BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — BEVERLY — Mayor Bill Scanlon announced this morning that he will not run for re-election, signaling the end of an era in the city's political history.
Scanlon, who was first elected in 1993 and has served longer than any Beverly mayor, said he still loves the job but does not want to go through another campaign.
"It's been a struggle to figure it out, but I've really just decided it's time," Scanlon said in an interview in his office at City Hall this morning. "I really tried to put myself in a campaign mode again and it really just didn't fit."
Scanlon said he made his decision about 10 days ago but held off his announcement due to the Boston Marathon bombings. He gathered his staff at City Hall this morning to inform them of his decision.
Scanlon, who is 73, is serving his ninth two-year term. He will continue in office until the end of his term in December.
Scanlon said he gave "considerable thought" to running again in order to push through two key projects, the construction of a new middle school and the Brimbal Avenue interchange project.
He said he expects the school to be built in time for a 2017 opening, and that he will offer his services on a volunteer basis to help complete the Brimbal Avenue project, which he said could lead to the creation of 7,500 jobs by opening up land to development.
Scanlon, who won a close race over former City Council President Mike Cahill in 2011, said he felt confident that he could win again but did not want to endure an 11th campaign. In a statement, he said he has "never relished the campaign process."
"It's nearly impossible to really campaign hard and do the job," he said.
If his current term were four years, he said, "I would have happily served the last two years."
"I am thankful to all those Beverly citizens who have helped make our city better," Scanlon said in a press release. "Special appreciation goes out to city councilors and School Committee members who have trusted me and supported me. It has truly been a team effort."
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.