PEABODY — Mayor Edward “Ted” Bettencourt will run for re-election in November.
“I think this has been a successful beginning,” he told The Salem News yesterday, “but there’s a great deal of work yet to be done. ... We’re moving in the right direction, and better days are ahead.”
With his first full year in office behind him, Bettencourt is pointing to accomplishments that include bringing city employees under the state health care program, the Group Insurance Commission, which he predicts will save the city millions of dollars.
He also cited the plan to build a new middle school to replace the aging Higgins building.
“That’s obviously a massive project for the city,” he said, “and I want to be part of it.”
Deciding to run again, he said, was “a very easy decision. ... This is a job I greatly love and an opportunity to move Peabody forward.”
His decision is not a surprise, and at least two veteran political figures expressed doubt that he will face a challenger.
“Other than some gadfly — and I say that respectfully — I don’t think there’ll be anyone challenging him,” City Councilor Jim Liacos said.
“I can’t think of anyone that would do it, as popular as he’s been from day one,” said Mike Schulze, former head of the Democratic City Committee.
When Bettencourt was a councilor-at-large, Schulze noted, he regularly topped the ticket. As mayor, “he’s been just a whirling dervish in that office, nonstop.”
Bettencourt is shepherding the renovation of Main Street in the downtown. In the coming year, he’s hoping to make a similar effort “rebranding” Centennial Park and attracting new businesses.
Having saved money by consolidating the positions of personnel director at City Hall and in the schools, Bettencourt said he might do something similar with a proposed position of facilities and grounds manager.