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November 18, 2013

Joe Giuffrida, 'a Lawrence City Hall legend' dies at 89


In an Eagle-Tribune interview prior to his retirement, Giuffrida said his job was less about numbers and more about helping people in the city. Then, Giuffrida said his success stemmed from advice he was given by the late Mayor John Joseph Buckley at the start of his municipal career.

“He said, ‘Joe, don’t ever worry about looking behind you,’” recalled Giuffrida. “He said, ‘Be honest, be truthful, be fair and you’ll never get in trouble.’”

“Honesty is the best value any person can have. When you are honest, you never have to worry about someone tapping you on the shoulder. Those are words to live by,” Giuffrida said.

Giuffrida later shared the same advice with Alexy Vega, who started working in the assessor’s office in 1994. Vega credits Giuffrida with instilling great professional ethics and personal values in his life.

“Joe was not only my boss for many years, he was a mentor but mainly a father figure. He helped me become the professional I am today and I will forever be grateful for his friendship,” Vega said yesterday.

When he retired, then City Council President Patrick Blanchette described Giuffrida as both a legend in City Hall and the community. Blanchette, now the city’s economic development director, yesterday said Giuffrida “will forever be remembered as a gentleman and a class act ... He was very well respected around the state. I always got a kick out of how some state leaders knew Joe but didn’t know who the current mayor was,” Blanchette said.

Blanchette yesterday informed city workers of Giuffrida’s death in an e-mail entitled “Chairman of the Board.”

“He will forever be missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time,” Blanchette wrote.

Former Mayor Kevin Sullivan, brother of Michael Sullivan, said Giuffrida “without a doubt was the most knowledgeable and most respected assessor in the Commonwealth.”

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