Methuen Mayor William Manzi takes the Oath of Office as his wife Beth looks on during his inauguration ceremony at Methuen High School yesterday afternoon.

METHUEN — As he was sworn in to his second two-year term, Mayor William Manzi said he wants the city to be a place that all children “are proud to call home.”

“Methuen is a stronger, better city than it was two years ago,” Manzi told a crowd of about 300 people gathered yesterday for the inauguration ceremony. “Not just because of the actions of our municipal government, but because of our residents, our businesses, and a new sense of optimism and purpose that has taken root in every corner of our fair city.”

Shying away from controversial subjects — including the Police Department — Manzi laid out an agenda that continues many of the same themes he pledged to tackle when he first took office in 2006: economic growth, building a new high school, and making City Hall more user-friendly.

“Our work has begun, but it is not even close to finished,” Manzi said. “When I walk into City Hall to begin my second term as your mayor, I do it two years older, but two years wiser as well. ... Together, we have proven how much can be accomplished in two short years. Together, let us do even more in the years that lie ahead.”

Manzi took the oath of office during the ceremony held at Methuen High School. He was sworn in by James Jajuga, a former state senator and a justice of the peace.

Members of the City Council, School Committee, Nevins Library board of trustees and Methuen Housing Authority, and representatives of the Greater Lawrence Technical School board were all sworn into office by City Clerk Christine Touma-Conway.

State Sen. Steven Baddour was the master of ceremonies. Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, a former Worcester mayor, also addressed the crowd.

Running a local government “is not an easy task,” Murray said.

“You have a group that says we want to take on that responsibility,” Murray said of elected officials. “You have a partner in the corner office. We want to give you more tools in the toolbox to help cities and towns do the job.”

Murray said Manzi is “committed to advancing” the city and has been a “tenacious advocate” for Methuen.

“The last two years have not been easy at times,” Baddour said. “Billy has always stepped up and taken on the challenge.”

The event was held at the high school to highlight the need for a new school building, Manzi said. The city was one of 49 communities chosen to receive state money to conduct a feasibility study on a new or renovated building. In the coming weeks, Manzi is to name a building committee to oversee the feasibility study and construction project.

“Our needs are clear: new science labs, an end to the open concept, and a facility that promotes the best in instruction,” Manzi said. “There will be nothing more important for Methuen in the next two years.”

Among the other goals highlighted in Manzi’s address are: the opening this spring of a renovated Riverwalk Park on Osgood Street after it was devastated by flooding in 2006, the promotion of smart growth and responsible economic development through the city’s master plan, and new uses of the city’s Web site to communicate with residents.

“The actions we take today will have a direct impact on whether Methuen will be a cohesive community with an optimistic future or whether it will become a city without an identity, without a plan, or the resources to realize its dreams,” Manzi said. “That’s why my administration has put forward a master plan for the city for the first time in decades.”

Absent from Manzi’s speech — and from the event — was the Police Department. Manzi, who has two lawyers and a fraud audit investigating police grant spending, did not mention the department or Chief Joseph Solomon, who has been on paid administrative leave for three months.

Manzi said Solomon’s stint on paid administrative leave will come to an end within a week, The Eagle-Tribune reported Wednesday.

“I’m sure in a different setting he would have brought up the Police Department,” said new council Chairman Phil Lahey after the speech. “It’s not for the inauguration.”

Acting police Chief Katherine Lavigne and patrolmen union President Joe Aiello were the only police officers in attendance, other than those working details outside. While police in dress blues usually carry flags during the inauguration, this year, only firefighters participated in the ceremony.

Jim and Brenda Limperis, who brought their children to the inauguration, said Manzi addressed many of their top issues. It was the first time they had ever attended an inauguration.

“We’re concerned for the high school,” Jim Limperis said, adding that he hopes his 12-year-old daughter, Emma, will be able to go to a new Methuen High School in two years. “We want to see a new high school. I’m glad they are trying to follow up on something that is needed.”

The Limperises are also concerned about rising taxes and traffic issues, which Manzi did not discuss yesterday.

“The mayor has to be more fiscally responsible,” Limperis said. “He’s got to look at cuts or ways not to continuously increase taxes. He needs to reassure us.”

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