EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 2, 2013

Haverhill City Council Challengers


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Here are the seven challengers for the nine available seats in Tuesday's Haverhill City Council election. Below is biographical information about the candidates and their answers to questions involving Haverhill issues.

QUESTIONS

1. Why should people vote for you?

2. What are the two most important issues facing Haverhill? Why?

3. What is your opinion of the current City Council and how it is doing?

4. What is your view of the council's role and, since you want to replace someone, how would you do better?

Melinda Barrett

Age: 50

Address: 12 Salem St.

Occupation: Downtown business owner, Barrett's Specialty Foods

Education: BA Political Science from UMASS Amherst

Family: Daughter of the late Burt J. Barrett and Winnifred M. Barrett

1. As a lifelong resident, with a family legacy in Haverhill business for 96 years, I am aware of the struggles that the city has endured. I look forward to working with citizens and businesses to create new opportunities by employing my understanding of these challenges and mistakes of the past.

2. Economic growth and improvement of city services because this is the way to retain citizens and improve maintenance of public properties. Increasing the commercial tax base is vital to the city's future and the tax burden on home owners can be lessened.

3. The council means well, but a fresh voice is needed. I praise the council for its efforts on business development, and I will continue to be aggressive in this area. The council should've been more vigilant in the redesign of Bradford Square. Maintenance plans for public properties have been lacking.

4. The councilors are the advocates of the citizens and businesses. They are there to protect and serve the needs of the electorate, but also have the forethought to plan wisely for the city's future.

E. Philip Brown

Age: 55

Address: 88 Standish Road

Occupation: History teacher at Haverhill High School

Education: BA Political Science, UMASS/Amherst; MS Applied Management, Lesley University

Family: Wife Chrisi, sons Zachary and Daniel

1. I will use my experience in business, education, politics and community activism to both make a difference and lay a firm foundation for Haverhill's future. My contributions to constructive and strategic budgeting will provide for a more appropriate, efficient, and transparent fiscal management of the city.

2. The two most important issues are: Maintaining our financial solvency while retaining important services, and strengthening our schools. To accomplish this we need to attract more businesses to Haverhill to broaden our tax base, while creating jobs for residents which is part of addressing the socio-economic issues which affect our schools.

3. I believe the current city is spending too much time on less important issues. They need to start addressing some of our long-term budget problems such as Hale Hospital pension costs, capping the Groveland dump, and solving the sewerage overflow problem.

4. The City Council should be a voice for Haverhill's citizens and taxpayers. I am well-suited for this as a life-long resident and career change teacher, I have long been involved in business and community activities. I will bring energy and commitment to a body which needs fresh perspectives and increased passion.

Timothy Connors

Age: 37

Address: 9 Solitaire Drive

Occupation: Lawyer

Education: Bachelor of Science from Springfield College, Juris Doctorate from Massachusetts School of Law

Family: Wife (Jenna), daughter (Riley, 3), son (Parker, 2)

1. I believe my legal education, seven years of experience as a trial lawyer, and two years on the Planning Board, has provided me with the knowledge, and perspective to be an influential voice on the City Council. I will apply my understanding of municipal law and the analytical approach I use in preparing for each trial, to the issues facing the city.

2. Public Safety and education are the two most important areas I will focus on. I will work to increase staffing in these areas, however, we must also be financially and fiscally prudent in all budgetary matters. I will insist upon accountability and will take a preventative role to resolve issues before they become serious problems.

3. The current City Council has done an admirable job laying the groundwork for Haverhill's future leaders. New city councilors will bring fresh ideas and different perspectives to the City Council and this will benefit the city. With a combination of new enthusiastic councilors and some experienced councilors, the council will be better prepared to face the difficult issues that lie ahead.

4. The role of the City Council is to provide the leadership and government necessary to make the City of Haverhill function as the best city in the Commonwealth. I believe I can be a new voice of reason on the council. By listening and respecting those around me, I will keep the lines of communication open. I will bring fresh ideas for change starting with education and public safety, making Haverhill a better place for my family and yours.

