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Councilor Leahy to Pursue Lowell DPW Job

December 3, 2018

Councilor Leahy Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- City Councilor John Leahy said late Monday he’ll apply for the Department of Public Works commissioner position when it opens later this month.

The post will open up Dec. 21 when James Donison leaves Lowell for Lebanon, N.H.

Many speculated last year that Leahy would be the successor for former DPW chief Thomas Bellegarde. This time around, Leahy said he’ll apply.

“I know I could do the job. This is right up my alley,” said Leahy, who owns Leahy Painting.

He has served four terms on the City Council and previously five terms on the School Committee.

“I think it’d be good to have somebody local doing it,” he added.

Leahy would have to step off the City Council if he becomes commissioner.

According to the State Ethics Commission’s guidelines, there is no “cooling-off period” if a city councilor wants to get a job in the city.

It’d be tough to leave the board, he said.

“I enjoy the council, but this would be a nice new experience for me,” said Leahy, who comes from a large family. His father, the late Daniel Leahy, was a city councilor and state senator. “I’m a hands-on type of guy.”

Leahy stressed he cares about the city a lot, and wants to make sure “things run well.” He also emphasized the importance of preventative maintenance.

City Manager Eileen Donoghue said Monday she is still determining how to proceed at the DPW following Donison’s departure, including naming an interim director. The position pays about $120,000 a year.

Donison is leaving the DPW after less than a year leading the department.

Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun.

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