Lifestyle, Local Government and Politics

Potential retirements add intrigue to Lynn mayor’s race

LYNN — No matter who gets elected mayor next month, City Hall could have a lot of new faces.

The city’s Retirement Board said at least 10 department heads will be eligible to retire next year.
To head off into the sunset with as much as 80 percent of the average of the last three years of employment, city employees who are at least 55 must have a decade worth of service. If an employee has 20 years on the job, they can retire at any age.

The list includes Peter Caron, the city’s 65-year-old chief financial officer, who has already told people he will retire next year; the city’s purchasing director Charles White, 62, Treasurer Richard Fortucci, 62; Collector Fred Cronin, 76; Joseph Driscoll, the city’s 63-year-old personnel director; Michael Barry, longstanding attorney, told The Item last month he will call it quits next year. The 67-year-old city solicitor whose law career began as an assistant attorney general under former Massachusetts Attorney General Frank Bellotti, has been at City Hall since the 1980s; Michael Donovan, 56, the Inspectional Services Department chief; Acting Parking Director Robert Stilian, 57; City Clerk Janet Rowe, 61; and Terry Young, executive assistant for the City Council, 60.

If many of these employees embrace retirement next year, it will create an opportunity for the mayor, either Judith Flanagan Kennedy or challenger Sen. Thomas M. McGee (D-Lynn), to reshape City Hall.

With a few exceptions,  such as the City Clerk, City Solicitor, Treasurer, Collector and Auditor which are appointed by the City Council, the mayor selects the rest of the department chiefs.

Last month, McGee trounced Kennedy in the preliminary election by a 72 to 28 percent margin. McGee captured 4,219 votes to Kennedy’s 1,632.

McGee did better than popular Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who received 63 percent of the vote, while his rival Tito Jackson got 29 percent.

While Kennedy congratulated McGee on his strong showing, she said voter turnout was less than 12 percent and the two have not had a face-to-face debate so voters can determine where they stand on the issues facing the city.

The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

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