By Cary Shuman
Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said it all when she learned that her aide, Mary Chalmers Fountain, had been selected to receive the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce’s Lynn City Pride Award.
“I love Mary and the work she does for this city and this office and I cannot think of a more deserving person to receive that honor,” said Kennedy.
Fountain, 28, who is married to Lynn Police officer Craig Fountain (they have a seven-month-old son, Max), was humbled when she was notified by the LACC of the honor.
“I was excited, surprised, and humbled,” said Founatin. “I’ve always had a great relationship with the Chamber and we’re always referring new business owners and current business owners over to them for help or membership because they really do a great job. We love working with the Chamber. They’ve been a friend of the Mayor’s Office since we started and we’re happy with the direction the Chamber is going.”
In announcing the award that will be presented at the LACC Annual Meeting Feb. 3, Executive Director Leslie Gould said, “Mary was selected as a Lynn City Pride recipient for her unwavering dedication that she brings to her position. She is always extremely helpful and creates a spirit of inclusion and congeniality.”
Fountain began working at Mayor’s Kennedy office on Jan, 4, 2010.
“I had worked in a small role on the mayor’s campaign in 2009 and that’s why I was very surprised to get a phone call offering a position as an assistant to the mayor,” recalled Fountain.
Thought her title has changed to mayoral aide, Fountain continues to thrive in her role as “the face of the front office,” the first person Lynn residents see behind the front counter at the office.
Fountain works in coordination with Mayor’s Chief of Staff Jamie Cerulli and Mayor Kennedy, forming an all-female “Big Three” leadership team in the Mayor’s Office.
She teamed up with Mayor Kennedy and Lynn Community Development Director Jamie Marsh to launch the Lynn Dog Park on Parkland Avenue. The new park has been a great success, drawing many dog owners and their pets each day.
“There was need for a dog park,” said Fountain. “We get a lot of calls about dogs being off leash in various place and we wanted to offer them a place that they could go off leash safely. The Cemetery Commission was kind enough to lease the land to the city and we’re in our fourth year with the dog park. The dog park is going very well. It’s a safe and happy place to bring your pet.”
Fountain also heads the Mayor’s constituent services, responding to telephone calls, emails, and letters and to residents walking in to the Mayor’s Office for assistance or guidance.
“Every day you never know what you’re going to get for complaints or suggestions,” said Fountain. “That is the majority of my work.”
One question that the 6-foot-tall Fountain is frequently asked: “Were you a model?”
“I was never a model but people used to ask me to model because of my height,” said Fountain.
Fountain also serves as event coordinator for the Mayor’s Office, organizing such events as the Mayor’s Breakfast for Scouting (“I love working with Dave Solimine on the breakfast,” she said), Student Government Day, the City Tree Lighting, the Summer Reading Program/Ice Cream Social, and the Annual Fireworks Display. She co-chairs the Fireworks Fund with Annemarie Leonard of the Community Development Office. “She taught me how to fundraise,” said Fountain. “We have to raise $30,000 each year for the fireworks show.”
She is also the city’s public information officer and a member of the Lynn emergency management team, keeping residents informed during snow emergencies and other weather-related events.
Fountain also connects movie location scouts seeking permits with the various city departments. Lynn has been the setting for the filming of scenes for various movies, including “Black Mass” and “Grown Ups 2.”
The daughter of James Chalmers and Catherine McGovern, Fountain grew up in Lynn and attended the Callahan Elementary School, St. Mary’s Junior High School, and Lynn Classical High School, graduating in 2005. Her sister, Meaghan, also graduated from Classical while her brother, Michael, a Lynn Police officer, graduated from St. Mary’s High School where the 6-foot-4-inch star athlete helped set the foundation for the football program’s resurgence.
Fountain is excited about the new year and the city’s future. She enjoys her role as a teammate to Mayor Kennedy and as a contributor at the hub of Lynn government.
“Our team here is pretty solid,” said Fountain. “We get along very well. We work very well together. I think the Mayor’s administration and the cooperation of city departments and agencies has led to the success our city is enjoying. We are all striving for a better Lynn.”
Fountain said she and her husband love the city and its people. They intend to raise their family here.
“What’s not to like about Lynn? We have fantastic entertainment, restaurants. We live right near the woods but we have the beach right down the street. Being so close to Boston is really helpful. What I like to say about Lynn is that it’s a big city but also a small town in that people come together when there’s a need to come together. We all work together very well and I see Lynn moving forward. I’ve seen real positive change in the six years I’ve worked with Mayor Kennedy in this office. I’m hearing so many great things form people living here and from outside the city as well.”