LOWELL, MA –Eileen Donoghue’s tenure as Lowell City Manager concluded on Monday, April 11, 2022. Donoghue was sworn-in four years ago on April 11, 2018, becoming the first woman to serve in the position in Lowell’s history.
Donoghue led the City through two years of the COVID-19 crisis, working with state government and local partners to ensure the availability of testing, vaccination, and other resources for Lowell residents.
While confronted unprecedented challenges associated with the COVID-19 crisis, Donoghue continued to drive progress in other key areas, including financial management, economic development, education, and public safety.
Donoghue reflected on the City of Lowell’s achievements over the last four years in a farewell address to the Lowell community, which is now available to view online and on LTC.
Highlights and excerpts from Donoghue’s farewell address:
“While guiding our community through the COVID-19 pandemic may have become the defining mission of my time as City Manager, we never considered it an excuse to relent from other critical work before us.”
“Through our focus on these essential pillars, the talent of the City of Lowell’s workforce, and the resiliency of Lowell’s people, we have not only withstood the pandemic, but are ideally positioned to emerge even stronger as we looks towards the future.”
“When I became City Manager, I said that I believe the sky is the limit for Lowell. Given our City’s history, our diversity, our incredible history, and the strength of our people – I believed that Lowell’s potential was unequalled by any peer community. My belief in Lowell’s potential has guided me every day since– from the darkest hours of the COVID-19 crisis, through moments of triumph and achievement.”
Financial management: “While seeking to drive progress, we have kept our eye on affordability and have sought to avoid overburdening the hardworking families and individuals that call Lowell home. In FY22, the single family tax bill was in the lowest on-third of all Massachusetts communities, and was $1,736 less than the statewide average.”
“In response, we implemented stringent fiscal control measures to mitigate impacts related to the COVID-19 crisis, including a hiring freeze, overtime controls, and a level funded FY2022 budget. Through this approach, we avoided layoffs and other tough consequences seen in other communities.”
Economic Development: “We have seen many long sought-after milestones come to fruition in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District, where vital pieces have come together to enable the realization of its incredible potential. We completed and opened Streets F & G and the Niki Tsongas bridge, representing critical infrastructure that will literally pave the way for subsequent development in the HCID.”
“Small businesses are the cornerstone of our local economy, and contribute immeasurable to the vitality of our community. Across the board, they have faced tremendous hardship as a result of the public health crisis. The City of Lowell has played a crucial role in assisting Lowell’s small, independently owned, brick-and-mortar retailers, restaurants, and personal service businesses that have been most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“In the last four years, we have undertaken and completed high-impact projects across the City that aim to improve the quality of life of all residents. The pandemic has generated a renewed appreciation of the outdoors for us all. As such, we have emphasized projects that will enable residents to get outside and enjoy Lowell’s unique urban landscape.”
Education: “The strength of any community depends on the success of its academic institutions. During my time as City Manager, we have continued our multi-faceted approach to improve education in the City and ensure that young people in Lowell have access to excellent education opportunities, from pre-K through post-graduate learning.”
“We believe strongly that the City must provide secure and comfortable learning environments that give all students a chance to succeed, and have continued a landmark effort to leverage funding available through the MSBA’s Accelerated Repair Program to attend to long deferred areas of need at our school facilities. We believe strongly that the City must provide secure and comfortable learning environments that give all students a chance to succeed, and have continued a landmark effort to leverage funding available through the MSBA’s Accelerated Repair Program to attend to long deferred areas of need at our school facilities.
COVID-19 Response: “While it appears now that the threat of COVID-19 is dissipating, we know that that there is a constant risk of a new variant gaining a foothold and reverting our trend toward normalcy. We can be confident, however, that through the City’s past experience we have created an effective roadmap for deploying critical resources should we experience a new surge in cases.”