$2 Million Available For Quincy Small Businesses

By SCOTT JACKSON

The city of Quincy is making $2 million in grants available to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Thomas Koch, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, Quincy Chamber of Commerce President Tim Cahill and city planning director Jim Fatseas announced the establishment of the grant program Thursday. Applications were made available online immediately at quincyma.gov and will remain open until May 15.

The funding for the program will come from the federal government. Koch said $1 million would come from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and another $1 million is from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The goal of the program, Koch said, is to help ensure the city’s small businesses would be able to re-open.

“A mom and pop store with a few employees that just lives on their income, they are hurting right now. This program that we’re establishing will provide small grants, up to $10,000 per, to assist them to hopefully keep them moving so they will be able to re-open,” Koch said.

“It’s incumbent upon all of us to do everything we can to help our brothers and sisters in need.”

The mayor said the program would provide eligible small businesses with grants of up to $10,000 each. There are four qualification preferences for the program: A business must have fewer than 20 employees, less than $1 million in gross revenue, must be the owner’s primary source of income, and have demonstrated a significant loss of income since March.

Certain businesses are ineligible from the program, including real estate, multi-level marketing, tattoo parlors, and retailers of alcohol and marijuana, among others. Also excluded are franchisees of national or regional chain businesses; independently-owned franchisees will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The city’s planning department will be responsible for vetting the applicants and distributing the grants. Koch said funding would not be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“This is not first-come, first-serve. Applications will be processed and people will be dealt with and handled, so don’t feel like you’re in panic mode and you have to get in line,” the mayor. “We’re going to keep it open until May 15, the deadline, and if we have to extend it, we will.”

Fatseas said the application process would be user friendly and his entire 17-person staff is willing to help businesses through the process.

The city receives roughly $1.8 million annually from the CDBG program, Koch said. The CDBG money set aside for the small business grants comes from additional CDBG funding set aside in the CARES Act, he said.

Lynch, a South Boston Democrat, said the block grant program gives local and state officials the ability to use federal funds where it they feel it can be most impactful.

“The CBDG moneys gives the authority to our governors and our mayors, who we think have a better grasp on the needs within the state,” Lynch said.

“I have high confidence in Charlie Baker and Mayor Koch – that putting money into that CDBG pipeline will get to the people who need it most, because they are here every day, they are on the ground, they get the complaints and the phone calls.”

Cahill noted the Chamber has helped distribute money from the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund to hospitality sector employees who are out of work because of the pandemic. Nearly 400 workers have received assistance totaling just under $500,000 from that program and a similar one administered by Quincy Community Action Programs to date.

“This program is coming at the right place and the right time, because we’ve been helping the employees and now we’re going to be helping the small business people. The small business grant fund is a phenomenal idea,” Cahill said.

“I believe, from what I’ve seen so far, they have structured it perfectly – trying to help the smallest of the small businesses, the folks that are really going to struggle to re-open but are committed to re-opening.”

Cahill said business owners have been concerned about their ability to pay rent and the grant program would help them be able to do so.

“They can rest assured when their rent is paid that their building is still going to be there when they re-open and maybe get some supplies and get started,” he said.

Baker Extends Massachusetts Closures To May 18

By SCOTT JACKSON

Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday said non-essential businesses in Massachusetts would remain closed for another two weeks until May 18 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and announced the formation of a task force to determine how businesses can re-open in a phased manner going forward.

Baker also said the state’s stay-at-home advisory to residents and a ban on gatherings of more than ten people would remain in place until that date. All three orders had been set to expire May 4.

During a State House press conference Tuesday afternoon, Baker said the number of residents hospitalized for COVID-19 has leveled off in recent days, but there has yet to be a downward trend in hospitalizations.

“We have plateaued, but we have stayed at a high level of hospitalizations,” the governor responded when asked why he extended his orders another two weeks.

Baker said he understood residents might want the restrictions lifted sooner but said doing so could cause infections to surge.

“We’re all incredibly eager to move on to the next phase, but if we move on too soon, we risk a spike in infections,” he said, which would require additional closures.

“We are moving in the right direction with the virus, but we are clearly not where we need to be.”

Baker announced the formation of a 19-member task force, led by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kenneally, to determine how to re-open the economy going forward. The task force includes the mayors of Lawrence and Easthampton, the chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, the state’s commissioner of public health and transportation secretary, health care experts and representatives from various industries.

