SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 3, 2014

Storm or not, Beverly City Hall bids Scanlon farewell

BY PAUL LEIGHTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — Mayor Bill Scanlon was dressed more for the occasion outside — a raging snowstorm — than the one going on inside City Hall yesterday.

Wearing snow boots, a sweater and no tie, Scanlon was given a small send-off by City Hall workers on one of his final days in office after 18 years as mayor.

The gathering was originally scheduled for 4:30 p.m. but was moved to noon because of the storm. About 30 people, most of them city employees, attended the farewell in City Council chambers on the third floor.

Scanlon will leave office officially on Monday, when Mike Cahill is sworn in as his successor. In keeping with what has been a low-key send-off for the city’s longest-serving mayor, the farewell reception included cookies, coffee and short remarks by Scanlon.

“The first thing I want to say is thank you,” he said. “You’ve actually managed to make me look good, and that’s not easy. From my perspective everybody’s worked hard, but it’s been fun coming to work. The jobs have gotten done and the city is better off.”

City Solicitor Roy Gelineau, who is leaving his position after 10 years, also spoke.

“People on the outside don’t realize how many dedicated people work in this building and throughout the city,” he said. “I’ve worked in federal government, state government and now here. There’s no other place to get fulfillment like municipal government, because when you do something you see the impact immediately.”

Mary Ellen O’Connor, who works in payroll at the Police Department, was the only other person to speak. She joked about the time she almost ran over Scanlon on Cabot Street.

“It’s been a wonderful 20 years,” she told Scanlon. “It’s been fun.”

Among those in attendance was Jerry Guilebbe, who will retire as the city’s veterans agent later this month. With a new mayor and four new city councilors, Guilebbe said City Hall will be a very different place starting next week.

Guilebbe said he had a “good rapport” with Scanlon.

“He’s always been supportive of veterans,” he said.

Scanlon, who did not seek re-election, told the gathering he’s “not going anywhere” and is going to be “quiet, with the exception of the Brimbal Avenue project.”

The project, which involves reconstruction of the access road from Route 128 and the development of a shopping plaza, hinges on a Feb. 8 referendum vote.

Summing up his 18 years in office, Scanlon said, “It’s thousands of days if you measure it, but it seems to have gone by in a flash.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.