By: Finocchiaro – October, 2019
Hello Methuen my name is Jessica Finocchiaro.
I’ve been your Methuen City Councilor At Large since 2018, and I’m running for my first reelection.
I grew up in Methuen, and chose to stay because this is my home. I have 2 master’s degrees from Suffolk University in Public Administration and Government. I have 15 years of work experience in the public and private sectors. Before I was a Councilor I served 2 terms representing Methuen on the Greater Lawrence Technical School Committee, most of which I spent as Vice Chair. I also serve on the board of directors for The Psychological Center, the Merrimack Valley Prevention and Substance Abuse Project, and the YWCA of Northeastern Massachusetts.
In 2017 I announced that I was running for City Council at the Degaspe Park on Mystic Street and promised to work hard to fix up the park, you couldn’t even sit on the benches safely. In my first few months in office I brought photos of the park and feedback to the Council and Mayor, and held meetings with residents asking them to come to Council meetings so their voice could be heard. The updates to the park were approved and I’m proud to say now the park is a great place for neighbors to get together, and kids to play.
In 2018, I was deeply troubled to hear that the Methuen Police Superiors Contract didn’t have a 4% increase over 3 years, but instead was estimated to be around 300% increase for some, with salaries headed towards half a million dollars. I put forward a resolution with fellow Councillors that we get an independent certified public accountant to look at the contract numbers, and that we have a nonbinding mediation but unfortunately that didn’t pass, and the matter is still in dispute. I support first responders and all they do. But elected officials in 2017 made a huge financial mistake, and while I wasn’t there at the time, I’m here now, and I’m committed to NOT approving those high raises and bringing this issue to a conclusion so we can move forward, without a huge financial liability for Methuen taxpayers.
As a first time City Councilor I got to work and wrote a resolution that says we MUST have a financial impact statement on how much ANY contract or resolution would cost the City BEFORE we vote, and that resolution was passed!
Later in my first year as a Councilor, it was announced that $4 million was overspent in the school department. So I got to work, diligently going through legislation for the state oversight and two budget cycles with an attentive eye, asked many questions to make sure Methuen was putting it’s best foot forward.
I wasn’t afraid to write two resolutions asking state agencies to deeply investigate Methuen in hopes of getting our house in order sooner so we can move forward. I continue to send any moral and legal concerns to these agencies on a regular basis. I don’t have family voting conflicts, and am able to vote on every department. I believe Methuen’s best days are ahead.
While on the Council since 2018 I’ve served on the Economic and Community Development Subcommittee fighting for small businesses. I’m one of the founding leaders of the Methuen Day Committee, a new downtown festival where thousands of Methuen residents come together for a positive day.
I’ve hosted 15 office hour events at coffee shops and at the senior center to foster resident discussion and transparency. Since elected in 2018 I’ve attended over 400 community events and resolved hundreds of constituent requests personally. In this term, I’ve completed 5 municipal training programs, which helps me to bring new ideas to the Council.
Moving forward, I believe we can do better for our veterans and seniors. If reelected, in my next term I will focus on supporting expanding our commercial tax base, and finding creative ways to generate revenue. I believe we need to modernize City Hall with a 311 system to give residents back their power to make a difference, and hold City Hall accountable in a transparent data-driven way. I will also push to make our budget process more transparent for residents. I’ve shown that I don’t back down and I have the skills and put in the effort to get things done so we can get back on track.
In closing, I promise to keep asking the tough questions, and to STAND UP for you. Transparency, accountability, results, those have been my guiding principles, and I truly believe Methuen has a bright future ahead. November 5th, I hope to have earned one of your three votes, because there’s a lot more work to do.