NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 24, 2013

Two write-in candidates seek District 2 seat

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — Voters in District 2 won’t see any eligible names on the ballot for district councilor, but that doesn’t mean there is no race for the office. (Christian Scorzoni, whose name is on the ballot, is ineligible to run since he has moved out of the district.)

Former City Councilor Mary Chatigny and lifelong Amesbury resident Mary Louise Bartley are running as write-in candidates for the office. In order to win, one of them will not only have to get more votes, they must also get at least 30 percent of the vote.

The following is a look at the two candidates.

MARY CHATIGNY

Age: 58

Years in Amesbury: 27

Family: Husband Bill, sons Nathan, 38, and Matthew, 31, and daughter Allysa, 33

Education: MBA with graduate certificate in human resources management from Southern New Hampshire University

Current employment: Northern Essex Community College: director Human Resources since 1999; staff assistant in Human Resources, 1997-1999

Past employment: Supervisor Compensation & Benefits at the former Essex County Gas Company 1986 to 1995

Political/public service experience: 2008 through 2011, city councilor District 2

Top 3 priorities: Completion of the Lower Millyard renovation; continued strengthening of our schools; continuing to grow our tax base and showcase Amesbury as a great place to live and do business.

Statement: My overall reason for running is to continue the good work over the past eight years of the current mayor and City Council. How we spend our precious tax dollars indicates what we value as a community.

Over the last two decades we renovated our middle and high schools. And currently over 50 percent of our tax dollars go to fund our schools. These renovations and the tax dollars spent to educate our children tell me and those looking to join our community that we value our children’s education and put them first.

While prudently taking care of our short-term budgetary needs, Amesbury is also a community that looks long term. Purchasing Woodsom Farm, renovating the Upper Millyard, a jewel in our downtown crown, upgrading our water treatment plant, and building the Costello Transportation Center, to name a few, speaks to the prudent long-term planning on which Amesbury prides itself.

So it is logical for me to believe we will reap quality of life rewards while at the same time increase our tax base with the completion of the Lower Millyard renovation, including Heritage Park.

My firm belief is if we are to bring tax relief to individual homeowners, we need to increase our tax base. The Lower Millyard renovation is a huge step in that direction. As we wisely invest in our future we again send the message to current and future community members that Amesbury is a great place to live, work and do business.

MARY LOUISE BARTLEY

Age: Declined to say

Years in Amesbury: Lifelong resident

Family: Single career woman

Education: Catherine Laboure School of Nursing and Emmanuel College (Presidential Honors/summa cum laude)

Past Employment: 16 years at St. John’s Hospital (Saints Memorial) in Lowell: Staff nurse, head nurse, established and ran the first Intensive and Coronary Care Unit at the hospital, taught Coronary Care. 36 years at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston: RN physician’s assistant to the chief of Otolaryngology, awarded recognition for the teaching of resident physicians, supervisor of ENT Clinical Staff, clinical coordinator of the Cranial Base Center (with MGH), clinical coordinator of the Facial Nerve Center, compliance officer and member of the Quality Assurance team, contributor to otologic publications, co-author of several published otologic papers, senior RN clinical coordinator of a five-year NIH clinical research study and was responsible for the coordination of clinical coordinators at 15 prestigious medical centers in the U.S. and one in Canada.

Political/public service experience: None

Top 3 priorities: Lower the tax burden on homeowners by exploring all avenues in which to increase the business base; ensure that a split tax rate does not occur; appoint eight citizens of Amesbury and one city councilor (who would be chairperson) to replace the present Finance Committee, which is currently comprised of the same elected officials as the City Council.

Statement: As a taxpayer in Amesbury who has long family history of involvement in the town of Amesbury (My father was a business owner and fire chief who died fighting a fire in Amesbury, my brother was also fire chief and my other brothers were both business owners and firemen, all when the Fire Department was comprised of call firemen), I feel compelled to “throw my hat in the ring” in the hopes of reversing unsustainable course (led by the mayor and City Council) that the citizens of Amesbury are facing.

Amesbury has the highest tax rate of all 34 Essex County communities and the 7th lowest property values. This has to be reversed.

The elderly fear losing their homes and often have to choose doing without essentials in order to pay their taxes; citizens fear losing their homes as many face a cutback from full-time to part-time employment because of the regulations of the Affordable Care Act, which will also increase their health care out-of-pocket contributions.

Few would be interested in buying a home in Amesbury when they learn of the tax rate, the low home values and the status of the school system. Citizens who would like to sell their homes are reluctant to do so as they know that if they did, they would suffer a loss.

The present elected officials have not heeded the will of their constituents. They have forged on with their expensive plans, spending the tax money that we entrusted in their care. Forgetting their moral responsibility to be fiscally responsible.

A total change of elected officials will bring in new ideas, a positive change in attitude, actions that strive for the good of all the citizens of Amesbury and possess the integrity to be fiscally responsible custodians of the hard-earned money of the struggling taxpayers of Amesbury. I would like to be part of the new team and make a difference, one step at a time.