SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

April 30, 2014

Cheers, jeers for recent newsmakers

CHEERS to Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt for opening the search for a new police chief to the public, whose opinion he said “will carry a great deal of weight” in the final selection.

The mayor’s office will hold a City Hall forum on May 6 to hear residents’ thoughts on Peabody’s next chief, who he expects to hire sometime this summer. (Former Salem Chief Robert St. Pierre has been serving in an interim capacity since the retirement of Robert Champagne last fall.)

Bettencourt last year convinced the City Council and the state Legislature to allow Peabody to select the new chief from a wide range of candidates by scuttling the restrictive civil service process, which essentially limits selection to a handful of local candidates.

Removing the chief’s position from civil service is a good idea. So is soliciting the opinion of city residents.

“As we begin the process of selecting Peabody’s next police chief, public input is extremely important to me,” Bettencourt said.

It should be important to residents as well, and we urge them to attend the May 6 forum, which will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Wiggin Auditorium.

JEERS to Danvers officials and businesspeople who seem to have found a way to scuttle plans for a downtown farmers market.

One would think a farmers market would be a no-brainer. Markets are held in communities across the North Shore throughout the summer and fall (and sometimes in winter) and prove to be popular with residents and businesses alike. The Beverly and Salem markets, for example, have enlivened their city’s downtowns.

The Danvers Rotary Club had proposed a downtown market to be held on Wednesday afternoons from June through October. Organizer Bill Nolan was able to get 300 signatures on a petition in support of the idea, and the Danvers Market Facebook page gathered nearly 1,400 “likes.” There was also plenty of interest from local farms and vendors to boot.

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