EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 1, 2013

Fiorentini: Running the city

HAVERHILL — In the late afternoon and early evening, James Fiorentini canvasses the city on foot, knocking on doors and meeting voters as he steers toward a potential Haverhill record sixth consecutive term as the city’s mayor.

Yesterday, he said he visited several homes in Bradford and attended two Halloween parties and a coffee hour at senior housing developments. He also has been staking out grocery stories and shopping plazas, asking voters for their support, he said.

During the day, Fiorentini runs city government — overseeing departments and buildings, mediating labor disputes and developing any number of projects and reforms aimed at cutting costs, generating revenue and delivering better services to residents.

Fiorentini, 66, a lawyer and former city councilor, will face off in Tuesday’s election against late-entry candidate Tyler Kimball, a city firefighter who also runs a large and well-known family farm in Haverhill. Kimball’s name will not appear on the ballot. He is running a write-in campaign.

With only a few days until the election, it’s hard to distinguish Fiorentini’s off-hours campaign from his day job. A letter the mayor put out to city councilors this week, for instance, reads like a campaign brochure, touting a number of recent accomplishments and projects in the works.

They include efforts to privatize the city’s payroll, information technology and custodial operations, and to renovate and upgrade City Hall and the Citizens Center. The letter also includes an update on city finances.

“As I’m certain you notice, the long-awaited repairs to the Citizens Center have started,” Fiorentini wrote to councilors.

The project includes repairing the building’s dilapidated “outer shell,” the mayor said. Haverhill borrowed $637,000 for the work and the federal government is pitching in another $237,000 for the project, which includes new siding, windows and doors.

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