Big turnover coming for Somerville Board of Aldermen

A changing of the guard on the Somerville Board of Aldermen that has been underway since Bill Roche resigned in December to take a city job will continue on Election Day in November.

Aldermen Bruce Desmond, Tom Taylor, and Bob Trane did not submit nomination papers and won’t be appearing on ballots in a preliminary election in September or the general election in November, according to the city’s elections office.

When the replacements for Trane, Taylor, and Desmond take office Jan. 6, the 11-member board will have seen a changeover of five of its members in a 13-month span.


None of the members of the board who are not running for reelection are currently in line for jobs with the city, according to city spokeswoman Jackie Rossetti.

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“There are no plans to hire any former board members,” she said Tuesday.

Desmond has served on the Board of Aldermen since 2001, Taylor since 1986, and Trane since 2002. Desmond is an alderman at large, while Taylor represents Ward 3 and Trane, Ward 7.

Desmond and Taylor both served on the School Committee before becoming aldermen. Trane was appointed to the board after James Halloran resigned to become the city’s recreation director.

Taylor, who has battled cancer in recent years, said health concerns prompted his decision. He announced in May his decision not to run.


Desmond also announced in May his decision to leave office. In a letter written to the Somerville News, he said he planned to spend time with his family and working with local charities.

“I have always believed that government bodies need to be refreshed from time to time,” he said. “They need the injection of young minds, new ideas, and new energy while also maintaining a respect for the past.”

Trane had not previously announced his decision not to run. He didn’t return calls for comment on Monday.

After resigning in December, Roche, who represented Ward 1, became the city’s interim personnel director and in March took over the job permanently.

Ward 5 Alderman Sean O’Donovan resigned in April, citing a desire to spend more time with his family and his law practice.


School Committee member Maureen Bastardi was appointed to take Roche’s seat and Courtney O’Keefe was appointed to O’Donovan’s seat. Both were recommended for the positions by the outgoing aldermen when they resigned.

‘I have always believed that government bodies need to be refreshed from time to time. They need the injection of young minds, new ideas, and new energy while also maintaining a respect for the past.’

Incumbents Maryann Heuston, Ward 2; Tony Lafuente, Ward 4; and Rebekah Gewirtz, Ward 6, all are running unopposed. All other aldermen posts have multiple candidates.

Katjana Ballantyne and Joseph A. Capuano — son of US Representative Michael Capuano — are running for Trane’s Ward 7 seat. Robert J. McWatters, Stephen A. Delani, Suzanne W. Bremer, and Matthew T. Desmond — Bruce Desmond’s son — are running for Taylor’s Ward 3 seat.

Incumbents Jack Connolly, Bill White, and Dennis Sullivan face four challengers for the four at-large seats on the board. School Committee member Mary Jo Rossetti is vacating her seat to run for alderwoman. Sean J. Fitzgerald, Carol A. Dempkowski, and William A. Medeiros also are running.

In Ward 1, incumbent Bastardi faces Elio LoRusso and Matthew C. McLaughlin; and in Ward 5, incumbent O’Keefe faces Mark Niedergang.

A preliminary election for the Ward 1 and Ward 3 races, as well as Ward 5 School Committee, will be held Sept. 24. The general election is Nov. 5.

Mayor Joseph Curtatone is also running unopposed.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at