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Methuen Mayor Bill Manzi's
Inaugural Address

Let me begin by thanking the people who worked so hard to make this great event possible. Methuen’s Inaugural Committee, chaired by Lee- Ann Condon, deserves our thanks for the hard work they did to put this event together.

My thanks to Dr. Littlefield and the School Department for all of their help on today’s event.

I am delighted to have the participation of Firefighter Jim Garrity, as well as the North Shore Theatre Group and the Methuen High School Band. Thank you for your beautiful musical contributions.

Thank you Congressman Meehan for your participation and kind words. We in the City of Methuen appreciate your hard work on our behalf. I look forward to forging an even stronger partnership with you to produce great results for Methuen. Marty has been a great friend to me but more importantly, a great friend for Methuen. 

In Senator Steven Baddour we have a State Senator who truly embodies what it means to be a public official.  Steve you have always put this community first. No matter what the issue, small or large, we can always count on you to fight for us. Your rise in the Senate has been remarkable and I value your friendship greatly.  I look forward to working with you.

We are fortunate to have had Arthur Broadhurst serving us on Beacon Hill for more than a decade now. Arthur, your style is quiet and behind the scenes, but your impact on Methuen has been loud and real. You will soon move on to bigger and better things, but let me just say to you Arthur, on behalf of the people of Methuen, Thank you!

And of course Jim Jajuga. Senator your contributions to Methuen have been extraordinary, and your commitment to us unwavering. I am honored by your presence and I thank you for your help. Despite my long friendship with you your request for speaking time tonight has been denied.

I also want to thank the members of the Methuen City Council, the School Committee, the Library Trustees and the Vocational Board members, for their willingness to give themselves to public service. The City is grateful for your participation and willingness to serve.

Throughout this campaign, the overriding principle was always, “Government works best when it works together.” Now that the campaign is over, and the politics have subsided, it is time to govern, and prove that government does work best when it works together. 

Governing can only be accomplished through open lines of communication, teamwork, mutual respect, understanding and above all else - compromise.

Together with my elected colleagues, I welcome all of you, and all of the residents of our city, to join with us in governing.

We welcome you not only to join us tonight, but into the future as well.  For it is you, the people of Methuen, who can, who will, who must, make your voices heard in order that we, the elected stewards of your government, can be successful in making Methuen the best city it can be.

I challenge everyone to get involved. It is not enough to care about only the issues of the day, or even the issues that affect you directly. Methuen’s great strength lies within its people and our sense of community and volunteerism.

Here today, I offer each of you an open invitation to assist me in leading our city, the city that I love. As I look out upon this audience I see all of the things that make Methuen great. I see police and firemen. I see mothers and fathers. I see students and teachers. I see public and private sectors workers alike.

All of you make up the fabric of our great city. Our city. We will take it into the future and continue to make it the best place to live in America!

Together we can achieve great things. Together, we can unite as one to ensure that our future, Methuen’s future, is bright. And make no mistake, that future is very bright!

There are many things we need to do to guarantee that future, and to remain on course for success. I have established a team of highly qualified and experienced members of our community, all of whom specialize in their fields of expertise, to help me devise a plan for Methuen’s future. When I walk into City Hall tomorrow, we will begin the work at hand; the work of creating a brighter future for all.

As I campaigned last year, I had the opportunity to speak with and hear from so many wonderful people throughout the city. Over the course of those conversations many citizens took the opportunity to address the issue of development in Methuen, and how that development has impacted their quality of life.

Many of our citizens have been frustrated by the use of the State’s Chapter 40B by developers, circumventing Methuen’s zoning regulations.

As a result, I will ask the City Council to assist me in the creation of a comprehensive Master Plan, with the goal of being proactive rather than reactive in the area of land use and zoning. We can and we will meet our housing obligations under Chapter 40B, but we will do so through a planning process designed by Methuen!

We all know that increased Economic Development is vital to our future. Accordingly, I will submit to the City Council a re-organization of Methuen’s Economic and Community Development Department, with the goal of business expansion and retention, job creation, and an expanded tax base. Nothing we do will have a greater impact in keeping Methuen affordable to those who live here and attractive to those want to join us here.

A strong and vibrant Economic and Community Development Department will keep Methuen moving forward and help make Methuen the epicenter of the Merrimack Valley.

I know that interaction with government at times can be inconvenient, confusing, and frustrating for our citizens.  Understanding that, we will employ Information Technology to make government easier to understand and utilize for our citizens.

The City’s website will be overhauled with an eye towards allowing greater and more convenient interaction between government and citizen. 

Information technology is yet another way to bring government closer to the public, and make us more accessible. I will appoint a group of citizens to develop ways to reduce red tape and antiquated regulations. Working with our City Council we can make the changes necessary to make Methuen more user friendly for business and citizen alike.

We must also remain attentive towards the main duty of our community. As leaders and parents we must never waver in our quest to provide the best possible opportunities to cultivate our greatest natural resource - our children.

President John F. Kennedy once said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.” His words still ring true today. 

We are charged with a mandate to provide accessible, quality education for the children of our city, but in today’s highly competitive world, that mandate falls short. We must provide more than simply a quality education, we must strive to provide the best possible instruction we can, to shape and nurture the children of our community. 

We must arm them with the skills they will need, not only to compete here in America, but also to compete in the quickly evolving global economy.

Take a look around you at this wonderful school we are in today. I’m sure many of you remember what this building used to look like, and now look at how remarkable a transformation it has undergone. I’m proud to say that my own children attend classes here at the Tenney School.

This City has created a great educational environment for our K-8 students by building three new schools. We must however address and fix the structural problems that exist at our High School.     Working with our State delegation, the School Committee and the City Council, I will convene an executive group to ascertain what immediate steps need to be taken to move us towards this goal. We will outline a timetable for this project, create a process, and then move it forward. I am committed to educational excellence at Methuen High School. 

As proud as I am about this beautiful facility, I recognize that it is the teachers that are the backbone of our educational system. As a parent I have seen first hand how positively our teachers impact our children, and I have a deep appreciation for their dedication.  Please join with me in offering  a round of applause for our teachers!

While we attend to the children of Methuen, we cannot, nor will we ever, abandon the elderly citizens who have come before us. To you I offer my solemn promise to always value your experience and guidance, for it can only help to make Methuen a better place.

Robert Frost said, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”

As we celebrate the inaugural of newly elected officials let us also never forget the veterans who have been responsible for lighting the path we now travel.

The freedoms that we sometimes take for granted have been paid for with the blood and glory of our veterans. Join me in saluting those who have served, especially those brave men and women fighting for our freedom overseas today.

As I stand here before you I am truly amazed at the wondrous opportunity you, the people of Methuen, have presented to me, and for that I sincerely thank you. To serve as your Mayor has been my dream and it will be my honor. I pledge to you that government works best when it works together will be more than a just a slogan. Please reach out to me and take part in our government.

Together there is nothing we cannot accomplish. Together, we will make the City of Methuen, the city that we love, the best place it can be to live, work and raise a family.

Thank you all.

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The January, 2006 Edition of the Valley Patriot
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