Polito said the task force planned to meet later Tuesday and would continue to meet daily going forward.

“This is a process that needs to be smart, needs to put safety first, and needs to be phased,” she said. “This is a process that must and will be guided by the public health metrics we watch every day.”

Baker said he would also work with his counterparts in New England and other Northeastern states.

“We need to talk to each other and stay in touch,” Baker said, to ensure one state’s action does not put other states at risk.

The state Department of Public Health on Monday reported 1,524 new cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, bringing the total number of cases to 56,462. The statewide death toll increased to 3,003 on Monday, with 104 new deaths reported. The DPH also said 8,787 new tests were reported on Monday, raising the total to 244,887 tests since the outbreak began.

The DPH said 3,892 patients were hospitalized in Massachusetts for COVID-19 as of Monday. That is an increase of 38 patients from Sunday, but still fewer than the 3,977 patients who were hospitalized on April 21.

There were 1,089 patients in intensive care units as of Monday, up 12 from Sunday.

COVID-19 cases have been reported at 308 long-term care facilities across the state, according to the DPH. As of Monday, 10,635 of the state’s cases were residents or workers at those facilities and 1,698 of the deaths in the state have been reported in long-term care facilities.

Mayor Thomas Koch on Monday said there were 739 COVID-19 cases in Quincy, up from 647 on April 24. The mayor, in a video update to residents, said the increase in cases was “mainly because results have come in from some of the nursing homes that were tested about a week ago,” and noted COVID-19 has been confirmed in less than 1 percent of the city’s residents.

“We are one of the largest cities in the commonwealth, so we do expect our numbers to be proportionally so, but certainly far less than 1 percent of our population at this point has been confirmed cases and many of them are in nursing homes,” Koch said.

Fifty-nine Quincy residents had died from COVID-19 as of Monday, according to the city’s statistics, and 252 of the residents who were infected have since recovered. Those numbers are both unchanged from April 24.

In his remarks Monday, Koch said he was grateful for the leadership of Baker and Polito during the pandemic.

“Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito have been phenomenal working with us at the local level and leading the state through one of the most unprecedented times we have seen in our lifetime,” Koch said. “They have been terrific leaders in providing resources to the local level including us in Quincy and other municipalities in so many ways. I am grateful for their leadership.”

In addition, Koch said he has been talking with U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch on a regular basis since the pandemic began to discuss how the federal government’s actions impact Quincy.

“He has been keeping me posted throughout this process,” Koch said of Lynch.

“I am very grateful for him and all my colleagues locally, the City Council, School Committee, and the state legislators that are working on your behalf in Beacon Hill. Everybody is rowing in the same direction, unsure of when this will truly end, but hopefully soon. We are all working together to make sure we are doing the right thing on your behalf which is keeping you safe and healthy.”

Baker last week announced schools would remain closed through the end of the academic year in June, with students learning remotely from home. The Quincy School Committee on Wednesday was set to discuss how graduations for the city’s two high schools would be handled this year.

State Announces Federal Approval to Assist National School Lunch Program Participants

The Baker-Polito Administration on Thursday announced that it received federal approval to promote increased food security for families who participate in the United States Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program (NSLP) through an initiative called Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT.

As of October 2019, more than 500,000 students receive free or reduced-price meals through the NSLP. Families receiving P-EBT will get a payment equal $5.70 per student per day of school closure through this new initiative, bringing more than $200 million in federal dollars to the state.

“DTA has been pursuing all available tools and resources to support individuals and families impacted by this public health crisis.  In light of school closures, the approval of this collaborative initiative adds another critical tool to the state’s effort to leverage federal funds, promote food security, and provide additional food assistance to students and their families. This initiative will also bring close to $200 million into the Commonwealth’s economy, supporting our local grocery stores, corner stores, and their employees,” said Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA)​ Commissioner Amy Kershaw.

“I’m happy to be working across agencies to get these additional benefits to eligible students’ families,” Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said. “This will supplement the great work that districts and other organizations are already doing to provide grab-and-go meals to students, and I know that many families’ needs have increased as a result of the pandemic.”

P-EBT is administered by DTA and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Funds through the program will be issued in the coming weeks, beginning with households with active Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cases. Nearly half of the households who will receive assistance are SNAP recipients. DTA and DESE are working with local school districts to provide P-EBT benefits to families who would have received free or reduced-priced meals. More information on when and how benefits will be issued will be shared soon.

