FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Paul Coogan had planned to wait before announcing whether or not he’d run for Fall River mayor in the fall. That was until Mayor Jasiel Correia removed him from a school committee in what he called “revenge politics.”
The Fall River School Committee member Friday told Eyewitness News he will run again in September.
Correia was recalled by the voters during a recall election Tuesday. However, he was eventually re-elected to office – narrowly defeating Coogan. Coogan received almost 34% of the vote to Correia’s 35%, or the difference of 241 votes, according to unofficial results from the Fall River Board of Elections.
The next day, Coogan said he received a call from Fall River School Committee Vice Chairman, Mark Costa information him they both had been removed from the Durfee Building Committee, per order of Mayor Correia.
“We call it revenge politics. It’s not, ‘we disagree,’ it’s ‘I’m gonna get you back,’ and that’s not the way to run a campaign,” Coogan said.
According to Coogan, at the time of the phone call Wednesday, there was no reason given for his or Costa’s removal from the committee.
However, he says in a later email, he found the move was “for diversity” on the committee.
Coogan says the mayor later called him Wednesday night and said he was upset Coogan did not call him to concede in the election Tuesday night. He says though Correia removed him from the committee, the mayor said he’d like Coogan and Costa to be advisors.
Coogan says despite his removal, he said he told the mayor he would still plan to go to Durfee Building Committee meetings. He previously worked at Durfee High School for almost three decades, even serving as vice principal.
Tuesday night, Coogan had hinted at a possible run again this fall but did not formally announce.
However, given Wednesday’s events, Coogan says he’s had a change of heart.
“I did tell everyone that I did want a week or two to recover from this election. I was not planning on running or making an announcement in September, although people reached out to me, but with this action, I will be in the race in September. I have every intention of running a vigorous campaign,” Coogan told Eyewitness News on Friday. “This is not Fall River. We are better than this.”
Eyewitness News has reached out to the Mayor’s Office for comment but has not heard back.