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January 7, 2014

Driscoll to focus on improving schools

(Continued)

McCarthy, who survived a tough election fight against a former councilor, made surprisingly emotional remarks after being named to his second term as council president. He takes over a council with four new members and the first women councilors in more than a year.

Without mentioning last January’s City Council debacle, a seven-hour, 300-ballot deadlock over a council vacancy, an event that came to symbolize the elected body’s dysfunction and polarization and helped fuel sweeping changes in the fall election, McCarthy read an excerpt from an essay by his son about what inspired him to want to major in political science in college.

“Well, it was me,” said McCarthy, drawing a laugh, “and if I tried to read the whole thing, I would probably be in tears by the end. So, I will just read a few paragraphs.”

In his essay, Salem High senior Will McCarthy wrote: “As ward councilor, my dad had to work alongside councilors that he didn’t always agree with, but in order to improve our city, he always tried to compromise and reach common ground to achieve a shared goal.

“He showed me that leaders in our society accomplish more and work more efficiently when they work together.”

The changing face of the City Council was symbolized yesterday by the seating arrangement on the stage of the middle school auditorium. The four new councilors, several of whom rode the wave of change into office, sat side by side — Beth Gerard (Ward 6), Heather Famico (Ward 2), David Eppley (Ward 4), and Elaine Milo (at-large).

Rachel Hunt and Patrick Schultz, the two new members of the School Committee, were sworn in yesterday with the rest of the board.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.

""We must be serious about reform and continue being positive, pressing leaders for our school district." Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll

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