SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 23, 2013

Mayoral foes let up on controversy

(Continued)

Cahill said the Port Marina owners want to build shops and condominiums on their property but need the city’s help instead of the constant legal wrangling.

“Right now, nobody’s winning,” he said.

But Slate said the marina owners’ contentiousness has left the city with no other option but winning its legal battle. The matter is now in the hands of the state Appeals Court.

“The only avenue we have is in the courts,” Slate said.

In response to a question about mayoral appointments, Slate said he would consider giving one-year appointments to the current department heads working under Mayor Bill Scanlon, who is retiring after 18 years in office. Slate said both he and the department heads could then evaluate their working relationship.

Cahill said he would keep some people on but would naturally also want to bring in some of his own.

Asked where they would cut the city’s $106 million budget, both candidates said it was already tight. Slate said he would look to new growth to raise tax revenue. Cahill mentioned saving money through sharing services with other communities, pursuing grants more aggressively and seeking the help of nonprofits in the city.

The mayoral candidates, as well as all of the other candidates who spoke last night, agreed with the need for more transparency in city government. Many cited the recent controversy over the Brimbal Avenue project as an example of where the public should have been kept more informed.

“I believe Mayor Scanlon worked really hard to do what he thought was best for the city, but the public should have been at the table a lot earlier,” Cahill said.

In the Ward 6 City Council debate, incumbent Brett Schetzsle said he was willing to ask tough questions and be an independent voice for Ward 6. He said his opponent, John Frates, “speaks in generalities and focuses on his past.”

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