Stoneham Retirement Board

SEPTEMBER 2006 - For a man who has been on the Stoneham
Retirement Board for less than a year, Ron Castignetti
has caused quite a stir.

Castignetti, of Winchester, was appointed Stoneham
Town Accountant last September. He had previously
worked in the private sector. By job title, he became
the ex officio member of the Stoneham Retirement

With the retirement of longtime Board
administrator Elsie Wallace this July and the promotion
of administrative assistant Barbara-Jo Belliveau
to Wallace’s
position this spring, the Board was seeking a new
administrative assistant, a full-time job.

Castignetti, on his own, surveyed
17 similarly sized retirement systems. Based on
his findings he felt that the administrative assistant’s job should
be part-time. Not having the backing of the Board,
he took his case to the press, The Stoneham Independent,
in a lengthy letter “reaching out to members
of the Stoneham Retirement System.”

The full-page letter described how
the Stoneham pension fund could earn millions of
dollars in compound 8% per year interest on the
savings of a part-time job. He said, “Let this costly decision be
guided by an entire membership recommendation, not
just the decision of 3, 4 or 5 members.” He
asked that members call his office to “express
their views” on this important matter.

Board members Elsie Wallace, Jim
McDermott, Jr. and Janice Houghton strongly disagreed
with Castignetti, citing the service that the Board’s
staff provides to the members of the Stoneham Retirement
System, especially its availability to retirees
and survivors who have numerous questions and problems.

Wallace, although retired, continues
her role as an elected member of the Board. “As the Board’s
former administrator, I can’t speak for other
boards, but I know firsthand from the amount of counseling
we provide to members, in addition to other duties,
we need a two-person, full-time staff,” she