, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 23, 2013

Newburyport mayoral candidates debate waterfront, city issues


“I am not in favor of condominiums or underground parking, and I don’t want the property to be sold,” said Holaday, who ran on a plank of “open waterfront” when she won four years ago.

“I will work with the NRA to modify the plan and make the NRA aware that it does not have to come up with 100 percent of the financing. We can work with the NRA.”

The waterfront issue came up again when moderators asked the candidates what they might have done differently in recent public action.

Holaday said that she might have been more open about the evolving of her view of the waterfront, so people would know she was changing her assessment of an “open waterfront” after talking to many stakeholders.

She suggested better communication would have provided residents with information that wouldn’t be considered her “flip-flopping” on the issue.

Holaday volunteered a second faux pas: her handling of the removal of playground equipment from the Brown School.

The mayor, who lives several doors down from the South End school, said that her primary motivation was to remove aging, wooden equipment when city officials learned of its unsafe condition.

She said she should have given residents warning of the sudden municipal action.

Sullivan, consistent in his brevity, said he couldn’t think of any mistakes he had made, “though maybe others can,” he joked.

The at-large city councilor said he looks ahead, not behind, and has learned many lessons while serving in local government.

The candidates also addressed the following issues:

Administrative experience

Sullivan said he has been around city government since before his father, Dick Sullivan, was mayor (1978-86). “My style is one of collaboration,” he said. “I will find top people, and work with them to solve the city’s problems.”

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