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A Less than Clean Sweep…

Mayor Charles Ryan, presumably with the blessing of Stephen Lisauskas, SFCB Executive Director, fired American Sweeping Co. of North Andover after a lackluster job at cleaning the city’s streets.

Aside from providing ample evidence that privatization of government services is not a universal good (or very good at all), this action may prove to stir up the mayoral race this fall. No this is hardly torpedo to the campaign, fear not Ryanites.

Several weeks ago, Mayoral challenger Domenic Sarno, publicly demanded that the Street Sweeping Contract be terminated. As Sarno had been making several pronouncements every so often, nobody thought much of it.

However, while it is more difficult to speak to the other claims by the mayoral challenger, this one had some merit. American Sweeping Co. apparently failed to achieve their goals and was the target of numerous citizen complaints.

Thus Ryan fired them. However, given Sarno’s earlier comments this creates something of a political problem. It lends credibility to Sarno’s claims and empowers him before the electorate.

This is not an uncommon problem in an election year. How does one do the right thing without giving his opponent a boost? Ryan is lucky that this is not a big thing. Nobody cares about American Sweeping, but just glad they’ll be gone by Sept. 30. Also, this is way too early to matter much either. However, Ryan and the Ryan camp need to be cautious about how such things, particularly Control Board matters and how they relate to the campaign.

The “Coalition of the Willing” that brought Ryan to power in 2003 and kept him there for the past four years is strong enough to weather this. Their fear of return to business as usual will likely not permit anything less. Even so, Mr. Ryan, if you want to be sure you stay Mr. Mayor, pass this stuff over to the Control Board. As much of a political hot potato they are, they’re not running and you are.