PAWTUCKET â€” It's official: Mayor Donald R. Grebien is seeking a second term. He is planning to announce his candidacy for re-election at a campaign kick-off to be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 3 at Slater Mill. The event is open to the public and light refreshments will be served.
Grebien, after previously serving 11 years on the City Council, won his first two-year term in the 2010 elections and has served as mayor since taking office in January 2011. He beat his opponent, Henry S. Kinch, Jr., by an almost two to one margin, after former longtime Mayor James E. Doyle chose to not seek re-election.
A press release notes that after inheriting a deficit of more than $12 million, Grebien in his first year in office â€śmoved quickly to balance the budget by cutting expenses, including reorganizing and reducing personnel and negotiating a significantly lower-cost plan with the city health benefits provider.â€ť
It also states that under Grebien's leadership, his administration has â€śfrom the start worked closely with state officials to keep Pawtucket clear of the forms of state bankruptcy oversight that have befallen some neighboring communities.â€ť
It notes that last November, those efforts were rewarded when the credit markets raised the city's credit outlook while maintaining its bond rating at investment grade.
The press release further notes that Grebien recently won City Council support of â€śan ambitious plan to improve operations at the city transfer station with a projected net savings to taxpayers of approximately $750,000 a year.â€ť
â€śOur business approach is working and our city is now headed in the right direction,â€ť Grebien stated. â€śWe have made the tough decisions and in a transparent way, and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep Pawtucket out of bankruptcy.â€ť
Grebien added, â€śA lot more hard work remains to be done. I will be asking the voters to continue supporting my administration's efforts to get our city back on the road to a solid and sustainable financial future, and to restore Pawtucket to its rightful place as one of our state's most outstanding communities.â€ť
Grebien, 44, a Democrat, is a lifelong city resident who grew up in Fairlawn and now lives with his family at 101 Vine St. in Darlington. He previously worked 16 years as a manager for American Insulated Wire. He has been a player, coach or sponsor of youth teams for more than 20 years besides serving on numerous other community organizations. He and his wife Laureen, an assistant general manager for an area restaurant chain, have two children, Alexa, 13, and Connor, 11, who both attend Pawtucket public schools.
Grebien's announcement brings into focus the November 6 election and the upcoming primary on September 11. In addition to Grebien's announcement, fellow Darlington resident and Parks Commission Chairman Terry Mercer has announced his candidacy for the City Council seat in Ward 3.
City Registrar Kenneth McGill said that potential candidates can file their declarations on June 25, 26 and 27 by 4 p.m. at the Board of Canvassers Office in Pawtucket City Hall. Nomination papers can be obtained on July 3, and candidates have until July 13 to gather signatures from registered voters and return the papers so they can appear on the ballot. For any city-wide elected seat, such as Mayor, School Committee and City Councilor-at-Large, 200 signatures are required, and for all other local elected positions, 50 signatures are needed.
McGill said that a recent mandated local redistricting has resulted in just some slight changes to the council districts. He estimated that the changes effect less than 600 residents. The new Councilmanic Districts were approved by April 11 and are up for second passage by the City Council next week. The revised district map can be viewed on the Pawtucket Board of Canvassers' website.
McGill added that there have been some significant changes in the local state representative and senate seats because of redistricting, including Pawtucket residents losing their representation from Democratic Rep. Roberto DaSilva in District 63 and independent Sen. Edward O'Neill. The District 62 represented by State Rep. Mary Duffy Messier, however, will now be totally in Pawtucket and will no longer represent a section of East Providence.