City considering COVID relief projects

Watertown City Hall. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Leonard G. Spaziani will have to wait until the next City Council meeting to know if he will be appointed to fill a vacant council seat.

Council members met with him in executive session for about 30 minutes before deciding to table the appointment until the April 19 council meeting.

“Mr. Spaziani wasn’t shy on his answers,” Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith said after the closed-door session. “We know where he stands.”

Mr. Spaziani said he didn’t pull any punches during the interview.

“I told them what I thought,” he said. “The city needs help.”

Two weeks ago, he approached Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero about filling the seat for the rest of the year after council members could not agree on appointing two other candidates who were interviewed for the position. He describes himself as “a no-nonsense guy.”

She and Councilman Ryan Henry-Wilkinson said Tuesday night that they needed more time to think about it. Councilwoman Ruggiero explained that she “wanted to check on a few things.”

Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo, who has known Mr. Spaziani for years, said she already knew where he stood on the issues because they talk about them when she sees him at the Dulles State Office Building, where he’s employed as a part-time security officer. She works in the building.

“He’s a good person. He’s doing it for the right reasons,” she said. “I’m supportive.”

Mr. Spaziani would replace first-term Councilman Jesse C.P. Roshia, who resigned in January because he started a new job and moved outside of the city.

Three people — Patrick J. Hickey, Amy Horton and Jason M. Traynor — are running to fill the remainder of the two-year term. They face off in a June 22 primary before the two top vote-getters move on to the general election in November.

Before going into executive session, Councilwoman Ruggiero objected, saying that she thought the interview should be conducted in public session. Council candidate Robert Schorr, who’s running for a separate four-year seat, agreed.

But Mayor Smith and the other two council members said the same process used for Mrs. Horton and Benjamin Shoen should be used for Mr. Spaziani, so the interview should be held in executive session.

Seven candidates are also facing off in a separate primary before four of them go on to the general election for a four-year seat. Councilwoman Ruggiero is running for a second term, while Councilman Henry-Wilkinson is not seeking a second term.

In addition to Mr. Schorr and Mr. Shoen, the other candidates for the four-year seat are Cliff Olney III, Michelle L. Capone, Aaron R. Clemons and Douglas R. Rice.

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