By: Tom Duggan – April 2012
Less than 16% of the Town’s registered voters bothered to go to the polls last month and cast a ballot for Selectman, Town Moderator, School Committee and Housing Authority.
With only 3,053 in town caring to participate in the election, long time political activist Mark DiSalvo defeated political newcomer Dr. Frank MacMillan and finance committee member Attorney Ramsey Bahrawy to secure the Town Moderator’s seat.
DiSalvo garnered more than 50% of the vote with 1,512 votes.
Dr. Frank MacMillan received 1,072 votes (35.5%)
Attorney Ramsey Bahrawy received 430 votes (14.5%).
DiSalvo told the Valley Patriot just minutes after his win that he attributed his win to “hard work and a good sense of the people of North Andover”
The Town Moderator not only presides over town meeting but also appoints people to the various boards and commissions such as the finance committee and the Cable advisory board.
DiSalvo said he plans on appointing qualified people to town boards.
“Now I am going to appoint people exactly as I said all along, people who are competent with reasonable skills with good knowledge and can represent the entire community.”
“The first thing I am going to do as Town Moderator is to become more prepared for the job. I will spend more time preparing for the job to become more intimate with the motion books and the other things that are necessary to prepare the warrant for the June 12th Town Meeting. I will be sitting down with the town clerk in order to review the warrants and the board of selectmen as they come in we will work to create a fair and open and efficient town meeting.”
Asked why he thought the voters chose to elect Mark DiSalvo over him for Town Moderator, Dr. MacMillan said told the Valley Patriot “Well the voters have spoken and I certainly respect people who showed up to vote. As a first time candidate I’m actually pleased at how well I did. I ended up getting about 35% of the vote in town and I split the other 50% with Ramsey. I think we showed that we are a force to be reckoned with but it just wasn’t our time.”
Also claiming victory on Election Day last month were political newcomer Dick Vaillancourt of the North Andover Merchants Association who topped the ticket in that race garnering 2,165 (44.8%) and incumbent Bill Gordon who received 2,008 votes (41.5%), leaving Joe Edward Smith in third with 640 votes (13.2%).
In the school committee race, voters returned incumbent Laurie Burzlaff to the committee with 1,811 votes (41.5%) and elected newcomer Andrew McDevitt with 1,541 votes (44.8%) leaving political activist George Vozeolas the odd man out with 985 votes (22.6%).
Burzlaff ad McDevitt campaigned together throughout the campaign and had the support of the rest of the school committee as well as the teachers union.
George Vozeolas, who was not victorious on election night, said that he believes the majority of the town voters were coming out for the moderator’s race and the fact that Burzlaff and McDevitt were campaigning together “definitely hurt my chances.”
I also should have gotten out a lot sooner to campaign I was really relying on the fact that all I hear in town is how unhappy people are with the school committee and how we needed someone to shake things up. We know that the DiSalvo people and the school committee insiders were helping my two opponents and I was relying on those people to come out and vote. As you can see by the numbers” he concluded “those people just didn’t come out today. I wish them both luck but I am not going away. I think we need someone to force the school committee to stop doing everything behind closed doors. We need someone to force them to release information to the public and even though I didn’t win I will be there to do that.
The least covered race in town on Election Day was the Housing Authority race, which was not much of a race with only one name on the ballot.
Steven Long was the only candidate for housing authority and received 2,271 votes (98.5%).
Newly elected (or re-elected) officials were sworn in the next day at Town Hall by Town Clerk Joyce Bradshaw.
“I am truly honored that the people of North Andover have put their faith in me,” DiSalvo said after being sworn in.