METHUEN — A veteran Lawrence police officer is vying for a seat on the Methuen City Council to represent his fellow West District residents.
Mike Simard, 54, is new to the political scene, having never run for elected office in the past.
After several years of political turmoil in Methuen, however, Simard said this is the year to launch a campaign of his own.
"I think everyone knows the city of Methuen has been in a tailspin for several years," Simard said. "People in power are not being held accountable. These are tough times and someone needs to make tough decisions."
Simard has been a Methuen resident for more than 20 years.
For the last several years, he has been a vocal opponent of superior police officers' contracts that nearly instituted massive raises. Under the contract — which has yet to be resolved — captains would have earned an average of $432,295 per year.
A police officer himself for the past 24 years, Simard said "what was presented by police is just outrageous. Even worse, it was approved by the council at the time."
"If elected, I would do a comparison analysis with other police departments that have the same demographics as Methuen, like Haverhill and Amesbury," he said. "I'd try to pay them comparable to what other towns are getting."
Simard also was a local leader for a group of his neighbors, who abut the Sweetheart Inn, and fought for three years against a senior housing development replacing the historic site.
"It was disgusting the way we were treated by certain people," he said. "The community development board got it right. But the city needs to stand by its residents with all issues."
Simard describes himself as "just a working taxpayer and family man."
He is married to a guidance councilor at Greater Lawrence Technical School. Their three children attend Marsh Grammar School.
Before becoming a police officer, Simard served four and a half years of active duty in the Air Force.
He is one of five candidates on the ballot for two open West District seats.