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Merrimack Valley

October 12, 2013

Zanni roasted at annual fundraiser

METHUEN — Of all the barbs traded yesterday at Mayor Stephen Zanni’s annual political roast — and there were many — the mayor’s lack of computer skills proved to be a popular theme.

That’s to be expected when the master of ceremonies also works in the municipal Information Technology department, which Zanni repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to privatize during his first term as mayor.

“It’s strange that Zanni would try to outsource the IT department considering that he knows nothing about computers,” said emcee John Molori. “Giving Steve Zanni a computer is like giving Stevie Wonder an Etch A Sketch! He thinks a hard drive is taking I-93 North on Friday afternoon.”

Molori roasted Zanni in front of a full house yesterday at the Sons of Italy on Merrimack Street. One of three IT employees at City Hall, Molori did give the Zanni administration credit for using social media.

“Or — given Steve’s electric personality — antisocial media,” said Molori. “And he’s Italian, so he does have a page on Shut Uppa Your Face-book.”

This is Zanni’s second consecutive Columbus Day weekend roast. He is seeking re-election and will face City Councilor-at-large Jennifer Kannan in the Nov. 5 municipal election.

Zanni told the crowd that all proceeds from yesterday’s event will be donated to the American Cancer Society in honor of breast cancer awareness month.

In past years, former Mayor William Manzi hosted an annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon. Zanni joked yesterday that he switched the tradition to recognize Italian-born explorer Christopher Columbus, in part, because slow-simmering marinara sauce is much more pleasant than the smell of boiling cabbage.

In an attempt to rally the Irish in the crowd, state Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, D-Methuen, jokingly dismissed Zanni’s roast as “St. Patrick’s Hijack Day.” But Campbell, who at previous roasts has broken into song, did not escape criticism.

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