, Salem, MA

January 10, 2013

Heard Around Town: A council president as good as Gould

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — It wasn’t enough for some councilors to elect colleague Tom Gould as new president of the City Council. (It’s an honor rotated among the members.) Some voted for Thomas L. Gould, and some even went so far to vote for Thomas Lloyd Gould.

“So it’s out,” Gould said, “my middle name is Lloyd.”

He noted proudly that Lloyd was his father’s name. He got a measure of light revenge when Councilor Mike Garabedian was given, by draw, the prominent first seat to the left of the podium.

It’s often photographed and captured on television. Worse yet, it requires Garabedian to take the first vote on all issues.

“Have to stay awake this year, Mike,” Gould joked.

Garabedian later promised to keep a close eye on Gould, should the owner of Treadwells take ice cream orders during the meeting.

More seriously, Gould pledged to help stabilize the tax rate. “We want to continue to be the place where young families look to buy a house and raise a family.”

How to succeed

in politics

It’s all about numbers. At Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s State of the City address, a whopping 16 front-row chairs were marked “Reserved Bettencourt Family.” No Bettencourt, however, was more enthused than his three small daughters.

And now for something completely different

Those attending the mayor’s State of the City address were likely impressed by the blast from the balcony. The Peabody High School concert band led by Jason Jones began with John Phillip Sousa’s “The Liberty Bell.”

Nobody expects the much-mocked theme for the anarchic British television comedy “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” But the band gave it new life.

Fans can, in turn, give the band a boost toward earning $15,000 by voting for them in the RSS Gift of Music contest. It’s online, where the band uploaded a video of a performance (Google “RSS Gift of Music contest” to find it), and you can go there to watch it and give them a vote.

The band also accompanied the high school chorale, led by Jon Simmons, in a stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Reporting for duty

Sen. John Kerry is expected to take the office of secretary of state. Kerry’s friend and fellow Vietnam vet Mike Schulze is delighted.

“I may go down to see John sworn in,” he says. Kerry is the type of guy who can keep the country out of war, according to Schulze.

Not without principals

The Peabody schools could use a few more principals, including at the high school, Carroll School and South School.

In these days of high unemployment, Superintendent Joe Mastrocola reports that there are 39 applicants for South School and 38 for Carroll School. On the other hand, only 13 applicants have come forward requesting the top job at Peabody High School.

Screening committees are expected to reduce the number of applicants to a handful of finalists in three to five weeks, Mastrocola says. He wants the three principals appointed by March 5 and on the job July 1. The superintendent has the last word on hiring.

Mastrocola downplays the relatively small numbers applying at the high school.

“It’s not unusual,” he says, adding that there are currently a great many high school principal vacancies in the region.