EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

October 25, 2013

Letter: Zanni got high school back on track

To the editor:

As a member of the Methuen School Building Committee since its inception, I cannot in good conscience allow a recent letter to the editor criticizing Mayor Steve Zanni’s handling of the high school construction project go unanswered. The charges leveled against Mayor Zanni are completely inaccurate, and are made all the more disappointing since they are being leveled by an individual who has never once attended a School Building Committee meeting.

Mayor Zanni has served on the School Building Committee since before he took office. Let me be clear that when Mayor Zanni was sworn into office, the high school construction project had ceased. Yes, former Mayor Bill Manzi did the right thing by removing the former contractor from the site. But that removal happened just one week before Mayor Zanni was sworn into office.

Once sworn in, Mayor Zanni and the School Building Committee were locked in a multi-month legal battle with the removed contractor. By the time this battle was completed, and a new contractor was selected, Mayor Zanni was in his fourth month in office. To suggest that the dispute with our contractor was “solved” before Mayor Zanni took office is indisputably wrong.

The high school project is the result of countless hours of work by so many community volunteers. Former Mayor Bill Manzi absolutely deserves credit, for without him this project would not have started when it did. Mayor Zanni deserves equal credit for his leadership in quickly taking this project at a fragile moment and placing it back on track. To suggest otherwise is dishonest and unfair to those voters who have not had the opportunity to follow this process step by step.

Our city made the right decision to stop construction when we did. To have gone further would have meant millions of dollars more in unnecessary costs. Now, our high school project is back on schedule and budget — and that is what matters to parents, students, teachers and taxpayers.

Bryan Sweet

Methuen

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