all decisions made by the administration is designed to best support the Gloucester citizens every day. By advocating and fighting for those in need, the mayor is committed to providing the leadership necessary to move beyond this unfortunate situation. The actions recently taken by our administration is not a change of heart or a reversal of any sort. Rather, it is a continuation of the mayor’s promise to always put people first while remaining decisive. The mayor understands your concerns and shares many of your sentiments, yet we must move forward, together. Thanks to everyone in Gloucester for the continued patience and support.

Have other questions you’d like answered? Please send your remarks to the city using this submission form and staff will do their best to get answers.

# # #