BEVERLY — Nobody served more time in the mayor’s office than Bill Scanlon. So, perhaps it’s fitting that his tenure will be marked by a permanent timepiece on city property.
A 17-foot-tall clock will be installed this week on Beverly Common in honor of Scanlon, who retired in January after a record 18 years as mayor. Friends and former staffers raised nearly $17,000 to purchase the clock, which will be dedicated during a ceremony on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
“I’m pleased,” Scanlon said. “I guess ‘proud’ would be a word you would attach to it.”
Roy Gelineau, who served as city solicitor under Scanlon, said the clock dedication is a way to commemorate his “huge legacy,” including a new high school, renovation of the elementary schools, the transformation of the closed United Shoe into Cummings Center, and improved bond ratings.
“You can’t walk or drive very far in Beverly without seeing a product of his time in office,” Gelineau said.
The idea of a clock actually came from Scanlon himself. When he was asked about a retirement gift, he remembered the street clocks that were often pitched to municipalities at the U.S. Conference of Mayors and other events he attended.
“People asked me what I would like, and I said I really don’t need anything. Then, I said, ‘Gee, if people want to give the city a clock and mention me in doing so, that would be nice.’”
The group of Scanlon friends purchased the clock, called a Howard post clock, from the Electric Time Co. in Medfield for $16,618, all from private donations. Last December, the City Council unanimously approved the installation of the clock on Beverly Common.
The clock will be installed on the side of the common closest to the Beverly Public Library.
Scanlon, 74, said he is enjoying his retirement. He has done some consulting work for small businesses and traveled to Montreal for the college graduation of his niece’s daughter.
As for his time in the mayor’s office, he said, “I miss it some, but less with time.” Asked if he would consider a return to politics, he said, “I don’t think so.”
“We had a good run,” he said. “I think a lot of good things happened. I think we left it better than we found it.”
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.