David Hall

Age: 76

Address: 73 East Broadway

Occupation: Retired

Education: Criminal Justice (Associate's degree) Northern Essex Community College

1. I'm a lifelong resident, senior citizen, retired Haverhill police sergeant 38+ years, City Council member eight years/four terms, chairman of Public Safety Committee, Brightside volunteer, maintains three city parks, life member of the Haverhill Lodge of Elks, member of the Salvation Army advisory board, member of East Parish Meeting House. As a councilor I will maintain weekly office hours and be available to the public full time.

2. The City of Haverhill is facing a crisis in the building a new middle school. The voters will have to make a very important decision whether to consider a debt incursion, which will have an effect on the tax rate. The second issue facing the city in the future is the Combined Sewer Overflow which is a federally mandated project.

3. The present council has maintained a positive role with no real issues.

4. I will maintain the same tireless effort to service the residents of Haverhill. As a retired citizen, I am available to the public on a full time basis.

Kenneth Quimby Jr.

Age: 53

Address: 48 Goodale St.

Occupation: Personal Care Assistant Education, high school diploma

Family: Mother, brother, sister

1. Because I am a good listener and care people's needs.

2. Hunking School and just keep paying bills.

3. No comment.

4. I can do a better job. Also take care of Haverhill's needs for citizen of Haverhill and bring jobs to Haverhill for the textbase — for the people safety especially fire police.

Lynne Saben

Address: 16 Glen Meadow Road

Occupation: Attorney and part-time adjunct professor at Northern Essex Community College

Education: Suffolk University Law School, Juris Doctorate Degree; Suffolk University Bachelor of Arts Degree, Political Science and minor in Philosophy

Northern Essex Community College, Associate of Arts Degree, Paralegal Studies

Family: Son Thomas Halamoutis

1. I was raised in Haverhill and I raised my son in Haverhill as a single parent. Together, we have struggled financially and for several years, lived in affordable housing until we were able to purchase a home. As a young mother, I worked full-time and went to law school at night. I know that a good life is possible with hard work, dedication and motivation. As a city councilor, I would apply these values in representing the voters.

2. First, the inability of Haverhill to properly maintain our public buildings. Hunking School is the prime example. Serious problems with the school came to light back in 1999, but nothing was ever done. Now, we are forced to build a new school with funds that are simply not available. Second, possible property tax increase to pay for new Hunking. There is no question in my mind that the school needs to be built and my job as a city councilor will be to alleviate as much of the burden that I can on the taxpayer.

3. The current City Council appears to have succumbed to the status quo. The voters of Haverhill are receiving lip service which is the equivalent of no service. The council is scurrying to lure businesses into Haverhill, but they are doing nothing to ensure that jobs for Haverhill residents come with those businesses.

4. When decisions need to be made, they must be based on the overall well-being and best interest of the city as a whole. It is the City Council's job to develop policies, programs, budgets and laws with complete transparency and accountability. I can do better because as a long-term resident and a business owner in the city, I can fully identify with the needs of the people and the businesses.

Fred Simmons

Age: 50

Address: 420 Amesbury Road

Occupation: Custodian, Haverhill public schools

Education: Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School; Northern Essex Community College; Northeast Regional Police Institute

Family: Fiancé Joyce Whipple Gamble

1. I am the voice of working families. Tax and water bills continue rising, but there is no understanding how this impacts residents. As a leader of SEIU 888 since 2003, and previously with AFL-CIO Leather Workers, I see struggling families working to make ends meet and they need an advocate.

2. Residents are not getting their money's worth from City Hall. Unfilled jobs create costly delays. This not only frustrates residents, but actually costs money. Taxpayers face huge cleanup costs at the Old Groveland Landfill, but redevelopment of the area|a solar farm, for example, could make money for the city.

3. Councilors fail to proactively address city issues and only moves from crisis to crisis. Councilors should not wait for the mayor's office to send information. They must spend more time in the city's neighborhoods and better understand the plight of working families. A system of ward councilors is ultimately required.

4. Frankly, most councilors don't work hard enough. Our system of government requires a balance between the executive (mayor) and legislative (council) functions. Councilors are not fulfilling the oversight role. This results in unnecessary and costly emergencies.