BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — Former Beverly City Council President Tim Flaherty said he will not run for mayor, eliminating one of the major potential candidates from a race that has yet to take shape.
Flaherty finished third in the preliminary race in 2011 behind Mayor Bill Scanlon and Mike Cahill. Scanlon went on to beat Cahill in the November election.
“I just don’t think it’s the right time right now for myself and my family,” Flaherty said. “The last time, the timing was right.”
Neither Scanlon nor Cahill have announced their intentions, pushing off their decisions until a later stage than last time. In 2011, both declared their candidacies in February.
“I haven’t made a final decision,” Scanlon said. “I’m still working hard at it.”
Cahill, a former state representative and City Council president who came within 353 votes of Scanlon in 2011, also said he has not decided.
“I continue to seriously consider a run for mayor,” he said.
Another potential candidate, City Council President Paul Guanci, said he will not run if Scanlon does. Guanci said Scanlon should be given time to finish two major projects, a new middle school and the Brimbal Avenue reconstruction project.
“He knows all the players,” Guanci said. “He’s like a pit bull. Once he sets his teeth, he doesn’t let go. The transfer of mayor may be best suited for when these two projects are either shovel-ready or have broken ground.”
Scanlon, 73, has been mayor for 18 years, the most in the city’s history.
Flaherty, 45, who served five terms on the City Council from 1999 to 2008, is now working in inventory control for L. Knife and Sons, a beer distribution company. He serves as a volunteer member of the city’s financial forecasting committee.
After getting knocked out in the preliminary election two years ago, Flaherty endorsed Scanlon in the November election.
He said he would like to run for mayor again, but this year is not the right time.
“I would love the opportunity to do it at some point again,” he said. “It was a great experience.”
Candidates cannot take out nomination papers at City Hall until April 1. U.S. Army veteran Euplio Marciano, who finished last in the 2011 mayoral primary, has said he plans to run again.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.