The state Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission was scheduled to hold its regular monthly meeting in Gloucester on Thursday, but that was before Gov. Charlie Baker purged seven of its sitting members and replaced them with new appointees.
Those wholesale changes on the nine-member board, which prompted charges of political tampering from many of the outgoing members, forced the Baker administration to reschedule Thursday’s meeting until later in the month.
Actually, two meetings.
The first, which Baker administration officials describe as an informal orientation meeting to help indoctrinate the new members on the workings of the commission, has been set for June 15 at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters in Westborough.
The second will be the regular monthly business meeting, set for June 28, also at the DFW facility in Westborough. That will be the first time the full board has met for a business meeting since April.
The commission’s May meeting was canceled because of a sparse agenda.
That’s unlikely to be the case when the new appointees, which include Gloucester’s Gus Sanfilippo, get down to business on June 28.
The reverberations within fishing and political circles continue from the expansive recasting of the board, with many members blaming their exodus on their opposition to Fish & Game Commissioner George Peterson’s choice of former NOAA staffer Douglas Christel as his preferred candidate to succeed Paul Diodati as director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries.
That opposition led to the commission electing David Pierce, a longtime DMF assistant director, as the new director.
Vito Calomo, the former Gloucester groundfisherman who served on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission for more than 20 years, said that, given his age and tenure on the board, he wasn’t that surprised at being replaced.
He was surprised, however, at being joined in his departure by six other commission members.
“People haven’t stopped calling me,” Calomo said Tuesday. “I’ve gotten calls from people on the South Shore, people in New Jersey, people on the commission and even political people.”
Unlike several of his fellow commissioners who were shocked and angered at not being re-appointed, Calomo said he knew he was heading down the home stretch — he was last formally re-appointed by Gov. Mitt Romney — and his time on the commission was coming to a close.
“I’m 72 years old and I’ve been there more than 20 years since I replaced Tony Verga,” Calomo said. “I’m now the full-time caregiver to my wife Josephine, who suffers from dementia, and that’s the most important job for me. It was time.”
Calomo said he truly enjoyed his decades on the commission and felt the board the Baker administration largely dismantled — only Bill Adler and Raymond Kane II remain from the previous lineup of commissioners — was efficient and effective in discharging its duties helping to regulate the state’s fisheries.
“It was a very well-rounded board, with people who were very knowledgeable about all kinds of fishing and fishing issues,” he said. “I was predominantly the groundfish guy.”
Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @SeanGDT.