The Administration is partnering with Project Bread and the Shah Family Foundation to share information and resources with households who will be receiving P-EBT. Information about P-EBT can be found at: Mass.gov/p-ebt. The Shah Foundation will be setting up a P-EBT page with additional information. For questions about P-EBT or other food access resources, call Project Bread’s FoodSource hotline at 800-645-8333.

“We know we need big solutions to solve a crisis of this size. P-EBT is a great example and we applaud our leaders here in Massachusetts and DTA for taking action so more than 500,000 kids can buy food that will help keep them healthy during the crisis,” said Erin McAleer, President of Project Bread

“We are proud to partner with Governor Baker and his administration to support families in accessing healthy food for their children during this challenging time. Every child deserves daily nutritious meals – whether school is in session or not – and we know now more than ever that this is critical to building strong, resilient communities.,” said Jill Shah, President of the Shah Family Foundation said.

 

Since the beginning of this public health crisis, the weekly average number of SNAP applications received has increased by nearly 400 percent. The Administration remains committed to supporting food security and nutrition for Massachusetts residents. P-EBT builds on DTA and DESE’s ongoing efforts to promote food security for families and children who have been impacted by COVID-19, including:

Setting up more than 1,500 grab and go meal sites at schools across the Commonwealth

Issuing emergency SNAP benefits to more than 240,000 households to bring all SNAP recipients to their maximum benefit amount, bringing more than $40 million into the state

Streamlining SNAP application processes and extending certification periods

Pursuing the opportunity to enable SNAP recipients to make online EBT food purchases

DTA assists and empowers low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, improve their quality of life, and achieve long term economic self-sufficiency. DTA serves one in nine residents of the Commonwealth with direct economic assistance and food assistance, as well as workforce training opportunities. Learn more: https://www.mass.gov/DTA/COVID-19

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is committed to preparing all students for success after high school. The Department’s work includes licensing educators, distributing state and federal education money, helping districts implement learning standards, overseeing statewide standardized tests, monitoring schools and districts, and convening districts and individuals to share best practices. In addition, we collect data to inform state and local decisions. Learn more at doe.mass.edu/covid19/.

The Shah Family Foundation supports innovative and transformative work in education, healthcare and the community. We believe that interesting and lasting solutions sit where these intersect. Our primary work and support is centered in Boston, with the goal of sharing broadly the programs and innovations that prove successful in our home town. Learn more at shahfoundation.org/.

Project Bread is committed to preventing and ending hunger in Massachusetts. We provide access to food for people who are hungry today while working to break the cycle of hunger through advocacy, education, and community action. Learn more at ProjectBread.org.

City Announces COVID-19 Recovery Coach Initiative

The City of Quincy, in collaboration with Bay State Community Services (BSCS), is offering a new recovery coach initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this new initiative, Quincy residents experiencing substance use disorder (SUD) as well as their friends and family, will have access to a certified recovery coach 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The City recognizes the unique challenges faced by those impacted by substance use disorder during this time due to the sudden unavailability of many of their traditional recovery resources and supports throughout the city and beyond,” said Mayor Thomas Koch. “A trained recovery coach will be available to provide individualized phone support to those in need.”

Support will include one on one peer support, treatment referrals to the appropriate level of care, medication assisted treatment referrals, medical care referrals, linkage to housing support and other resources and connection to virtual 12 step meetings and other recovery support groups.

To connect with a recovery coach, call 1-617-479-3700.

Questions can be directed to Laura Martin, City of Quincy’s Substance Use Prevention Coordinator, at lmartin@quincyma.gov.

Superintendent’s Message In Response To MA Schools Closure For Remainder Of Academic Year

Dear Quincy Public Schools Students, Parents and Guardians,

Today Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker announced that all Massachusetts schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.  While I am saddened by this news, I am grateful to Governor Baker and Department of Elementary & Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley for their leadership in keeping the health and well-being of the whole Massachusetts community in the forefront.

For the next eight weeks, Quincy Public Schools will continue to provide remote learning for all of our students thanks to the commitment to education, innovation, and creativity of the Quincy Public Schools staff and administrators.  Lunch and breakfast (for the next day) will continue to be distributed at eight school sites from 11:00 am to noon each day (Atherton Hough Elementary School, Clifford Marshall Elementary School, Lincoln Hancock Community School, Montclair Elementary School, Parker Elementary School, North Quincy High School, Quincy High School, Snug Harbor Community School).  We are also still loaning Chromebooks to families and providing support with Google classroom and Aspen access; please see below to request assistance.

