Given the enormous conflicts and controversies that have gone on in Methuen over the last two years, you might think that the people of Methuen have had enough. But a quick look at the number of people running for city offices this year shows that they really haven’t, and that’s tragic.
The City of Methuen is going into state receivership (no matter what they call it) because of financial mismanagement and the inability of Methuen leaders to… well … lead.
In the last two years, city taxpayers have had to deal with an epidemic in crime and corruption.
There was the Sweetheart Inn controversy, the police contract scandal, missing money, councilors who can’t get accurate budget numbers, a mayor who voted on his own son’s contract, a superintendent of schools who faked her state certification, a school committee that allowed her to retire with a full pension – no questions asked – a $4M school budget shortfall, multiple lawsuits, conflicts of interest, and secret, backroom deals by elected officials.
Yet, with all this going on, where is the outcry from Methuen voters demanding change?
Where is the flood of new blood demanding new leadership and a different direction for the city they live in?
This sends a very dangerous message to the political insiders that backroom deals and political corruption is acceptable and will surely lead to more going forward. Politicians are keenly aware of the apathy among their citizens, and they count on that apathy when they are selling jobs and engaging in wrongdoing. They know that no matter what they do – at the end of the day – the voters will shrug it off and let them maintain their political power. That is very dangerous for our democracy, leads to lower quality of city services and higher taxes for everyone.
HOW BAD IS IT?
As of right now there are only three candidates running for mayor, four candidates running for three seats in the council at- large race, two city councilors are actually running unopposed in the East End (staggering), three candidates running for two seats in the West End, and five candidates running for six seats on the school committee.
And that’s if everyone who took out nomination papers turns them in and qualifies to get on the ballot.
Methuen has a population of approximately 47,000 people and only 4 people expressed an interest in running for 6 seats on the school committee?
Only four people are running for three seats in the city council at large (city wide) race?
Two councilors running unopposed in the East end?
What a disgrace.
If the past two years of national embarrassment and obvious corruption isn’t enough to motivate the people of Methuen to get involved in large numbers to take control of their city government by running for office, nothing will – and – nothing will ever change.
This is the year the people of Methuen should be most active, given that so much is at stake for the future of the city. Over-development, crumbling infrastructure, an increase in violent crime, a school system reeling from the Scannel situation, a police department under fire by the press and the public, budget deficits, unexplained city expenses, what is it going to take?
Shame on the people of Methuen for not getting involved and taking back your city government.
I get that it’s a thankless job for little or no money.
I get that the insiders make it dirty, and personal, and you have to make sacrifices just to run a campaign. But, if people do not step up and serve their community in time of crisis like this, things are only going to get worse. The political insiders will continue calling the shots. The city will continue to degrade both physically and sociologically.
At this pace the City of Methuen will be in full state receivership (control) in under three years.
Congratulations Methuen… you have just become the new Lawrence!
* denotes incumbents
MAYOR (elect 1)
– Jennifer Kannan
– Neil Perry
– Dan Shibilia
COUNCILOR-AT-LARGE (elect 3)
– Stephen Angelo, Jr.
– Sean Dugan
– D.J. Beauregard
– Nicholas DiZoglio
– *Jessica Finocchiaro
CENTRAL DISTRICT (elect 2)
– *Joyce Campagnone
– D.J. Deeb
– *Jimmy McCarty
– Jordan Normandia
EAST DISTRICT COUNCILOR
– *Steve Saba
– *Eunice Zeigler
WEST DISTRICT COUNCILOR
– Jeri-an Batal
– Frank Gallo
– Allison Saffie
– Kerrie Abate
– *Nicholas DiZoglio
– Karen Hallbauer
– *Susan Nicholson
– *Jana Zanni Pesce
GREATER LAWRENCE TECHNICAL SCHOOL COMMITTEE (elect 2)
– Ryan DiZoglio
– Francisco Surillo
– *Michelle Bibeau
– Ryan DiZoglio
NEVINS LIBRARY TRUSTEE
– *Dennis DiZoglio
– *Karen Woekel Jerz ◊