, Salem, MA


December 17, 2013

Letter: Mayor could learn a lesson from Boston colleague

To the editor:

Beverly Mayor-elect Michael Cahill recently attended a training program for new mayors, and I’m sure he gained some insight into the job ahead, despite his great experience in government. It is indeed unfortunate that a similar program is not available to lame-duck mayors on how to gracefully exit public offices.

Over the last few months, the citizens of Beverly have witnessed incident after incident of how not to leave office with class and respect. And despite claims to the contrary by Councilor Wes Slate and your Arizona-based political columnist, Nelson Benton, the voters have reacted not to the Brimbal Avenue mess, but to the numerous attempts by lame-duck Mayor Scanlon to exert his influence on Beverly politics into the next term and beyond.

The list is long: the appointment of a new police chief, the extension of the fire chief’s contract, the appointment of the new school superintendent, who can’t even start till July, the attempts to fill every vacancy on city boards and committees, yes — the Brimbal Avenue project, and the premature contract with the Black Cow, which last week was overturned by the courts. I may have left something out, but the point is clear. These decisions should have been left to the new mayor who will have to live with them.

Michael Cahill has been gracious to a fault and has not questioned the qualifications of the individuals involved. But many voters feel that the mayor has thumbed his nose at the results of the election. Fortunately, the majority on the City Council has finally hit the brakes on the most recent appointments.

If he had simply looked toward Boston, the mayor could have learned from the way Mayor Menino has acted with class and respect in the transition to his successor.

Duane Anderson


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