There are many important questions around the end of the school year, including report cards and grading and especially recognition for our graduating high school seniors.  I am expecting additional guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in the next few days and will be meeting with all principals and administrators this week to develop plans to share with you as soon as possible.

Thank you and take care,

Richard DeCristofaro, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Quincy’s Anonymous ‘Bar Pizza Bandit’ Donates Pizza To Local First Responders

EMTs from Brewster Ambulance in Quincy were the most recent beneficiaries of the bar pizza bandit’s generosity.

By KERRY BYRNE

Quincy’s mysterious “bar pizza bandit” has become one of the community’s most beloved charitable figures during the battle against Covid-19.

Her anonymous and generous donations to local first responders over the past two weeks have generated thousands of likes, comments and shares on social media — not to mention the appreciation of the brave folks on the front lines of the fight.

Three times in the last two weeks, the unknown woman wearing a black hoodie and ballcap has walked into Rag’s Tavern, a popular bar-pizza hotspot in Quincy, and ordered $200 in pizza.

The first order two weeks ago went to the Quincy Police Department; the second order last Monday went to the Quincy Fire Department, shared among three different firehouses; and she walked in again Friday, asking that the pizza be delivered to local EMTs at Brewster Ambulance.

That’s a total of $600 worth of pizza in just two weeks – or approximately 75 10-inch South Shore-style bar pizzas delivered to local first responders, each one carefully wrapped in the pizza style’s signature brown paper take-out bags.

The bar pizza bandit works quickly, said Rags Tavern manager Courtney Rego. The woman calls ahead or just walks in, makes the order, drops $200 in cash on the bar, then quietly walks out the door – the bandit’s identity unknown even to Rego.

“I’ve seen her in here before, but I don’t know who she is,” said Rego. “Either way, we’re happy to be a part of her effort to feed local first responders and delighted to know that there are so many great people out there working to help our neighbors on the front lines of the battle against Coronavirus.”

The bar pizza bandit’s generosity benefits the tavern, too: providing much-needed business in this unprecedented time for the restaurant industry and helping keep folks like Rego and her colleagues employed.

Will the bar pizza bandit strike again? Rego’s not sure. But happy to help if and when she does.

Quincy’s anonymous “bar pizza bandit” has donated $600 in pizza over the past two weeks to local first responders, including Quincy firefighters Derek Monroe, left, and Jay Toner. Courtesy Photos

QHS Class Of 1974 Donates $500 To Quincy Relief Fund; Challenges QHS, NQHS Grads To Support Effort

The Quincy High School Class of 1974 has donated $500 from their class reunion fund to the Quincy Relief Fund. Grants from the fund are dedicated to members of the community and organizations in the most need during the COVID-19 pandemic and health emergency.

At this time, the QHS Class of 1974 is challenging other QHS and NQHS classes as well as individuals to do the same on behalf of their graduating classes.

Donations can be made at their website at:www.quincyrelieffund.com

Let’s go Quincy #Allinthistogether

CARES Act Unemployment Benefits For Self-Employed, Gig Economy, Other Workers Implemented

The Baker-Polito Administration announced April 20th that Massachusetts residents who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits can now apply online for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

The new federal PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. This includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and those with limited work history. Applicants can learn more and apply at www.mass.gov/pua.

“As a Commonwealth, we are committed to doing everything in our power, and moving as urgently as possible to get workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis the benefits they deserve,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the implementation of this new federal benefit program, we can better support workers not normally covered by the unemployment system like those who are self-employed or work in the gig economy.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of workers across the Commonwealth, and our Administration is doing everything we can to help,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program in Massachusetts is another important step in our efforts to help those who are economically disrupted by this virus.”

To be eligible for this new program, individuals must provide self-certification that they are otherwise able and available to work but are prevented from doing so by circumstances relating to COVID-19, including their own illness or that of a family member.

Those able to telework with pay and individuals receiving paid sick or other leave will not qualify for PUA. Individuals receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits for less than their customary work week, however, may still be eligible for PUA. Also, those working fewer hours, resulting in a loss of income due to COVID-19, who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits may be eligible for PUA.

“It is vital that our workforce gets the resources and help they need during this critical time,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta. “I’m proud of everything our team is doing to rapidly implement new programs, and ensure that as many eligible workers as possible get some relief.”

