The primary campaign was mostly cordial and the candidates often agreed on the issues and respectfully presented their differing management styles and visions of the office of Mayor. The general election, however, has turned more heated as Scanlon, who trailed Cahill in the primary voting, has attempted to define his opponent. His campaign has put out almost daily 4-color mailers touting his accomplishments (many of which we acknowledge), but also belittling Cahill's record, work ethic, and experience in often snarky tones reminiscent of some of his previous campaigns.
One particular charge that Scanlon and his supporters on the School Committee have attempted to make an issue of relates to Cahill's less than stellar attendance record at School Committee Finance and Facilities meetings, which they say Cahill appointed himself a member of.
When asked to respond to this charge, Cahill explained to the Salem News that he "appointed himself to the committee when only one other councilor, Wes Slate, volunteered to serve. Cahill said his role was to cover for Slate when Slate could not attend." Cahill added that he has a near perfect attendance record in his primary responsibility as City Council President.
Much of the establishment within city government seems to be coalescing around Scanlon, with many actively campaigning for him. In a letter sent to both local newspapers as well as to Save Beverly Schools last week, four members each of the City Council and School Committee (Annemarie Cesa, Maria Decker, Karen Fogarty, David Manzi, Paul Guanci, Wes Slate, Maureen Troubetaris , and Kevin Hobin) endorsed Scanlon stating:
As elected members of the Beverly City Council and School Committee we have had the unique opportunity to work closely with both Mayoral candidates. We have been able to experience and see firsthand their work ethic, ability to work collaboratively, and their vision, drive, and tenacity. By far Mayor Bill Scanlon far exceeds his opponent in all of these areas.Scanlon also received the endorsement of both the Salem News and Beverly Citizen.
But at least one School Committee member, Kris Silverstein, is on the record as supporting Cahill, saying:
"I am convinced that he will be able to carry Beverly into the future. He is collaborative and willing to harness the talent of those who have ideas that they are willing to put into action. My experience with Mike is that even if we both don't agree with each other, we can engage in dialogue that is meaningful and leads us both to explore a situation more thoroughly. ... I believe that Mike's vision is inspiring and will bring Beverly the new energy we deserve."Cahill also seems to have strong grass roots support, as evidenced by the lawn sign count across the city.
Both candidates have many supporters within the school community, some officially or unofficially working for one side or the other.
Given the personal involvement and split among our contributors and the school community, this website does not plan to endorse either candidate this year, as we did in the last election cycle. We believe both men have made significant contributions to the city and its schools, and that both have strong plans for guiding the city for the next two years. The biggest difference we see is in management style and vision of the role of Mayor. We leave it up to our readers to weigh the pros and cons of each candidate, and come to an informed decision.
Below are videos, provided by BevCam of the two candidates' interviews from their Conversations with the Candidates series.