Photo courtesy of Fitzgerald campaignOn the verge of retiring as Peabody’s mayor, Michael J. Bonfanti endorsed his former chief of staff, Sean Fitzgerald, to be his successor.
“The Bonfanti administration has been effective on many levels [and is] never afraid to take on the tough issues, while keeping a keen focus of the City’s bottom line,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “Mayor Bonfanti has served Peabody tirelessly and honorably. I have tremendous respect for Mayor Bonfanti personally and as a leader. I am proud and humbled to have earned Mayor Bonfanti’s confidence and support.”
Bonfanti is retiring after serving five terms as mayor of Peabody.
Fitzgerald, the Plaistow, N.H., Town Manager, is running against Ted Bettencourt, an attorney who is currently serving his fourth term as a councilor-at-large and was previously council president in 2005. Bettencourt could not be reached for comment.
Bonfanti was first introduced to Fitzgerald by former Mayor Peter A. Torigian. Fitzgerald was his chief of staff from 2001 to 2008 when he left to take the Plaistow post.
“Based on Pete Torigian’s recommendation and also on my working with Sean, I asked Sean to be part of my administration,” the Bonfanti said in a statement and on a video segment posted to the Fitzgerald campaign web site, PeabodyMayor.com. “Sean always had input in all the major decisions.”
Bonfanti said Fitzgerald was instrumental in making flood mitigation one of the top agenda items for the city along with the renovation of Peabody Veteran’s Memorial High School.
“Sean puts the needs of the city first, he loves the process, he believes in democracy,” Bonfanti said. “He talks about the City of Peabody like it is heaven on earth and he means that sincerely. … Sean has what it takes to be a mayor, especially the mayor of the hometown where he lives, grew up and where his heart is.
“We need to have leaders who are decisive, leaders who have competency and leaders who care my experience working with Sean Fitzgerald, a man who has compassion, a man who has competency, a man who cares - shows me that he is the type of person that we want to lead our community and I have faith in the fact that the public will look at the credentials and act accordingly.”
Two debates have been scheduled between the candidates vying to become Peabody's next mayor.
Fitzgerald and Bettencourt will debate on Oct. 4 at the Higgins Middle School at 7 p.m. and on Oct. 6 at 7:30 a.m. at Holy Ghost Society Cultural Center on Howley Street.
Justin A. Rice can be reached at email@example.com.