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Curro resigns from board 2 months early

Joe Curro, 2020
Joseph Curro Jr.

UPDATED, Feb. 13: Select Board member Joseph A. Curro Jr. has resigned from the Arlington Select Board, citing personal and professional reasons.

Curro ended his term Friday, Feb. 12, two months short, as his seat is open for the April 10 election. He announced last year that he had decided not to seek reelection for his expiring three-year term.

Select Board Chair John Hurd began the Feb. 8 meeting by acknowledging Curro's absence and that he had resigned from the board. 

"It is certainly a loss for the board to lose Mr. Curro's insight," board Chair John Hurd said at the beginning of the Feb. 8 board meeting after announcing Curro's absence and letter.

"It has been the honor of a lifetime to represent the residents of Arlington on the Select Board," Curro told YourArlington on Feb. 12. "I had looked forward to serving out the remainder of my term, but a confluence of personal and professional considerations has necessitated my decision to step away early .... 

"Arlington is blessed with dedicated and talented professional staff, elected and appointed leaders, and volunteers. Our community has accomplished a lot and has weathered the challenges of the past year with our heads held high. I love Arlington, and I know that we are in good hands moving forward."

Plan to appoint interim?

Hurd told YourArlington in Feb. 13 that the board plans to consider appointing an interim member until the town election within 30 days, as outlined in Section 3 of the Town Manager Act >> 

The last Select Board member to resign before the end a term was Steven Byrne, who announced he was stepping down in December 2017 and was honored in February 2018. Filling out his term was Clarissa Rowe, a selectman from 2006 to 2012. She was installed seven days after Byrne announced he would leave.

The board's next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22, and this issue will be on the agenda.

Former School Committee member Jennifer Susse, Community Preservation Act Committee Chair Eric Helmuth and incumbent Hurd have announced their candidacies for a seat on the Select Board.

Curro, a member of the Select Board since 2012, cited family and professional reasons when he announced he was seeking reelection.

Just before the board adjourned to participate in the fourth session of a Special Town Meeting on Nov. 30, Curro raised the possibility of an honor for Kevin Greeley, who died in November 2018 after serving the board since 1989. Curro noted Greeley's record length of service, one that he would not match, and announced he will not run for a bar seat in the April election.

He did offers reasons, but he has responded to YourArlington's request to explain.

"I have been very honored to serve in townwide elected office, both as a member of the School Committee for four years and as a member of the Select Board for nearly nine years," he said in a statement Dec. 1.

"When I was first elected, my older daughter was in first grade at the Stratton Elementary School, and my younger daughter was still in preschool. Today, my first-grader is in college, and my preschooler is getting ready to graduate from Arlington High School. As my ever-supportive family prepares for a new chapter, this is the right time for me to step back and consider the full range of my own interests and activities, including the demands of my professional life."

Curro is the director of enterprise architecture at Massachusetts Medical Society, publishers of The New England Journal of Medicine, where he has worked since 1995, except for two brief periods working for a number of electronic commerce, voice application and technology consulting firms. 

School Committee service

Before serving on what was then called the Board of Selectmen, he served on the School Committee from 2008 to 2012.

"It has been very gratifying to play a small role on both the School Committee and the Select Board in seeing through our school-rebuild program, including expansion projects to address our enrollment growth and culminating in the new Minuteman High School and the work that is underway to build a 21st-century Arlington High School.

"I am proud of the town's adoption of the Community Preservation Act and the great success we have seen in leveraging this tool to expand our affordable-housing stock and to preserve and improve our historical assets and outdoor recreation areas."

His town service since 2008 "has been book-ended by the Great Recession and by the present Covid-19 crisis, with all of their attendant hardship and heartache. I greatly value the opportunities I have had to work with our small-business and creative communities and with those who serve our most vulnerable seniors, youth, families and veterans, who face particular challenges in these difficult days."

Human rights

His public statement includes national context and reflects his long support for human rights.

"During a very dark time in our country, Arlington has stood up for our core values again and again. In the face of aggressive anti-immigration sentiment, we articulated a commitment to fair and impartial justice for all and advocated for expanded local voting rights for our residents who hail from around the world.

"We took steps to continually increase our Municipal Equality Index score, achieving top marks from the Human Rights Campaign for our protections for the LGBTQIA+ community.

"At a time when our national leadership retreated in the battle against climate change, we joined the fight with a commitment to achieving resiliency and net-zero emissions by 2050, adopted an array of related measures, and advanced public transportation, pedestrian, bicycling and electric vehicle infrastructure improvements."

Balancing his comments is a practical nature: "All of our work has been undergirded by sound fiscal planning practices, committed and talented municipal employees, and the support and engagement of Arlington residents and taxpayers.

'Nostalgic'

"After 13 years in leading policy-making roles, it is natural to feel nostalgic as I prepare to step away in April. These feelings are tempered by great hope for our town's future as new leaders step forward and as we continue to benefit from the wisdom of others who have devoted decades as stewards of Arlington's success."

He tipped his hat to local voters: "Should the voters of Precinct 15 see fit, I look forward to once again occupying a seat on the floor of Town Meeting, serving alongside my neighbors and helping to chart Arlington's new directions.

"I want to thank all of those who have helped me along the way, provided valuable advice, and offered much-needed challenges. Please don't stop."

Background

Curro served on the Human Rights Commission (2006-2008), including one year as chair.

He also served for a short while as a member and chair of the Symmes Neighborhood Advisory Committee. As a School Committee member and Select Board member, he served in many, many committee and liaison roles.

He was first appointed to Town Meeting by his precinct caucus in 1999, serving for one year. In 2003, he was elected as a write-in candidate with 22 votes, and I have served on Town Meeting ever since, with a two-year break from 2010-2012.

He isa board member and clerk for the Bethany House of Prayer, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Anne in Arlington Heights. He is an active parishioner at St. John's Episcopal Church. He is an editorial volunteer, frequent book reviewer and contributor to La Concha, the magazine of American Pilgrims on the Camino.


Dec. 1, 2020: Curro declines to seek reelection to Select Board

April 8, 2018: '18 town election: Curro reelected, Hurd wins, appointed treasurer backed in low turnout

 


This news summary was published Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, with comment from Curro added. It was updated Feb. 13, to add information about an interim appointment.

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