Let me start with the disclaimer that I have in fact met Michael Geary on a few occasions and I like him. I also voted for him when he ran for council. I thought he had a good interview and was impressed that he seemed to have a grasp of the department.
It came down to a Lowellian who was not as qualified over a more qualified out of Towner / experienced clerk and I really have no issue with that. We take care of our own, we always have.
In fact I am now more convinced than ever that the “Professional” Management era is again over in the city and by next September / October Lowell will have a new city Manager and it will be a familiar face.
It is what we do!
For being a “big” city Lowell is a small circle of longtime families and “tribes” that have committed themselves to make Lowell better and have for years selected politicians over professionals to run this city. The selection of Geary is a sign we will go back to do as we always have done until a time comes again for the need of Professional Management.
Lowell has technically only hired 2 “Professional” Manager’s in my lifetime (coming up on 50 Years) Jim Sullivan and Bernie Lynch.
Look back to the sixties when Lowell took the Treasurer and made him the City Manager. Charlie Gallagher served from 1966- Aug 1970 when the city hired their 1st “professional” Manager Jim Sullivan. Mr. Gallagher then ran and got elected to the City Council in 1971.
In 1974 Mr. Sullivan went back to Cambridge and the city hired Paul Sheehy who served until 1975 and who then went to jail for a “Minor Banking infraction” but then went on to serve as the Lowell State Senator.
In 1975 the city council selected Bill Taupier the former Mayor of Holyoke to be the city Manager, he served until 1979 and was replaced by former State Senator Joe Tully.
Joe served until 1987 when he was replaced by his Assistant Jim Campbell who hired Brian Martin then a city councilor to be one of his Asst. City Manager’s. Campbell resigned in 1991 to take the position of Commissioner of the state’s Department of Industrial Accidents.
In one of the biggest fights for the Manager’s position ever the city hired Richard Johnson the former Taunton Mayor in November of 1991 after 41 ballots.
Among the many in the fight for the position: Former State Rep. / State Senator Phil Shea – Former LHA Director and everyone’ favorite retiree Mike McLaughlin / Brian Martin then assistant city manager, former councilor and Mayor / Rosanne Riddick former assistant city manager / Paul Sheehy former city manager, state representative, state senator and current city councilor and outgoing mayor Jim Milinazzo who made it to the final 3
Johnson lasted until 1995 (but was almost fired in 1994) and former Mayor, Councilor and Asst. City Manager Brian Martin was selected as Manager. Brian lasted until June of 2000 when he was replaced by former State Rep. John Cox.
Cox lasted until 2006 when Chelmsford Town Manager Bernie Lynch was selected in August of that year over several local candidates including newly elected City Councilor Ed Kennedy and Diane Prideaux-Brune who many considered the odds on favorite to be the New Manager.
So don’t be shocked or surprised in Geary’s hiring or in the next year when we perhaps see a new City Manager with a familiar name..Panagiotakos? Murphy? Milinazzo?
It’s Lowell..it’s what we do!