NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 6, 2013

Sullivan to challenge Holaday for Newburyport mayor

NEWBURYPORT — Richard E. Sullivan Jr., an at-large city councilor whose father and brother both served as mayor here, yesterday took out papers to run for the mayor’s office himself.

The 56-year-old candidate, known as Dick Sullivan Jr., retired from the city’s fire department two years ago after 32 years of city service.

If Mayor Donna Holaday runs for re-election, as she has said she will, the pair would confront each other in the fall elections — possibly as early as the Sept. 17 preliminary election if more candidates for mayor emerge. The general election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Candidates for mayor, School Committee and City Council have until Aug. 6 to submit nomination papers for the upcoming municipal election.

For the first time in the city’s history, the mayor’s term will be four years and will pay a historic high of $98,000 per year. Currently the mayor serves two-year terms, and the pay is $85,000 per year.

“I think we can do a lot better than we’re doing as a city,” said Sullivan, whose municipal experience includes four years on the School Committee (2001-2005) and leadership positions with the firefighters’ union.

“Our education program needs improvement — we’ve lost courses on languages and science and math students need to be challenged. Plus we are losing top education leaders, including Deidre Farrell who was a crackerjack on the financial side, and (Superintendent) Marc Kerble (who is retiring).”

Sullivan added that many streets and sidewalks are in poor shape, and that water and sewer bills are rising so high that some people are having trouble paying them.

He indicated better management is needed so that long-time residents can afford to live here.

On the subject of development of the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority’s central waterfront land, Sullivan said he has an “open mind.”

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