The federal CARES Act signed into law on March 27 created PUA, as well as another temporary federal program called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) that provides an additional $600 weekly benefit for those receiving unemployment benefits or PUA. FPUC provides that additional benefit through July 25, 2020. The Commonwealth announced implementation of FPUC earlier this month.

All approved PUA applications will initially receive the minimum weekly benefit amount, plus the additional $600 FPUC weekly benefit. Once a worker’s wages are verified, weekly benefit amounts may increase. The amount of PUA benefits received is based on the individual’s reported previous income. PUA benefits may not be more than the state’s maximum weekly benefit rate for regular unemployment, which is $823 in Massachusetts.

Weekly benefits, including any increase to your weekly benefit amount, will be retroactive to Jan. 27, 2020, or the date when you became unemployed, whichever is more recent, as long as you became unable to work because of a COVID-19 related reason.

PUA Application Process:

To apply, individuals must provide their Social Security number or US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) number if not a citizen of the United States, and their wage records for 2019, which includes 1099 forms, pay stubs, or bank statements. Applicants will also need the Social Security numbers and dates of birth for dependent children and, if requesting direct deposit for payment, your bank account and routing numbers. A full list of required documents is available at www.mass.gov/pua.

Initially, the system can only pay benefits retroactively to the week ending March 14, 2020. Eligible workers will be able to certify for benefits, and will be able to request benefits retroactively to January 27, 2020, if their dates of unemployment make them eligible.

Individuals who are determined ineligible for PUA will receive a written disqualification along with information on how to pursue an appeal. Additional information about the appeals process will be separately posted at a later date. Please visit www.mass.gov/dua for the latest information.

Quincy Motel To Serve As Isolation Center

By SCOTT JACKSON

The Howard Johnson’s motel on Hancock Street has been repurposed as an isolation and quarantine center amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Thomas Koch announced the motel would be used as an isolation and quarantine center for guests of Father Bill’s Place, in partnership with Manet Community Health Center.

Group testing of Father Bill’s guests began Thursday. While they await test results, those guests will be lodged under medical and professional supervision at the motel. Those who test negative will be directed to Father Bill’s, and those who test positive will be directed to appropriate medical attention.

“While the first phase will focus on Father Bill’s, there are other members of the community that may be directed to this facility under the direction of Manet,” Koch said in a statement.

Quincy police will monitor and supervise the site around the clock, Koch said. The city is paying to use the motel through emergency funding.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Quincy increased to 264 on Thursday. Seventy of those individuals have made full recoveries while ten residents have died.

The total number of cases in Massachusetts increased to 18,941 on Thursday, according to the Department of Public Health, and the death toll increased to 503. There are a total of 2,007 cases in Norfolk County.

In addition to using the motel as an isolation center, Koch this week announced Cleaner Greener Quincy and the Quincy Senior Olympics, both of which were scheduled, have been posted until further notice.

The city has closed municipal buildings to the public. The city’s parks remain open, but playgrounds and basketball and tennis courts are closed.

Schools throughout the state are closed through May 4 and remote learning began statewide this week. The Quincy School Committee will meet Monday to decide whether April vacation will proceed as scheduled the following week.

The school system is offering grab-and-go meals at eight sites from 11 a.m. to noon on school days: Quincy and North Quincy High Schools and the Atherton Hough, Lincoln-Hancock, Clifford Marshall, Parker, Montclair and Snug Harbor Elementary Schools.

DeCristofaro Chosen As Next Quincy College President

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy College’s board of governors has chosen the longtime leader of the Quincy Public Schools to serve as the college’s next president.

The board on Thursday unanimously voted to begin contract talks with Richard DeCristofaro to make him the new president of the city-owned college. DeCristofaro, age 68, has served as the superintendent of the Quincy Public Schools since 2001 and has worked in the school system since 1974.

Richard DeCristofaro

In a letter to the Quincy Public Schools community Friday, DeCristofaro said he would be leaving the school system for the college in June.

“Quincy Public Schools has been an extraordinary part of my life, first as a student for kindergarten through grade 12 and continuing after college, when I became a teacher,” he wrote.

“It has been an honor to have had a career filled with invaluable life-long relationships with excellent professional and administrative staff, caring parents, as well as supportive mayors and School Committee members. I am so very fortunate to have been part of the Quincy Public Schools in this incredible city.

