The race for City Council yielded little surprise Tuesday. All six incumbents in contested races were returned to office.
owner Tom Gould, a clear favorite in the race for the open at-large seat left by Ted Bettencourt, topped the ticket with 9,012 votes – more than even in the mayor’s race.
“I’m humbled and thrilled,” Gould said, adding he’s greatly looking forward to serving on the council and with Bettencourt. “There’s no problem you can’t solve…by digging in.”
Trailing Gould by just over 1,400 votes in the at-large race was incumbent councilor Michael Garabedian. Garabedian said it was actually his highest turnout in his 10 years on the council.
“There are good days ahead,” he said, adding he was likewise humbled and happy to be returned to office for another term, his sixth.
Garabedian said he looks forward to tackle big issues still to be resolved, such as flooding, revitalizing the downtown, renovations and Crystal Lake.
Dave Gravel, who won his third term on the council, said he was “very, very pleased” at Tuesday’s results and similarly felt there were some major issues ahead to work on with both the council and Bettencourt.
“This is a great victory for the city,” said At-Large Councilor James Liacos Tuesday night. “I’ve been involved in politics for 32 years and this is my happiest election.”
Liacos spent 20 years on the School Committee before the council and will now serve a seventh term on the latter board.
Anne Manning-Martin, bringing up the rear for the cadre of incumbents returned to office, said she was “happy voters had the confidence to return [her] to office.”
“We have a lot of challenges ahead, I hope he provides leadership on them,” she said, referring to Bettencourt and adding that the voters clearly had confidence in him for the job.
The other two challengers in the at-large race – Bob Croce Jr. and Russell Donovan – finished well behind Manning-Martin, who will serve a third term on the council.
Michael V. Garabedian (incumbent) 7,601 Thomas L. Gould 9,012
Russell P. Donovan 4,227
Anne Manning-Martin (incumbent) 7,084
James K. Liacos (incumbent) 7,123
David Gravel (incumbent) 7,528
Robert A. Croce, Jr.
Over in Ward 1, Barry Osborne handily beat back Robert Forti for a second time, although two years ago it was a much narrower race. Osborne only won by 90 votes that time but surged ahead by 370 Tuesday to win his seventh term.
“It definitely made me stand up and take notice,” Osborne said of the 2009 race. “We worked a lot harder and I thought we had a pretty good plan.”
Osborne said he did speak with Forti at the polls and applauded him for putting his name out there once again.
As for Peabody’s new mayor: “I look forward to serving with him. I think he’ll do a great job,” Osborne said.
Ward 1 CouncilorCandidate
Percentage Robert D. Forti 1,177
41% Barry P. Osborne (incumbent)
54% Blanks and Write-ins 123 4%
And in Ward 3, incumbent Rico Mello prevailed to earn a fifth term over challenger Tom Serino by a comfortable margin, 1,160 to 777.
“I’m grateful to my family, supporters and the people of Ward 3,” Mello said. “I go back to work tomorrow for them.”
Mello said he’s developed a good relationship with Bettencourt on the council. “We’re going to move forward; the city’s going to move forward.”
Ward 3 CouncilorCandidate
Percentage Rico E. Mello (incumbent)
58% Thomas K. Serino
39% Blanks and Write-ins 59 3%
Arthur Athas, David Gamache and Barry Sinewitz, councilors in Wards 2, 5 and 6, respectively, did not face any opposition Tuesday.
Bill Aylward, who trailed incumbent Tom D’Amato by 1,501 votes, will now fill the open seat on the city light commission. D’Amato, who handily won his seat back, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
“I’m very happy that the people of Peabody spoke and [added him to the board],” said Aylward on his way home from Bettencourt’s victory party. “There’s a lot of work to be done to move the light plant forward.”
He said he was looking forward to working with the rest of the commission to accomplish that. Aylward finished just ahead of Brian Birmingham to snag the seat.
Charles Bonfanti was also elected to fill out the unexpired term of Tom Zellen, who retired from public office last year. A joint committee of the council and light commission appointed Bonfanti to occupy that post until the election.
Municipal Light CommissionCandidates Total Votes
Dennis M. Feld 4,186
Thomas M. D'Amato (incumbent) 7,136
Brian A. Birmingham 4,825
William C. Aylward 4,935
Blanks and Write-ins 6,468 Charles W. Bonfanti
Blanks and Write-ins
Library Trustee Martha Cavanaugh was returned to office Tuesday and newcomers Dianne Gagnon Caputo, Tracy Valletti and Richard Heath will join her. Jean Ahearn was elected to fill the unexpired term of the late Robert Walsh.