MALDEN — Political watchers would have to say City Council newcomer David Camell hit the ground running on his first night in his new post Tuesday.
“Thanks for starting me off on an easy night,” Camell said with a half-smile as the newly-elected Ward 6 City Councilor took on his dual role of new City Councilor and also the tie-breaking vote for City Treasurer, one of the most politically-charged municipal appointments in Malden city history.
Twelve days ago the Council had deadlocked in a 5-5 vote in the appointment of a City Treasurer between former 10-year Ward 6 Councilor Neil Kinnon and former MBTA interim general manager Jonathan Davis. The Council voted to table the appointment vote until after last week’s city election.
Camell, as many had predicted, cast his deciding vote for Davis, the swing man in a 6-5 decision last night that appointed the former “T” Chief for the rest of this year and for a regular three-year term until 2020, pending salary negotiations and a background check.
Camell won the Ward 6 seat easily in in the Nov. 7 election and was sworn in two days later, assuming his post with the opening roll call last night.
He also did not waste any time defusing the drama out of what had been a political powder keg in Malden for the last five months when Mark Good resigned as Treasurer and it became apparent Kinnon would be pursuing the post.
Camell, in a statement on the Council floor before the vote, praised the process and the two finals, lauding Kinnon for his “patience, despite much innuendo and negativity, he has done all asked of him in these interviews.” He referred to Kinnon and Davis as “two completely qualified candidates.”
Camell also cited negativity surrounding Davis’ bid for the post, particularly regarding the former MBTA GM’s tenure during a fiscal crisis at the state agency. “I did quite a bit of research and actually came out of it impressed with how the MBTA handled its financial mess,” Camell said.
“I intend to cast my vote for Mr. Davis,” Camell then said, eliminating five months of mystery with one sentence. “He sets my mind at ease with his experience in a key financial role in a public entity and his work in restructuring debt. He’s battle-hardened.”
No other Councilors spoke and a roll call vote followed with all 10 Councilors sticking with their previous votes. Joining Camell for Davis were Council President Peg Crowe (Ward 1) and Councilors John Matheson (Ward 3), Ryan O’Malley (Ward 4), Neal Anderson (Ward 7) and Councilor at large Debbie DeMaria. Backing Kinnon with their vote were Councilors-at-Large David D’Arcangelo, and Craig Spadafora and Councilors Paul Condon (Ward 2), Barbara Murphy (Ward 5) and Jadeane Sica (Ward 8).
Even after the cloud was lifted and the appointment confirmed, there remained still another wisp of drama, as the Council, on a 7-4 vote, passed a resolve to be delivered to Mayor Gary Christenson, asking that the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO), which would oversee all financial operations, including the Treasurer, Controller and Assessor offices, be either funded as soon as possible or in the next city budget of FY 2019 at the latest.