BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — BEVERLY — When Paul Guanci looked out at the sea of faces during the recent public hearing on the Brimbal Avenue project, most of them looked very familiar.
“If there were 600 people there,” he said, “I knew 400 people by name.”
After 12 years on the City Council and more than 20 years operating his downtown sub shop and catering business, Guanci is as well-known as any politician in the city. He has been the leading vote-getter in the at-large race four of the six times he has run, automatically earning the role of council president.
Guanci took a two-year break from office in 2008-09 and said running for re-election — or for mayor, which he has seriously contemplated over the years — is always a tough decision because of family and business commitments.
“When you run your own business it’s 24/7. It never goes away,” he said. “People come to see you, people call you at work. Back in 1999 when I first ran for office that was my big thing, that I was always going to be accessible. I still am. I’m here all the time.”
With Mayor Bill Scanlon not running for re-election, Guanci said he decided to run for council again this year to help with the transition to a new mayor.
“It was a difficult decision because I have been on the council for 12 years, but I think with my experience I can be an asset not only to the city but to the incoming mayor,” he said.
Guanci said the interaction between the City Council and the next mayor, whether it’s Mike Cahill or Wes Slate, will be “very different.”
“Because of Bill Scanlon’s experience and knowledge, I think sometimes the council took things for granted that he was in charge of it and he knew the best,” Guanci said. “I think you’ll find the council more involved and more vocal in the day-to-day activities of the city now.”
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Guanci Address: 54 Cross Lane Age: 48 Employment: Owner/operator of Super Sub Shop and Casual Catering Education: Austin Prep High School Class of 1986; bachelor's degree in business and economics from Saint Anselm College Family: Wife Kristin; children Anna, 18; Noah, 8; and Julia, 6 Previous elective office: City councilor at-large 2000-2007; 2010-2013 Community involvement: Board member of Beverly Main Streets; member of Beverly Historical Society, Friends of Cove Park and Italian Community Center Would you take the city's health insurance?: Yes Favorite pastime: Spending time with my wife and kids; running