Amesbury welcomes new and familiar faces

Paul Fahey is the new chief of staff for Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove, right, and Alyssa Premo has returned to the mayor’s office as executive assistant.BRYAN EATON/Staff photo

AMESBURY — One new and one familiar face began greeting visitors to the office of the new mayor late last week.

Mayor Kassandra Gove was sworn into office Thursday evening and welcomed her new chief of staff, Paul Fahey, and executive assistant, Alyssa Premo, to the job Friday morning.

Fahey is a Watertown native and worked for the past two years as the chief of staff for Methuen Mayor James Jajuga. Fahey also worked for Jajuga when he served as a state senator from 1999 to 2001.

Fahey, 58, got his political start in Watertown, where he served on the School Committee and the Town Council while in his 20s.

"So I have always had an interest in local government, but most of my experience was at the state level," he said. 

The Somerville resident earned a master's degree in public administration from Suffolk University and a bachelor's in political science from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Fahey completed the New England Senior Executives Program at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2002 and spent five years (2002 to 2006) as executive director of the State 911 Department.

"That was a state agency that did a lot of work with local governments," Fahey said. "Obviously, the calls are answered and responded to at the local level. So, it was an interesting mix of state and local."

Fahey also worked as a director of association and governmental affairs for Cassidian Communications Inc. before starting his own consulting group. He recently was approached by a friend who asked if he would like to work for Gove.

"We hit it off and I was very impressed with her and her platform and ideas," Fahey said. "She is very different from Mayor Jajuga in the sense that she is a woman and is new to government. That offers a different perspective on things and I thought it would be interesting to bring this experience to someone with a different life experience."

Fahey will earn approximately $80,000 a year to start. He said he is focused on Gove's vision for the city.

"She ran a positive campaign and wants to focus on communications and transparency, improving education and the economic infrastructure," Fahey said. "We are just starting to talk about what that is going to look like and how to make sure that everyone is on the same page as far as that message."

Fahey added that the Gove administration wants to treat everyone who deals with city government with respect.

"I don't think this is something where there are going to be some massive changes," he said. "It is really kind of implementing that vision and moving forward with some of the initiatives that have already taken place."

Premo served as executive assistant to former Mayor Ken Gray from 2014 to 2017. She said she saved the city some money upon her arrival at work Friday morning.

"I still have the same business cards, so I recycled them and my nameplate," she said.

Premo left the city to work as a lead administrative assistant for People's United Bank but said she was very interested when Gove asked her to return to Amesbury.

"I feel like I never left," Premo said. "I still eat here, I still shop here, I still get my hair done here. I feel like I have been a part of Amesbury all along and I'm very excited to be back. I've missed it."

Premo will start at $53,250 a year and said much of her job is constituent services.

"When people call the mayor, they get me," she said. "When they come into the office, they get me. I love interacting with the public. These residents are my customers. I have been in customer service for over 20 years."

Gove said in a press release that she is pleased to have Fahey and Premo on her team.

"Both of them have solid previous experience in their roles and a commitment to serving the people of Amesbury," she said.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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