Ferguson Decides Against Mayoral Run; No City Preliminary Election

Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas tallies the final list of candidates for local office. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill will not have a preliminary election in September as not enough municipal candidates met Tuesday’s deadline for submitting nomination signatures.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini is running unopposed for an eighth term. That determination was assured when firefighter Barry Ferguson decided Tuesday to forego a challenge for City Hall’s corner office. There are 16 candidates for nine City Council seats and five for three School Committee positions. Fiorentini said he will still run a campaign.

“Well I am very, very honored to have been mayor over the past seven terms. I’ll be going for my eighth term. I honestly believe that you can never take people’s support for granted—that support is something that has to be earned. So, I will be running a campaign. I’ll be putting up signs. I’ll be sending out newsletters. I will probably do a mailing at some point and I feel I have to earn people’s support and vote and I’ll be working hard on that.”

Although Ferguson showed WHAV his completed nomination papers, he said last minute talks with his family convinced him to wait.

“With all good intent up until its final hour, I have decided not to run for the office of mayor,” Ferguson said in a statement. “I find myself ill-prepared with little time to learn the true value of the position. I hope in the future I will gain the knowledge and the confidence to someday hold this honored seat.”

Fiorentini said he agrees with a claim Ferguson shared with WHAV earlier this week—that the city’s buildings and streets need work.

“I met Barry a few times. He seems like a really nice guy. I don’t know him well. I thought he would have been a worthy opponent and he certainly raised some legitimate issues. He’s talking about infrastructure, and infrastructure is absolutely something we need to address. There is no doubt about that,” Fiorentini said.

The mayor said crumbling bridges and sidewalks is an issue being faced all across the nation.

City Council candidates include incumbents, in order of when papers were taken, Michael S. McGonagle, Colin F. LePage, Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, Joseph J. Bevilacqua, William J. Macek, Melinda E. Barrett, Thomas J. Sullivan, Andy Vargas and John A. Michitson. Challengers include Kenneth E. Quimby, Adele Martino, Fred Simmons, Tim Jordan, Hartell Johnson, Kate McGregor and Gregory Roberts. Candidates that took out papers for City Council, but chose not to run are Michael J. Katsulis, Timothy Carroll and School Committeeman Shaun P. Toohey, who is seeking the Third Essex state representative seat being vacated by Rep. Brian S. Dempsey.

For School Committee, candidates are incumbents Paul A. Magliocchetti and Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello, and challengers Katrina Hobbs Everett, Richard Smyth and Richard Rosa. Alicia Smolar and Dave Maddaluno took out papers, but chose not to run.

Candidates still have until Aug. 17 to withdraw.

City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas said the city will save the estimated $40,000 cost of a preliminary election—a savings partially offset by the special election for state representative in October.

“It will just be in Brian’s district and I won’t have to hire as many poll workers, so it will probably be closer to 30 (thousand) or less,” she said.

Koutoulas said she is worried about the turnout for the Oct. 10 primary election for state representative since it occurs the day after Columbus Day. She is looking for poll workers, who are paid $155 for the day. Applications are available on the city’s website or stop by the city clerk’s office in City Hall.

3 thoughts on “Ferguson Decides Against Mayoral Run; No City Preliminary Election

  1. The comment feature wouldn’t allow all of all of the information to be listed on one post. Here is additional “accomplishments” of the mayor.

    ~As Chairman of the school board permitted a non-citizen of this country to participate in debate on a school issue.
    ~As Chairman of the school board printed “Yo Vote’ ” sticks to hand out to all non-English speaking criminal trespassers in the country who fraudulently and illegally voted in the presidential election.
    ~He clear cut a forest to raise just a few thousand dollars for his failing administration.
    ~Covered up contaminated water delivered to the elderly and children.
    ~Streets were an absolute disaster after an average snow storm. This was after the mayor did a photo opp for local newspapers by driving around in a city DPW plow truck.

  2. Given his fiscal mismanagement and rolling out the welcome mat to criminal invaders and drug dealers to flock to Haverhill turning it into a very dangerous place, is it any wonder no one wants to take on the task of cleaning up his mess? Here is mayor taxman’s resume.

    ~He advocated for the purchase and then sale of Hale Hospital leaving the city $100Million in debt.
    ~Created parking taxes downtown, which he is aggressively trying to raise.
    ~Bought a city vehicle and hired employees to drive around downtown to ticket as many cars as possible
    ~Created a meals tax and refuses to reveal how much is raised by this each year.
    ~Hired Trash Police to go door to door to fine people for not putting garbage at the street correctly
    ~Increases property taxes 2.5% EVERY year
    ~Property taxes have doubled since he first became mayor
    ~Increased taxes in 2013 by 2.5% and then ended the year with a $3.5Million budget surplus and kept the money to give out in the form of raises
    ~Leaves the $3.5Million surplus in the budget every year leaving taxpayers to pay money that is a phantom expense in the budget every year.
    ~Water and sewer rates are set to increase by 50% because of his inaction to secure alternative water sources and adhering to state mandates.
    ~Got the city sued by trying to take private property of a downtown landowner by eminent domain so the city could turn around and sell the building for a profit.
    ~Used the power of his office to threaten a city property owner to take presidential campaign signs down for the candidate he did not support.
    ~Inconvenienced visitors and business owners downtown to make a few thousand dollars from a movie studio
    ~Double dipping on all youth sports leagues by charging a fee to use fields they have already paid to maintain
    ~Intentionally falsified documentation to defraud the city council to bring a weed treatment distribution facility to the city.
    ~Threatened a female school committee member with intimidation who wasn’t going to support a dangerous solar panel issue on city schools.
    ~Lied multiple times about the savings to the city and taxpayers for energy conservation programs.
    ~Charges a fee to park in a garage downtown taxpayers already paid to build
    ~Charges a fee to drop recycling items off at DPW that he turns around and sells at a profit
    ~Entered into private sector investment again with Harbor Place using taxpayer funds
    ~Kept 29 city employee felons on the city payroll after they committed felony larceny by conspiring to steal over $54,000.00 from taxpayers.
    ~Allowed a city cop to easily retire after he was found to be literally sleeping every night while on duty
    ~Said and did nothing when two criminal trespassers in the country illegally dragged a teenage girl into the woods at Riverside Park and raped her.
    ~Praised city councilor Andy Vargas for his support of criminal trespassers from other countries illegally living in Haverhill.