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October 27, 2013

'Nothing for granted': Zanni states case for second term

METHUEN — After three terms as a city councilor and one as mayor, Stephen Zanni is no stranger to the campaign trail. Through it all, he’s worn one pair of dress shoes — his trusty brown-leather tassel loafers.

“I’ve put an awful lot into them,” said Zanni, who visited a cobbler last week. After knocking on 2,500 doors in three months, the mayor said his footwear was in need of a quick sole and heel replacement.

Councilor-at-large Zanni became Mayor Zanni in 2012. In the two years since he won the closest mayoral election in Methuen history, Zanni said voters have come to appreciate his efforts to increase the accessibility and efficiency of city government, as well as his ongoing leadership with the Methuen High School expansion and renovation.

Voters on Nov. 5 will elect either Zanni or Councilor-at-large Jennifer Kannan as their next mayor.

“I’m receiving a lot of support for what I’m trying to do,” said Zanni, 69, a retired teacher and school administrator. “I have to work hard right until Election Day. I take nothing for granted.”

Zanni said most residents believe his effort to privatize the municipal Information Technology department was a “no-brainer.” But despite multiple attempts, Zanni could not get his proposal approved by the City Council.

The mayor said he still believes IT privatization will save taxpayers money and improve the performance of the city’s computer systems, but he has not spoken in detail about plans to bring it up again if he is reelected.

Zanni said his top priority for a second term will be ensuring the Methuen High project is completed on time and on budget next year. Zanni said he got the project back on track after a budget impasse in late 2011 stalled progress.

“Look at what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve tried to accomplish that fell on deaf ears,” said Zanni. “I think that’s more than enough for people to see my direction for the city. At the end of the day, they want leadership and I think I’ve provided that leadership.”

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