, Salem, MA

June 28, 2013

No-show city councilors kill meeting in Peabody

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — For the first time in recent memory, last night’s City Council meeting was adjourned because more than half of the councilors failed to show up.

A disgruntled crew of attending members waited from 7:30 to 8 p.m. — at the suggestion of City Clerk Tim Spanos — hoping that one of the absent six members would arrive to make a quorum. Some of those present speculated that a light agenda may have had something to do with so many playing hooky at the same time.

AWOL were three who have already signaled their intentions to retire, including at-large Councilor Jim Liacos and ward councilors Rico Mello and Dave Gamache. Also among the missing were ward councilors Barry Osborne, Barry Sinewitz and Arthur Athas.

At-large Councilor Dave Gravel, nodding to at-large colleagues Anne Manning Martin, Mike Garabedian and council President Tom Gould, hailed the fact that the at-large contingent was well represented. For his part, Gould spent close to half an hour trying to reach the missing men via cellphone. He had no luck.

Ward Councilor Bob Driscoll, who took his seat in 1988, making him the longest-serving member, noted that he could not remember a single regular council meeting in his experience that had been canceled out of a failure to produce a quorum.

Spanos agreed, “I don’t ever remember there not being a quorum.”

“There’s no such thing as an excuse for this,” Driscoll said.

“I’m disgusted,” Manning Martin said.

Gravel likewise made no secret of the fact that his colleagues’ failure to show up had soured his mood.

Earlier, Manning Martin held a Legal Affairs subcommittee meeting to discuss the city’s need to take land on Howley Street in order for bridge work to be done by the state. The issue would have been discussed further had the regular meeting taken place.

Staff writer Alan Burke can be reached at