By Keith Eddings
---- — LAWRENCE — As much as balancing budgets and keeping the streets safe, snowstorms are the stuff on which New England mayors build their legacies. Those who can’t keep the roads clear typically serve one term. Those who can keep the traffic flowing become legends.
Mayor-elect Daniel Rivera began building his legacy yesterday afternoon, two days before he is to be sworn in, when he met with the city’s public works, fire and police chiefs to begin planning a response to a storm that is expected to drop up to a foot of snow on the city on Thursday and Friday. Chris Merlino, the director of facilities for Lawrence Public Schools, also attended the meeting, which was held at Rivera’s transition headquarters at Everett Mills on Union Street.
When the meeting ended, Rivera announced the first executive decision of his new administration: Friday’s inaugural ceremony will be moved from outside City Hall to the auditorium at the North Common Education Complex — formerly Lawrence High School — 183 Haverhill St.
Rivera said no other changes are planned for the weekend-long inaugural celebration, including a gala at the Elks Club, 652 Andover St, at 7 p.m. Friday (tickets are $50 and can be purchased at www.lawrenceinauguralgala2014.eventbrite.com ).
In a prepared statement, Rivera also urged residents to “shovel the walk-ways in front of their homes and observe the city parking ban,” which will be in full effect (for more information on the ban, visit http://www.cityoflawrence.com/emergency-winter-parking-ban.asp).
“He wanted to be briefed on how we run our operations, if we plan on ticketing, towing, etc.,” Acting Public Works Director John Isensee said about his meeting with the mayor-elect. “He asked how many pieces of equipment we’re putting out there (80), what kind of materials we’re using (magnesium as a pretreatment, followed by a mix of sand and salt), how many people we’ll have (close to 100).”
Asked for a first impression about how incoming Mayor Rivera differs in leadership style from outgoing Mayor William Lantigua, Isensee responded, “He smiles.”