By Joseph Domelowicz Jr
State Representative Robert Fennell was named the new Deputy Director of the Lynn Water and Sewer Commission on Monday night, following a 3-1 vote of the LWSC board, with one commissioner voting present.
Fennell will work under LWSC Executive Director Daniel F. O’Neill in his new job, focusing primarily on public relations, human resources, working with the agency’s labor unions and helping to shepherd large-scale projects to completion.
Commissioners William Trahant Sr., Peter Capano and David Ellis voted to hire Fennell, 59, to fill the $119,000 a year deputy director’s job left vacant with former City Councilor Robert Tucker’s retirement in August. Commissioner and Ward 1 Councilor Wayne Lozzi voted “present” and Commissioner Walter Proodian voted against “no.” Lozzi declined to explain his vote.
Following the vote, Fennell sad the decision to accept the job is bittersweet, as it will mean he will be leaving elected office for the first time in 20-years.
“This is an opportunity to take years of public experience and direct it to an agency. I thought it would fit well,” he said. “It’s melancholy. I really enjoy the job of state representative but I think this is a good opportunity.”
Fennell did not say when he plans to announce his resignation from the Legislature, but said that he plans to discuss the matter with Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo as early as this week.
State elections will be held in fall, 2016, but it is up to the Legislature, specifically DeLeo, to schedule a special election for a vacant House seat. The imminent departure of Fennell from the legislature, marks the second time in the last two years that a sitting State Representative from Lynn has left office to take another job. Former West Lynn and Nahant state Rep. Steven Walsh resigned from the House in January 2014 to become executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals. Outgoing City Councilor Brendan Crighton won election to succeed Walsh.