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North Reading Selectman Candidate Profile: Steve O'Leary

Steve O'Leary is up for re-election this May.

This is the first in a series of articles profiling the candidates running for North Reading Board of Selectmen.

Selectman Steve O’Leary is up for re-election to the board this May. He was first elected to the board in 1988 and has only taken a few years off since then. 

O’Leary grew up in North Reading and has raised his family in town. In addition to his 20-plus years on the Board of Selectmen, he spent 12 years on the Hillview Commission and plans to continue to “give back” to the town. 

There are a lot of issues he would like to tackle in the coming years and still feels strongly about every one of them, he said.

“I still haven’t lost my passion for it all,” he said.

The wastewater project, long-term water needs, ensuring public safety and public health are just a few of those issues.

He would like to move the wastewater project forward to set the town up for both economic and commercial growth in the right areas of town, meaning the Concord and Main Street areas.

The proposal under consideration is to build a wastewater treatment facility in town and possibly tie some portion of it in with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) or the South Essex Water Sewerage District. This would be a $48 to 50 million project that could be five to 10 years away, O’Leary said.

He also mentioned the major parcel of land yet to be developed on Route 62 near the , which is an ongoing project.

Some projects are years in the making and he and other members of the board have a long-range vision, O’Leary said. It shows you how “slowly the wheels of government move,” he said.

O’Leary provides continuity and historical perspective to the board, he said. As a long-time resident and active community member, he knows where the town has been, what happened and “why we should or shouldn’t go there again,” he said.

According to O'Leary, as a professional bank examiner, he has a "clear understanding of budgets, mandates and compliance issues all of which bode well for ensuring sound management for the town."

He has two boys who went through the North Reading school system. In addition to working full time and volunteering his time on the Board of Selectmen, he coached his kids through soccer, basketball and baseball, which he calls “a valuable experience.” He has been contributing to the community in a different capacity for most of his life, and will continue to do so, he said.

The annual election will be on May 8.

JIM April 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Didn't we already vote NO on the wastewater treatment plant?
DR April 23, 2012 at 01:31 PM
After public hearings on the wastewater treatment plant and in consideration of the state of the economy, the Board of Selectmen agreed to posepone moving forward on the project. The project was never the subject of a town wide vote.
JIM April 23, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Oh well didn't we already overwhelmingly vote NO at the public hearings because of the exorbitant fees that homeowners in certain sections of town would be forced to pay then?
E April 27, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Jim, I'm guessing there will be additional debate since it will now be one of the issues front and center in deciding the financial future of our town. If only "the wast water project" had gained traction years ago it might have been "Shovel Ready" for some federal stimulus bongo bucks. This is just an assumption on my part. I look forward to learning more during the coming months and I hope to meet you in person during the planning process. Best regards, E
BHeff May 07, 2012 at 11:19 PM
20 years is a long time, thanks for your service. Time for some new points of view.BH
Janine Largent May 07, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Dear Jim, E, DR and BHeff, I sure wish people with an opinion would identify themselves. We will never have open dialogue cloaked in secrecy.
Ed Canney May 09, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Couldn't agree more Janine. There are too many negative posts w/out really taking responsibility. But to BHeff, and his 20 years is a long time moniker relating to Steve O'Leary. Steve has respect for differing opinions. When I served w/him, he was always willing to listen to an opposing position. Currently, that's a quality we desperately need.
Ed Canney May 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
To Barry... in my conversation with a current Selectman today, he stated the $300 per quarter increase was accurate for the average home. So if I'm repeating misinformation...its from an elected official! Your suggestion for my moving is what is objectionable. A very petty way to counter an argument. Respect for differing opinions is what debate is all about. If you have ever served in an elected position...you would know that. And may I add your previous comments demeaning Ms. Vacca were truly objectionable and unnecessary. Please identify yourself!!!

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