Salisbury Selectmen Welcome Harrington Back

Tuesday May 23, 2023

SALISBURY – With mixed emotions all around, Town Manager Neil Harrington returned full-time to his desk at town hall last Wednesday after the results of the Salem special election proved he will not be the Witch City’s 50th mayor.
“I know he really wanted to be mayor of his hometown again,” said Chuck Takesian, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, “but I am glad to have him back in the building.”
Selectman Michael Colburn said he had mixed emotions about Harrington’s decision to run for the vacancy in Salem caused by the election of the city’s former Mayor Kim Driscoll to be lieutenant governor.
“I’m really happy he lost,” Colburn said. Praising Harrington as a “very fiscally responsible guy,” he said, “The town is in better shape because he is here.”
An exhausted Harrington after six months of simultaneously campaigning in Salem and managing Salisbury said he is pleased to be back working full-time for the town.
Harrington, who served four terms as Salem’s mayor between 1990 to 1997. lost to Dominick Pangallo, the long-time chief of staff to Driscoll. She served as mayor for 17 years. Her popularity was thought to help Pangallo, who received 52 percent of the vote.
The special election attracted only 28 percent, which disappointed Harrington.
“I’ve never experienced such a low turnout in a municipal election,” he said. “Considering the amount of advertising, the number of leaflets mailed and handed out, I was surprised. But that is out of anyone’s control.”
A lifelong resident of Salem, Harrington said he was pursuing “two incompatible goals” in running for Salem mayor while continuing as Salisbury’s town manager.
Back at work in Salisbury the day after the election, Harrington said, “It is an exciting time to be here. The town is on the move. There are lots of exciting projects.”
He cited the upcoming Route 1 resurfacing, the North End Boulevard Project and the Big Block development at the beach, which is back before the town for approval.
Before he ran for mayor of Salem, he put in place several critical projects, notably the new sewer line along Lafayette Road.
“We are experiencing some positive new growth,” he said, which will bring in more revenue to the town and help keep the tax burden lower.
Harrington and the town will have to move forward without Janet Flannery, the only assistant he has had in his 20 years in Salisbury. After 33 years as a town employee, Flannery is retiring.
Flannery was honored for her service last week with a luncheon attended by town officials and employees.
“Janet is a delightful person. She is an asset to the town,” Harrington said.

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