EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 30, 2013

Central District: Candidates' Q & A

By Douglas Moser
dmoser@eagletribune.com

---- — About the Central District Candidates

Name: Jamie Atkinson*

Age: 47

Address: 7 Cochrane St.

Occupation: Full Time Central District Councilor

Education: Bachelor's Degree in Speech Comunications. Pursuing my Master's Degree in Business Administration

Personal: Lifelong resident of the Central District, graduate of Methuen High School 1984, chairman of the finance committee, member of the disabilities commission, former member of the Cable Advisory Commission, former member of the MCTV Board, former youth basketball, baseball and soccer coach

 

Why should people vote for you?

My record shows that I'm an independent voice. I have no hidden agenda. I do whatever is in the best interest of the Central District. In my first term I proposed over $350,000 in budget cuts, the most of any councilor. I've proven that I'm a leader.

What's the biggest issue facing your district? Why?

The biggest issue facing the Central District and the city is drug dealing. The city needs to come together with the police department so that we can stop drug dealing in Methuen. Working together we will clean up the city.

What specific aspect of city government will you work to improve?

We need to work on lowering taxes, educating Methuen's kids so that they get the highest level of education possible, taking care of our seniors and making sure that our police and fire departments have the tools to keep the city safe.

Which, if any, city services should be privatized? Why or why not?

We need to look at all services when it comes to privatizing. We need to make sure that privatizing a service saves significant money, improves the level of services and keeps the city safe. Also, we would need to attempt to relocate as any employees as possible that are affected.

How would you rate the current council's performance? How would you improve it?

I would rate the current City Council as average. The residents of Methuen deserve better. The City Council and mayor need to work as one unit. We're all on the same team. It's okay to disagree, but there's no reason to be disagreeable. There needs to be more interaction between the two departments.

 

Name: John A. Cronin

Age: 71

Address: 33 Richard Ave.

Occupation: Methuen businessman for 45 years

Education: Law, numerous business related courses

Personal: Wife Judy, two sons Shaun and Patrick, three granddaughters, one great-grandson

Why should people vote for you?

I have always protected the quality of life for our residents. By spearheading projects such as saving the Tenney land from development, saving the historic front of the Nevins home, securing funds for the renovation of the Nevins library and fighting to purchase the Searles Building for your City Hall.

What's the biggest issue facing your district? Why?

Taxes and public safety have always been an issue for all our residents. We must maintain highly-trained personnel in our police and fire departments to protect all our residents. The D.P.W. has done a great job in providing a clean environment, spurring new business development in that section of the city.

What specific aspect of city government will you work to improve?

The G.L.R.T.S. has always been a good partner, however I believe we can take more advantage of the special talents of their staff and student body.

Which, if any, city services should be privatized? Why or why not?

I am open to any proposal to save money. I would require an independent study proving a substantial cost savings before I would consider a change.

How would you rate the current council performance? How would you improve it?

In the last city election, there were six newly-elected councilors. As expected, with any newly elected official there is a learning curve. As councilors, we, before making any changes in personnel, must have a corrective plan in place to avoid any negative impact to the city.

 

Name: Lisa Yarid Ferry*

Age: 46

Address: 534 Prospect St.

Occupation: Associate, Dewey Square Group, seven years

Education: Associates degree in Liberal Arts from Northern Essex Community College, bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and a master’s degree in public policy from University of Massachusetts Boston, McCormack Institute

Personal: Married to Joshua Ferry – November 7th will be our 4th wedding anniversary

Why should people vote for you?

People should vote for me because they believe that I have followed through with my commitments in my first term as city councilor by always being accessible to my constituents, treating everyone with respect and professionalism, and always voting for what I believe is in the best interest of the city of Methuen.

What's the biggest issue facing your district? Why?

I have heard from people in every corner of my district regarding the high volume of "stop and drop" drug transactions happening in all of our neighborhoods. I, along with members of the police department's drug unit, are trying to engage people to participate in and develop stronger neighborhood watch groups.

What specific aspect of city government will you work to improve?

Communication between the executive and legislative branches needs to be improved. As city officials, we should be privy to a list of all departments, workers' job descriptions, their jurisdiction and responsibilities. We should also be aware of all major projects going on before the contracts are put before us to deliberate.

Which, if any, city services should be privatized? Why or why not?

I am only in favor of privatization when it saves the city resources in tandem with maintaining or improving services. If a contract to privatize any city department came before the City Council that met both of those criteria, I would certainly give that proposal every consideration.

How would you rate the current council's performance? How would you improve it?

Given the fact that the 2012 election brought on a new mayor and six new city councilors, I believe current council has done very well. We have taken our oaths seriously by supporting initiatives such as the meal’s tax, which will have contributed by year's end $1.5 million to Methuen’s stabilization fund, and made the hard choices, such as passing fiscally responsible budgets.

* Denotes incumbent