SAUGUS, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A select board chairman has proposed that the Town of Saugus become the "City of Saugus," arguing that the community has outgrown the "town" designation and the structure of government that comes with it.
Chairman of Saugus' Board of Selectmen Anthony Cogliano said the change would get rid of the town manager position in favor of an elected mayor, something he believes Saugus would benefit from.
"With the growth we have we need someone who's going to be totally accessible and every four years, if [their] doing an exceptional job, [they] have a chance to be re-elected. Right now, the system is the town manager is hired by three members of the Board of Selectmen. For me, the number one issue is accountability for the people. We've outdated our present form of government— I think it's time," Cogliano said.
According to the most recent numbers from the United States Census Bureau (July of 2021), Saugus has a population over 28,600 people. The minimum requirements for a town to become a city population-wise is by having more than 1,000 residents, and a population density that's more than 500 per square mile.
Under those stipulations, Saugus would appear to fit the bill— but the governmental overhaul is something that a majority of residents would need to agree with.
The proposal comes after a turbulent time for Saugus' town officials, as a former town manager was accused of misappropriating funds and stepped down— but the Chairman says that wasn't the end of it.
"Our present town manager was brought in, subsequently he was fired by the Board of Selectmen, that Board of Selectmen was then recalled, a new board was elected, and he was brought back in. Having an elected mayor eliminates all that nonsense, this puts the onus on the people and that's where I want to see it," Cogliano said.
Cogliano went on to say that the earliest Saugus could elect a mayor is 2025. Should residents opt to make the jump to the city designation, Cogliano says he would run for mayor.
"I know there's several other people that would consider it, but I would certainly be up to the task myself, Cogliano said.
WBZ's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports.