LAWRENCE - An aide cracks open the door to Mayor Daniel Rivera’s corner office at City Hall, interrupting his meeting with state probation officials and acting city Police Chief James Fitzpatrick, and motions him to the hall outside.
The mayor steps out. After a moment, he reopens the door and calls Fitzpatrick out of the meeting.
The aide, Kate Reilly, tells the two that police had just interrupted what they thought was a home invasion by an armed man beside the Rollins School on Howard Street, prompting a lockdown at the school. Three other schools in the area also were locking down, mindful of the slashing rampage at a Pennsylvania school two days earlier by a 16-year-old who stabbed 22 people.
This time, the drama ends quickly and without injuries, although police shot and killed a dog at the home. Police arrested a man with a gun in front of the school, the lockdowns were lifted and Rivera returned to the meeting.
The event was a 10-minute blip in Rivera’s workday yesterday, his 100th as mayor. Like most of the 99 before it, the day included a dose of crisis management and a sharp focus on issues of public safety, education and re-crafting the battered image of a city that in recent years became known for official corruption, violent crime and a mayor – defeated by Rivera in November - with an alienating leadership style whose former chief of staff was sent to jail for 18 months last week. Former Mayor William Lantigua’s deputy police chief goes on trial on other corruption charges next month.
Rivera emphasized the need to rebuild the city’s reputation in another mid-morning meeting in his office yesterday, when he hosted a group of eight juniors from the Greater Lawrence Technical School who were touring City Hall as part of a lesson in civics.