By STEVE JONES Staff writer
TONY REPRESENTED IN SPIRIT — John A. Nash was sworn in as the new Sixth Ward councilor this morning in a small ceremony at City Hall. He will finish the first year of the two-year term of Anthony E. Darcangelo, who passed away March 23. Holding the Bible during the oath of office is Darcangelo’s widow, Shelly, with Anthony A. Darcangelo, her son, at left. Nash is flanked by his daughter Jessica and his wife Maureen. City Clerk Louise S. Glasso is officiating. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)
Under "unfortunate circumstances," John A. Nash was sworn in today as the Common Council’s Sixth Ward representative.
Nash, a former city treasurer, was tapped by Mayor Joseph R. Fusco Jr. to serve the first year of a two-year term vacated due to the untimely death of Councilor Anthony E. Darcangelo. Since he passed away on March 23, the council has operated with only six members. Nash said he will attend the council’s regular meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.
"I am honored to have been selected by Mayor Fusco and the Republican Party to fill the Sixth Ward vacancy created by the untimely passing of Tony Darcangelo," said Nash in a statement issued after his swearing in ceremony today. "This unfortunate circumstance makes the appointment bittersweet because, even though I am excited to represent the Sixth Ward, I truly wish this vacancy did not exist." He continued: "Anyone who knew Tony knows that he was a tireless worker who epitomized what public service is all about. In much the same way, I intend to be a strong advocate for the residents of the Sixth Ward and I look forward to taking on the challenges that are present in city government today. My nearly 20 years experience in city government makes me uniquely qualified to understand the issues and offer solutions to them."
He concluded: "I intend to work cooperatively with the Fusco administration and my fellow councilors to move the city forward while, at the same time, being an independent voice as the representative of the Sixth Ward."
Nash, age 55, of 1318 Craig St., is chief financial officer at the Griffiss Utility Services Co. Before that, he was a city employee. He was hired by the city in January of 1992 as deputy. He was promoted to assistant city treasurer in February of 1995 and then to treasurer at the start of 1997, during Mayor Joseph A. Griffo’s administration. Before joining City Hall, Nash had worked with the county Finance Department and in the private sector, including a stint with Revere Copper and Brass. He is a native Roman and member of the Rome Free Academy class of 1974.
Nash left City Hall in September 2009, when he was fired by Mayor James F. Brown in a public falling out. Brown said it was due to a poor showing in the city’s 2008 financial audit. Less than a month later, during the 2010 budget process, Brown said Nash failed to give him notice of a looming sales tax revenue shortfall. Nash said at the time that the information was no secret and that it had been discussed at budget meetings.
Last year, Nash helped Fusco in his successful campaign to unseat Brown in the race for mayor. He was then appointed to Fusco’s transition team.
It is up to the mayor to appoint a person to fill a vacancy on the council. The new councilor must be from the same political party as the previous councilor — in this case, a Republican.
"He brings a lot to the table," said Fusco today at the ceremony. He said it was a key to have Nash’s previous experience in government — especially the budget — and his interest in retaining the seat beyond this year and this term. "That’s why he’s here today."
Nash said after today’s ceremony that he intends to run in the next election, likely a special election this November for the second year of the two-year term. "I intend to actively and aggressively campaign in November," he said.
Darcangelo was elected last fall to a new term, so there is not only the rest of 2012 but the entirety of 2013 left before the current councilmembers’ terms are up.
The vacancy filed today was the first since the end of 2007, when incumbent Republican Councilor Lisa L. Bellacosa of the Second Ward won re-election, but could not serve her 2008-2009 term due to medical issues. Then Mayor Brown appointed Thomas A. Varano, a fellow Republican, to Bellacosa’s seat. Varano ran in and won the special election in the fall of 2008 to serve the remaining year of Bellacosa’s term.
Corporation Counsel Timothy A. Benedict said the city’s rules on this are vague, but indicate that a special election is the answer.