BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
---- — NEWBURYPORT — Gregory D. Earls, who is serving his fifth term as city councilor from Ward 2, has announced that he is running for mayor.
The entry of Earls makes him the third candidate to announce this spring, following declarations of City Councilor Dick Sullivan Jr. and maverick aspirant Keith Kennedy.
Mayor Donna Holaday, who is finishing her second two-year term, has not formally announced but has stated on numerous occasions she plans to run again.
Because the city will be following the guidelines of its new city charter, the mayor’s position in 2014 will be a four-year term paying $98,000 per year, the highest ever. The mayor’s term is currently two years, with a remuneration of $86,000 per year.
Earls, 54, resides at 25 Milk St.. He is a teacher with YouthBuild, a non-profit organization in Lawrence that offers construction courses to at-risk students.
Earls has a lengthy background in the building trades, having been a builder and owner of a contacting firm, Milk Street Builders.
He said he is running on a platform of “community, affordability and stability.”
“One of the biggest issues in the city is the waterfront,” said Earls. “When it comes to the central waterfront, open means open.”
Earls did not elaborate but indicated he opposes a plan to develop two commercial structures on the riverfront that the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority is considering.
Regarding affordability, he said, “We need to keep the city affordable for seniors to live in, and for young families to move to.”
He noted that the city has plans to fund two major school-building projects, and a senior recreation center.
“My background in building will help control costs,” he said. “We need to watch every expenditure very closely.”
On the subject of stability, the councilor said that long-term plans for infrastructure must be created and followed.
“We must have quality streets and sidewalks,” he said. “We need to increase the excellence of our community.”
Earls added that he would like to see the school system add courses and activities that have been dropped due to budget cuts.
On the council, Earls currently serves as chair of the License and Permits Committee and he sits on the General Government and Joint Education committees.
His formal education includes a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture.
He also studied urban planning at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City.