Today Peabody mayoral candidate Sean Fitzgerald circulated a diatribe of misinformation about Ted Bettencourt. “Sean continues his campaign strategy to misinform and mislead voters. It's sad to see. Either he doesn't do his homework and doesn't make the effort to find the truth, or he knows the facts and chooses to distort them to deceive voters. Either way, the voters deserve more respect from someone running for mayor.”
Corrections to Fitzgerald’s misinformation:
Fitzgerald falsely claims that Bettencourt is not really a business owner in downtown Peabody. Ted Bettencourt: “If my opponent did his homework, he would know that I was a Partner at the Peabody law firm of Smerczynski & Conn, P.C. beginning in 2003. In 2010, when I decided to campaign for mayor, I stepped back from the partnership and formed a separate practice of law within the same firm which is documented by my filing with the Secretary of State’s Office. That alters my legal work load, not my responsibility to the business. As a business owner since 2003, I pay staff salaries and health insurance, office rental and utilities and business taxes. My opponent may not understand what constitutes owning a private business as he has made a whole career out of jumping from one public payroll to another.”
Fitzgerald erroneously claims that Bettencourt did not play a key role in saving the city’s bond rating. Let’s have Mayor Bonfanti correct this one for Sean.
Source: Peabody & Lynnfield Weekly News, Feb 9, 2006 “Bond rating helps taxpayers”
by Adam Swift , pg 7
“Bonfanti gave credit to the City Council for its role in crafting of a reserve fund policy....Councilors Ted Bettencourt, Michael Zellen, and Fred Murtagh headed up a committee that worked on the reserve fund policy.... ”Under Ted's leadership, they worked to come up with a plan that recognized the need to boost reserves and to strengthen the bond rating,” Bonfanti said.... “The ability to borrow and to borrow at a better rate enhances us in the marketplace and it helps taxpayers,” Bonfanti said.
Fitzgerald deliberately distorts Bettencourt’s role during city budget process. Truth of the matter: Ted Bettencourt has indeed been on the City Council for 4 terms, has scrutinized 8 city budgets during that time and has served as Chair of the Finance Committee for multiple terms. Unlike a small town like Plaistow NH, the city of Peabody has a strong mayor system. The Council may approve or cut funds only. A councilor may not add or shift funds from one line item to another. That’s the mayor’s job and that’s one of the reasons why Bettencourt is running for mayor.
The only fact that Fitzgerald was close to getting correct was that all city employees and elected officials in Peabody are offered health insurance coverage. Bettencourt accepts this coverage and he pays into it.
Bettencourt said he looks forward to the candidate forum on October 20th when he is confident the issues of concern to Peabody taxpayers will take precedent over the barrage of misinformation being circulated by Mr. Fitzgerald.
The unprecedented economic challenges facing our city demand that we change the way Peabody operates. Our response to the reduction in state aid and other sources of revenue must be pro-active and creative. I will provide the hands-on leadership to aggressively pursue new business development that is reasonable and sustainable to ensure Peabody’s long-term financial health. As Mayor, I will make certain we hold the line on residential property taxes while maintaining the quality of city services that our citizens expect and deserve.
Peabody is a vibrant community of citizens who care deeply about our city and its future. As Mayor, I will personally guarantee accessibility and accountability in city government and engage in open and direct communication with our residents.
I believe that the purpose of government is to improve the lives of the people it represents. As Mayor, I will focus on strengthening Peabody’s neighborhoods and emphasize and be responsive to the vital quality of life issues that affect all of us.
As a proud graduate of the Peabody public schools, I understand the importance of a first-rate education. Investing in Peabody’s public education system must be a priority, not only for the well-being of our children, but also for the overall economic competitiveness of our city. Quality public schools are crucial to attracting businesses that will expand our city’s tax base and employment opportunities for our citizens. As Mayor, I will provide our schools with the tools that will help our students succeed and allow all our residents to reap the benefits of an excellent public school system.
Having grown up in Peabody, I remember the deep feeling of pride that existed across our community ..... in our neighborhoods, our schools, our downtown and our business community. The people of Peabody deserve to have that sense of pride returned. As Mayor, I will be committed to renewing the pride in Peabody and making Peabody a destination city again.