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October 18, 2013

Dave Gravel cites history of public service

Nine candidates are vying for five at-large seats on the Peabody City Council. This is the last in a series of profiles of the candidates.

PEABODY — Dave Gravel has served two terms on the School Committee and three on the City Council, and points to accomplishments during his tenure on both.

While serving on the School Committee, he says, “I was proud of the fact I was active in getting two new schools built (the Brown and Carroll). ... And on the negotiation subcommittee I was able to get all the union contracts settled ... on time and on budget. Nobody else had done that before.”

As a councilor, he voted for the new Higgins Middle School and to establish flood mitigation via upstream retention areas. He had a hand in rewriting city zoning and supporting revitalization efforts downtown. “I’m proud of the investment we’ve made in the downtown,” he says.

Peabody’s relatively low taxes have been maintained despite spending on police and fire, he says. “I’m proud of the fact we’ve been able to keep the taxes low. ... And we’ve kept our bond rates in excellent shape.” The low rates are made possible by managing the city budget, he says, “so every dollar you spend is a valuable dollar.”

“Commercial growth in the city helps,” he notes, citing the improvements downtown and efforts to broaden occupancy at Centennial Park as ways to encourage such growth.

Gravel runs his own company, GraVoc Associates, which advises businesses on how to solve problems, which he believes gives him skills useful in keeping Peabody on balance. After losing a run for state representative this year, he determined to stay on the council.

“I always thought I could help,” he says. “I like working to get the job done. ... I like to contribute.”

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