The crowd next indicated its approval for the adoption of a bylaw proposed by the mayor that restricts sex offenders from areas where children play.
“The zones include schools, parks, libraries and other areas where children gather and deserve added protection from sexual predators,” Bettencourt said.
Finally, he was once again interrupted with applause as he noted, “I was proud to host the first annual Peabody Veterans Day Breakfast, which drew well over 300 veterans right here to Wiggin Auditorium.”
The mayor demonstrated his embrace of modern technology by pointing out that he’d introduced paperless billing for city services and Wi-Fi Internet at City Hall. He seeks to streamline government and to that end has already combined the two positions of personnel director for the schools and City Hall into one, held by a single person.
Finally, he pledged to pursue a new master plan for Peabody’s future. “Our last master plan was completed more than a decade ago and no longer reflects the realities of today’s landscape.”
He concluded, “I am energized by the challenges ahead. I am committed to positive change. ... I have always believed that ‘Pride in Peabody’ is more than just a slogan and that it is our community spirit which defines us best.”
Bettencourt began his remarks by saluting some of the elected officials in attendance, they included Congressman John Tierney, newly elected state Sen. Joan Lovely, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, state Rep. Ted Speliotis and newly elected Governor’s Councilor Eileen Duff. He also asked onlookers to keep state Rep. Joyce Spiliotis “and her family in our thoughts.” Spiliotis died in November.
“We’re thrilled to have her husband here today, Dick Jarvis,” the mayor said.
Further, Bettencourt gave credit to former Mayor Michael Bonfanti for getting the Main Street project started.