Say this much for new Medley mayor Roberto Martell: The man keeps his word.
In a time when so many politicians make all of those “promises” during their campaign speeches and suddenly get a quick case of amnesia once they’re elected, Martell still has many “promises” to keep but quickly fulfilled one just days after being elected to office last November.
Walk in the front door of Medley Town Hall on 72nd Avenue and look to the left and you will see receptionist Jennifer Digiacomo. Turn to the right? The desk of mayor Roberto Martell.
“I don’t say anything that I don’t mean, and I meant it,” said Martell, who sat down with the Gazette recently to discuss his first six months at his new post. “I said I was going to make myself available for the people of Medley and that’s what I’ve done. When they walk through that door, there I am for them. No hiding.”
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Another “promise” Martell had made and wasted little time in getting done was the utilization of the enormous three-story Medley Town Hall building that was constructed a few years back. Not only was the price tag a large one during times of economic hardships, but Martell did not feel that all the cubic space was being appropriately used.
And, just like that, the Medley Police Department was moved from the old town hall building on Northwest 74th Street, which it had occupied by itself the past three years back after town officials moved their operation over to the new building.
The Medley PD now occupies the entire third story of the new building and the old building was put up for sale last winter. Last month, the sale went through with next door neighbor Imagina U.S., a Latin broadcasting television network, cutting the town a check for $2.6 million.
“That money will now go into the town’s general fund to be used for many other needed things,” Martell said. “In addition, the town will now save at least $200,000 a year with the police department and town hall being combined. There was simply too much space that was not going to use in this building before and I wanted to make sure every cubic foot in this building is going to good use.”
Other Martell ideas include a specific area for all four council members to go when they come into Town Hall so they will be easily accessible for any visitors.
“As a political body, we are here to serve the people, not the other way around,” said Martell. “If I’m available, I want my fellow council members to be accessible as well.”
Sit down for 15 minutes with Martell, and things are a whirlwind of ideas and comments. The man talks so fast, it’s no wonder that he likes to get things done fast and readily admits that “getting things done five minutes ago” has been his biggest vice since taking office.
“Having run a construction company for so many years, I came from a ‘time is money’ atmosphere and always having to meet deadlines,” said Martell. “That’s just the way I am but that’s the one thing I have had to learn as mayor. Sometimes you have to go at a little slower pace and certainly have to respect the opinions of the other council people. It’s not just about me, it’s about all five of us working together as a group to try and come up with the best solutions to whatever problems we take on.”
Eventually a glass enclosure will go up to give Martell some semblance of privacy so conversations cannot be overheard and the privacy of conversations can be honored, but that will be the extent of the separation.
From now on, or as long as Roberto Martell is in office anyway, when Medley citizens walk in the front door, they’ll know immediately when they look to the right whether the mayor is in or not.