By Josh Resnek
Last week’s election of Mike Mangan to chair the Everett School Committee was one of those very unique moments in Everett politics.
Mangan was nominated by School Committeeman Mike McLaughlin.
The School committee then cast a unanimous vote electing Mangan the chair.
Mangan’s ascension to the chair caps several years of sometimes humbling and difficult city politics which led him there.
Until the night of the meeting last week, it was believed that Mayor Carlo DeMaria was set on being named the school committee chair.
This was to have been the mayor’s ultimate act of consolidation of the political power he wields citywide.
The mayor didn’t show up for the meeting.
He was either away vacationing or declined to attend knowing he didn’t have the votes.
Whatever the reason for the mayor’s failure to appear, Mangan’s victory is something to behold.
Mangan told the Leader Herald that he takes things seriously.
He said two major issues loomed large in his mind as he begins his chairmanship.
“The school overcrowding issue and what we’re going to do is issue number one. This issue must be addressed immediately and fully. What we’re going to do to relieve overcrowding, how much it is going to cost, and whether or not modular spaces are used are important questions,” he said.
The school committee was on record as preferring the former Pope John high school site over modular. However the mayor’s preference for modular is now the only possible solution on the table. The mayor has said he will not support using Pope John to reduce overcrowding.
“Everyone who is a member should partake of decision making. This includes the mayor,” Mangan added.
“I will express myself on certain subjects. If I can sway other members, that’s fine. If I can’t, I will accept that.”
He said the second most important issue is the Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani’s contract extension discussions.
“This must be addressed in the next several months,” he said.
Mangan said it is not about the person when he prepares to act.
“It’s about the issue and what is right and best for the kids of this school system.”
“Everyone should be held accountable. I’m not up here to embarrass anyone. I’m respectful and I aim to remain that way,” he added.
He said thoughtfully that balance was needed right now. He said hen would bring a calming effect to both sides of the major issues now confronting the school committee.
“I’m looking to lower the temperature to bring a new vision and new outlook to the community as a whole. I will try to unite the city and to agree or not to agree but to move forward in a positive direction.”