NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 29, 2013

Bezanson's priorities are transparency, education

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — As part of The Daily News coverage of the upcoming city election, the newspaper is publishing profiles of candidates for office.

Today’s profile is Eric Bezanson, one of the five candidates running for three at-large seats on the City Council.

ERIC BEZANSON

Age: 37

Years in Amesbury: 25

Family: Amie Bezanson, 33, and Ella Bezanson 9, Ayva Bezanson, 7

Education: Graduated from Emmanuel College in Boston with a degree in business management

Current employment: 14 years at Fidelity Investments, where I’m currently an account executive

Political/public service experience: I volunteered for 3 years on the Lakes and Waterways in Amesbury

Top 3 priorities:

1. I would like to ensure transparency and sustainability, for the long term is more closely considered from a finance perspective. Basically, I would not approve a proposed bill without asking detailed questions pertaining to why and how it would benefit Amesbury for the long run, including the true cost/impact to the taxpayers.

2. I strongly believe in education and would support smaller classroom sizes.

3. Currently the mayor does not have a line item in his budget for roads and sidewalks. I support funding of roads and sidewalks, which benefit the whole community.

Statement: I’m not running to represent one or two areas within the community. Instead, I want a better Amesbury. My wife and I grew up here and are graduates of the Amesbury school system. I was the first banking student within Amesbury High School.

My wife is a registered nurse and I’m an account executive, and we are good examples of the benefits of a good education. My goal is to ensure that within five or 10 years people would say Amesbury is a great bedroom community with a very good school system. I will know that I attained that goal when friends, relatives and others in surrounding towns can discuss the allure of Amesbury without adding “but the taxes are just too high.”

This can be accomplished without cutting services, provided we ask very detailed questions before approving any allocation of taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers should not be used as an open checkbook.

One example: In 2010, the current mayor and Municipal Council approved a $2.4 million bond for the fire station/public safety buildings. This expenditure included an elevator to be installed within the fire station that would cost the taxpayers $500,000. After learning of this, I asked the Municipal Council why an elevator would be needed within the fire station. The answer: It was included in the plans and the council approved it. They could not answer my basic question.

Following that council meeting, I contacted the state and asked the same question. The response was, if the cost to repair a municipal building exceeds 30 percent of the value of the property, it has to be brought up to code. I then asked, What is the purpose of an elevator in a fire station if Amesbury does not have a disabled firefighter? The state said that the elevator was not for the workers but rather for the public who need to meet with the fire chief. I noted that Amesbury’s fire station had three empty offices on the first floor.

If we move the chief to the first floor, I asked, is there any paperwork that would need to be filled out that I could provide to the City Council? The state directed me to a website for the appropriate documentation. At the next Municipal Council meeting, I explained who I contacted and what forms needed to be filled out. Two weeks later, this paper revealed that I saved Amesbury $500,000. This is the type of attention to financial detail and common sense that I hope to bring as your councilor.

I am currently the only candidate who works in finance. Given the Municipal Council handles the allocation and approval of all city funds, I believe this would be the true value of my candidacy.