Curry Chooses Assistant In Attempt to Retain Job
CITY MANAGER FEUD
Cambridge City Manager John J. Curry '19 has appointed a top-level assistant and heir apparent to the City's top administrative post. Many observers viewed be move as an attempt to disrupt a drive to out the 67-year-old manager from office.
Curry named Frank R. Saia '58 as assistant City Manager. In a telephone interview last night, Saia said that Curry had assured him "'Frank, you're the only guy I want to turn the reins over to.'" And Saia declared that be comes to Cambridge with the understanding that "I will be City Manager when Curry steps down" in two years.
Curry yesterday said that he was "very, very confident" of being re-elected manager by the City Council, despite the fact that a rival candidate, Joseph A. DcGuglielmo '29 is reliably reported to have five of the nine councillors in his camp.
The Saia appointment, said some observers, is an attempt to shake one of those votes--that of Mrs. Cornolia B. Wheeler--from DeGuglielmo.
Her dissatisfaction with Curry's refusal--until Wednesday, at least--to appoint as assistant is reported to be one of the main reasons she has pledged to DeGuglielmo.
Curry said that he had always intended to appoint as assistant once the Wellington-Harrington urban renewal project in East Cambridge had been approved by the Council. That approval came Dec. 27, and Curry said that this was the first chance to appoint Saia.
But although Curry and Saia had discussed the position as early as 1964, Saia was only offered the job Wednesday, the day that his appointment was announced in a hastily-called press conference at City Hall.
On Wednesday, Saia was telephoned by both Curry and Edward A. Crane '35 the outgoing mayor and the current manager's staunchest ally in the dispute.
All the votes pledged to DeGuglielmo seemed secure last night, though it is thought that the Saia appointment will increase pressure on Mrs. Wheeler and intensity a division within the Cambridge Civic Association. Two of the four CCA endorsed Councillors, Crane and Thomas H.D. Mahoney, are backing Curry; the other two, Mrs. Wheeler and Thomas Coates, support DeGugilelmo.
The Council will not be able to select a City Manager until it agrees on a new mayor. The balloting for this office was deadlocked last week and voting will resume Monday