Ballantyne reelected as president of Somerville Board of Aldermen as city focuses on 2019 goals

Three sharp gavel taps commenced the 2019 organizational meeting of Somerville’s Board of Alderman and School Committee.

The house was packed, standing room only in the back, with residents, activists, and engaged citizens crowded the Aldermanic Chambers Monday, Jan. 7.

“This is the last ever organizational meeting of the Somerville Board of Alderman,” said Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang to applause and laughter, referencing the recent change to the Somerville City Charter to have a Somerville “City Council” instead of a “Board of Alderman.”


Board of Alderman and School Committee business

Board of Alderman President Katjana Ballantyne made history as the first woman to serve as president for two consecutive terms.

“I brag about Somerville to all of my friends and family that don’t live here,” she said in her address. “I chose Somerville to be my home because of the wonderful people who live here.”

Ballantyne spoke about many 2019 goals, particularly around commercial development, affordable housing, and efforts to prevent climate change.

“Unlike a certain prominent politician, I do believe in climate change, I do believe in science,” she said to thunderous applause. “But there is much more to be done.”

Board of Alderman Vice-President Matt McLaughlin was also unanimously reelected as vice-president.

School Committee Chair Carrie Normand and Vice-Chair Emily Ackman were both reelected to their roles for 2019.

Normand highlighted various accomplishments of 2018 and the goals set for 2019, notably increasing equity in education and improvements in online registration.

“We are embarking on a three-year equity process,” she said in her address. “We will be asking ourselves again and again if we’re making progress.”