After serving the city of Beverly for almost 18 years, Mayor Bill Scanlon will not run for another term in office.
Scanlon's decision will end the longest mayoral run in the city's history.
Although Scanlon said he’s always loved the job, it’s the campaigning that has led to his decision not to seek reelection.
“I’ve never really enjoyed the campaigning aspect,” Scanlon said. “I find it somewhat plastic. It’s somewhat unnatural, the behavior you have to exhibit during a campaign.”
First elected in November 1993, Scanlon, 73, has been through 10 contested campaigns and “just thinks that’s enough."
He won nine of those races but lost in 2001 to Thomas Crean. He retook the mayor's office two years later and has served ever since.
According to Ward 2 Councilor Wes Slate, the mayor's decision wasn't an easy one.
"For someone like Bill Scanlon who really doesn’t have trouble making decisions, that’s one of his strengths, this was a real tough one," Slate said. "Based on what he said to people publicly and privately he went back and forth."
Scanlon made the decision not to run for reelection about two weeks ago, but decided to “sit on it for a week” after the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings on April 15.
In regards to his successor, the mayor didn’t wish to comment.
Thus far, resident Rick Marciano is the only person who has taken out nomination papers to run for mayor. He could not be reached for comment.
Those running for mayor in the upcoming election must have 100 certified signatures turned into the city clerk by August 2. The 100 signatures must be gathered from all six wards in the city.
Current City Council President Paul Guanci, who said he wasn’t surprised by Scanlon’s announcement not to run again, had previously expressed an interest in running but has made the decision not to do so.
“It would be a little difficult right now because of my young kids and my business,” Guanci said. “Had the mayor run one more time it would’ve been a little easier for me. It’s definitely something I would like to do some day and there’s a great opportunity for someone who’s prepared and ready to go.”
Guanci added that someone more prepared for the race would be Michael Cahill, who lost a close race to Scanlon in 2011.
Cahill was unavailable to comment.
Regardless of who becomes the mayor’s successor, it’s going to be hard to fill such big shoes, Guanci said.
“I think we took it for granted that he was always going to be there to do the job,” Guanci said. “It wasn’t the money that kept him in the game it was the drive to make Beverly a great place to live. He’s done so much.”
Had the current term been four-years, Scanlon said, he would have happily served the last two years, but he will use the next eight months to focus his time and energy on two key projects: the upgrading of the Brimbal Avenue Interchange and the construction of the new middle schoo. Scanlon expects the new school to be completed in time to open in 2017.
The Brimbal Avenue Interchange upgrade, which will cost an estimated $25.5 million, has the potential to create as many as 7,500 new jobs over a period of up to 10 years, Scanlon said. The upgrade is designed to reduce traffic accidents, create an orderly flow of traffic, and reduce time and fuel costs.
Scanlon said that, following his April 22 announcement that he isn't going to run again, an outpour of messages have come in thanking him for what he has accomplished during his time in office.
“It’s nice when somebody says ‘Thank you’ and I’m happy to have played a part in this,” Scanlon said. “It’s a team game though, it’s not just me. I’ve never really considered myself a politician. It’s been a good ride and I’m pleased that most people say that the city has been better off than it started.”
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