By Alan Burke
---- — PEABODY — All but one of the would-be candidates for city offices returned their nomination papers to City Hall by yesterday afternoon.
The lone exception was Neil Papamechail, who had taken out papers seeking the nomination to run for School Committee. That leaves three incumbents, Beverley Griffin Dunne, Tom Rossignol and Jarrod Hochman, seeking the three seats. Each will serve for four years when elected.
Mayor Ted Bettencourt will not have an opponent in November — no one took out papers to challenge him — but at-large city councilors can expect some competition.
Four incumbents, Tom Gould, Anne Manning-Martin, Mike Garabedian and Dave Gravel will mix it up with five challengers. In other words, nine candidates are trying for five seats. Hoping to break onto the board are former state Rep. Tom Walsh; Republican Scott Frasca; library trustee, and formerly an at-large candidate, Margaret Tierney; former mayoral candidate Russ Donovan and first-time candidate Peter Bakula.
Three ward councilors can breathe easy, as they have not drawn opponents, including Ward 1’s Barry Osborne, Ward 2’s Bob Driscoll and Ward 6’s Barry Sinewitz.
Arthur Athas in Ward 2 is the only incumbent ward councilor to draw an opponent, Peter McGinn, a member of the Community Preservation Committee and brother of former councilor John McGinn, who was also the late Mayor Peter Torigian’s campaign manager.
The retirement of Rico Mello in Ward 3 and Dave Gamache in Ward 5 has resulted in several candidates coming forward. Three names will be on the ballot in Ward 3, including former candidate Thomas Serino, former at-large councilor Bill Toomey, and former councilor and mayoral candidate Jim Moutsoulas. In Ward 5, the contest is between neighborhood activist and blogger Bob Croce and Joel Saslaw, who has been active in youth sports.
City councilors serve two-year terms.
Six candidates for library trustee are competing for four seats with six-year terms. They include incumbents Jean Ahearn and Don McAllister, as well as Paul Jordan Misci, Louis Chinappi, Stephanie Najjar and Robert Forti.
Only one person can win a six-year term on the Peabody Municipal Light Commission, and only one returned the necessary signatures, Charles Bonfanti, brother of former Mayor Michael Bonfanti.
Candidates are required to gather 50 signatures in order to get on the ballot, although most try to get more than double that amount lest some names are disqualified.
Staff writer Alan Burke can be reached at email@example.com.