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October 6, 2012

Zanni to run for second term

(Continued)

He said he would rate Zanni’s performance so far as “a B, like how they rate the Patriots. It’s a passing grade. Nobody gets an A. There’s always room for improvement.”

Attorney Robert LeBlanc, a DiNuccio supporter who said he is dissatisfied with both the mayor and the City Council, is undecided about a run, but is “considering it.”

“The bottom line is if there’s a difference I can make for the citizens and not the political players, I’d probably be in,” he said. “But I’m a long way from making a final decision.”

Since taking office in January, Zanni negotiated with a new contractor for the high school project when cost estimates started to balloon. “That’s on time and it’s on budget,” he said. The council approved Consigli Construction Co. as the new contractor in April after throwing out its contract with Dimeo Construction.

He also immediately pushed for privatization of the city’s information technology department. An outside contractor, RetroFit Technologies, Inc., evaluated the department and made a recommendation to the City Council that the service be provided by an outside company. But when Zanni immediately proposed hiring RetroFit to do the work, the council refused to go along, insisting the job be put out to bid. A vote on the three finalists, including RetroFit, is expected this fall.

Zanni also negotiated and presented eight municipal contracts, all but one of which has been approved. The last one, for the police patrolmen, must win a second vote, but passed with ease on its first vote. He and School Department negotiators are still in talks with the Methuen Education Association for a new contract with the teachers.

Along with the IT issue, Zanni ran into a little trouble when, in spontaneous remarks at a City Council meeting, he said Methuen should be compared to North Andover and Andover instead of Haverhill and Lawrence. Haverhill Mayor Jame Fiorintini took exception to the comment in a letter to Zanni’s office several days later.

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