“We still have much work to do in the next weeks and months and, as always, we will work together and educate and care for our students in the very best way we can.”

The board of governors’ presidential search committee met for nearly an hour Thursday, followed by a meeting of the full board.

The college had advertised for the president’s position throughout the month of March, according to Robert Antonucci, a former president of Fitchburg State University who served as a consultant to Quincy College during the hiring process.

Antonucci said 22 people applied for the job with applicants from as far away as Texas, Utah and California. Among those who applied were the president of a for-profit college in Boston, a senior administrator from North Shore Community College and the president of a state university in New York, though Antonucci said that person has changed jobs every couple years. A Quincy College professor and administrator both applied to be the school’s president as well.

Three others, including DeCristofaro, were nominated for the position; the two other individuals who were nominated were not interested in the position. Antonucci said it is not unusual for a candidate to be nominated for the job of college president and DeCristofaro was treated like any other candidate.

Katherine Craven, the chairwoman of the presidential search committee, recommended the board begin negotiations with DeCristofaro to make him the school’s new president. She noted the college’s current acting president, Daniel Asquino, was set to leave by June 13 and said DeCristofaro is familiar with the city and the college.

“Having someone who comes in and knows Quincy…is a pretty sensible and logical thing,” she said during the committee meeting.

Craven, the former executive director of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, also said she had worked with DeCristofaro during the construction of the new Quincy High School and Central Middle School. DeCristofaro, she added, is also familiar with the Quincy Education Association, the union that represents both Quincy Public Schools teachers and faculty and staff at Quincy College.

Paul Barbadoro, the chairman of the board of governors, said DeCristofaro was both qualified for the position and familiar with the city.

“Rick is eminently qualified…and has all the local knowledge and abilities we are looking for in a president,” he said.

Search committee member Barbara Clarke said DeCristofaro was qualified for the position but said her colleagues should vet other candidates first.

“Rick is very competent, has all the credentials plus the experience in the system,” Clarke said, but questioned whether the process was being rushed.

“We have two more months,” she added later.

Clarke also asked why the board advertised for the president’s job in the first place. Barbadoro said it was unknown until recently if DeCristofaro was interested in the position.

Joseph Shea said the college needs to do a better job of attracting students from Quincy and other nearby communities, something he said DeCristofaro would be able to do. Shea also said it was important to hire someone who could “hit the ground running.”

“We can’t waste any time. We have to get going,” said Shea, a former Quincy city clerk. “Two more months is so valuable. I don’t think we can tarry.”

The vice chairman of the search committee, Christopher Carroll, said DeCristofaro is someone who spends six or seven days a week working in the city’s school system and described him as someone who likes to “roll up his sleeves and get to work.”

“He could be retiring…but he’s looking at this as a challenge,” Carroll said.

The search committee voted 7-0 in favor of recommending DeCristofaro to the full board, with Clarke voting present.

Clarke then joined her colleagues in voting in favor of entering into negotiations with DeCristofaro during the subsequent meeting of the full board, saying it was best to give him the board’s full support.

“The selection of Rick DeCristofaro is a good selection, I believe. He brings a lot of local knowledge and educational experience,” Clarke said. “I support him, but I don’t agree with the process.”

A 1970 graduate of Quincy High School, DeCristofaro earned a bachelor’s degree from North Adams State College (now the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) in 1974; a masters in elementary education from Suffolk University in 1976; a certificate of advanced graduate study from Boston State College (which was later incorporated into the University of Massachusetts Boston) in 1980; a masters in special education from Suffolk in 1983; and a doctorate of education from University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1991.

DeCristofaro began working for the school system in 1974 as a fifth-grade teacher at the former Pollard and Willard Schools, and rose through the ranks until he was named principal of the Snug Harbor Community School in 1987.  DeCristofaro held that post until January 1993, when he was named assistant superintendent. He was named acting school superintendent in July 2001 and the full-time superintendent that November.

Quincy College has been led by a series of acting presidents since Peter Tsaffaras resigned in May 2018. Tsaffaras had been the school’s president since 2011.

Following Tsaffaras’ departure, the board of governors first turned to Mayor Thomas Koch as the school’s interim leader and then tabbed Michael Bellotti to serve as acting president in September 2018; Bellotti left his post as Norfolk County sheriff to join the college. Asquino, who served as the president of Wachusett Community College in Gardner from 1987 to 2017, has served as Quincy College’s acting president since November 2019.