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Tom Sullivan Endorsed by Eagle Tribune

November 2, 2011

Editorial: Fiorentini earns another term in Haverhill

The Eagle Tribune Wed Nov 02, 2011, 01:47 AM EDT

The next two years will be challenging ones for Haverhill leaders. The city will begin the process of capping the old landfill along the Merrimack River at the Groveland line. The city will have to repair or replace two schools, the Whittier and the Hunking, the latter of which was recently found to be partially unsafe, forcing the move of about 200 students to the old Bartlett School.

Those will be expensive projects, straining the city's budget along with the ever-present Hale debt. It will take solid leadership to balance those budgets with a minimal impact on taxpayers.

Mayor James Fiorentini has earned re-election to take on that challenge. We encourage Haverhill voters at the polls Tuesday to re-elect the mayor to a fifth term.

Fiorentini has a record over his eight years in office of sound leadership, balancing budgets and standing up for taxpayers. He has been a tough negotiator with the city's public employee unions.

Fiorentini has not been a perfect mayor. He should have much earlier taken a strong hand against the city's wayward Fire Department, before lax leadership produced one scandal after another.

We would have liked to see Fiorentini face a strong race this election, the competition serving to refine both the incumbent and the challenger. But Fiorentini's challenger, political newcomer Debra Campanile, has run a nearly invisible campaign.

For City Council, voters will choose a nine-member board from among 15 candidates. All nine incumbents are running for re-election. Among the six challengers, three have formerly served as city councilors.

Among the candidates, we like the following choices:

Michael Hart has served on the council for eight years, six of them as president. Hart is an effective leader on the council whose experience earns him another term. He is generally able to shepherd an often contentious council into consensus.

Colin LePage, the freshman councilor, was a driving force behind the city's single-stream recycling effort, which has confounded skeptics and saved the city money.

Michael McGonagle, a former one-term councilor, says he lost his bid for re-election because he didn't work hard enough. He says he's learned that lesson. Like several other candidates, McGonagle says he's concerned about the impact on taxpayers of a debt exclusion or override to pay for new schools.

Robert Scatamacchia, an eight-term incumbent, brings a wealth of experience and common sense to the council. He opposed the siting of a food waste processing plant off Hilldale Avenue, arguing the plant would make it tougher to develop the industrial park.

David Hall is the council's spark plug, always willing to speak up or challenge the mayor when needed. Sometimes Hall says the wrong things, but he always has something to say. Hall is responsive to citizen requests, making sure that the concerns of ordinary Haverhill residents are heard in City Hall.

Thomas Sullivan, among the first-time challengers for a council seat, has the experience needed to hold his own on the board. Sullivan is a real estate attorney who has served as chief of staff to former state Sen. James Jajuga

Committee to Re-Elect Tom Sullivan
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