EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 3, 2013

Council split on mayoral endorsements

By Brian Messenger

---- — METHUEN — Some city councilors have already taken sides in the race for mayor. Others intend to stay on the sidelines.

Residents will elect either incumbent Stephen Zanni or councilor-at-large Jennifer Kannan as their next mayor Nov. 5. Of Kannan’s eight council colleagues, four have made endorsements — with Chairman Sean Fountain and Vice Chairman Michael Condon supporting Kannan and Tom Ciulla and Jeanne Pappalardo siding with Zanni.

The remaining four councilors — Jamie Atkinson, Joyce Campagnone, Lisa Ferry and Ron Marsan — don’t plan to make mayoral endorsements, or at least not yet. Residents will also elect a new City Council in November.

“That puts a lot of councilors in a tough spot,” said Kannan. “They have to concentrate on their races. Any endorsements are great to have. I’m still going to work hard and get the endorsement of the people of the city of Methuen.”

Zanni also downplayed the importance of council endorsements.

“I don’t know how far that goes,” said Zanni. “I have to look for what’s best for the city.”

Condon, who along with Pappalardo is not running for re-election, announced his support for Kannan in a video endorsement. The video was posted on YouTube and released last week by Kannan’s election campaign.

“Jen Kannan is a genuine person,” says Condon in the video. “She cares about children. She cares about her community. She cares about her family. ... What’s on Jen’s mind, Jen speaks out. She speaks the truth. She don’t hide behind anything. What Jen stands for is the people.”

Fountain told The Eagle-Tribune this week that he is supporting Kannan.

“I think she’s a great candidate,” said Fountain. “She does a great job and I’ll be more than happy to see her continue to serve the community.”

Pappalardo formally endorsed Zanni in a letter to The Eagle-Tribune this week. The endorsement came as no surprise. In May, Pappalardo said she planned to vote for Zanni if Kannan ended up his only challenger.

Ciulla also endorsed Zanni in May. In the process, he took a swipe at Kannan’s family ties to the city payroll. Kannan has four relatives who work for the police, fire and school departments. Her father is also a retired Methuen fire lieutenant.

“(Zanni) has no ties,” said Ciulla at the time. “He has no family connections, which is important, especially when you’re dealing with the police department, the fire department and the school department.”