NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 30, 2013

For Menino, it's been a productive 20 years

Big Freddy was sitting there grinning when I joined him for our weekly get together.

“You won some place,” I said as I wedged into my side of the booth.

“Life is good,” Freddy said. “Menino’s leaving City Hall which is smart because of his health, and it begins to look like Ed Markey’s not a sure bet for what was Kerry’s Senate seat. This is going to be a very interesting year.”

“You’re happy that Menino’s retiring?” I asked.

“For him? You bet. He’s put heart and soul into this job for 20 years. That’s a working lifetime in any major city. Boston has as many parts and problems as any, and he’s been on top of them all.

“There comes a time when the wear and tear takes over and there’s nothing sadder when somebody past their prime is still trying to do what they’ve been doing,” Freddy said.

“He did very well for Boston,” I said.

“No question,” Freddy said. “It’s not easy in any city. Especially for mayors. There’s no one to pass the buck to, but doing it in and for a capital city as complex as Boston?

“Lots of wear and tear,” I said.

“For mayors almost everywhere,” Freddy said. “Big cities, small ones. Doesn’t matter. Mayors have to live where they work. They’re on the pin all the time.

“It’s not like those we send to Congress. We see them during their campaigns. If they win, it’s off they go and our daily routines taken over unless something happens we need them for, which mostly their staffs deal with.

“Some spend lifetimes with staffs keeping them in touch with their home licks. Kennedy was excellent with that. It freed him up to be as great as he was. Seniority has its benefits in Washington and back home.”

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