PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Voters will choose the next City Council on Tuesday.
A total of 19 candidates for City Council will be on the ballot, with races in nearly all of the wards and for the four at-large seats. The election will also feature six candidates seeking six seats on the School Committee and Michele Cetti is running unopposed for city clerk.
The ballot doesn't feature a mayoral race, and thus most believe the turnout will be low.The candidates are all up for two-year seats.
In Ward 1,Helen Moon is seeking to fill the seat being vacated by Lisa Tully, who opted not to run for re-election. Moon will be facing Michael Cirullo. Cirullo, however, had previously announced he no longer sought the seat and stopped campaigning. Moon is a 34-year-old registered nurse at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington. She has been involved in multiple progressive activist groups, such as Indivisible Pittsfield.
In Ward 2, Dina Guiel is challenging incumbent Kevin Morandi. Guiel has a background in government policy and planning. This is her first attempt to hold public office. Her work history includes developing youth mentoring programs in the Springfield area and assisting with the development of a master plan in Dedham.
Morandi has served three consecutive terms on the City Council after being elected in 2011. A self-employed barber, Morandi prides himself on being a strong ward councilor and keeping a close eye on the budget. He and Guiel have exchanged blows with Morandi attacking Guiel's commitment to the ward and experience, and Guiel saying he hasn't been effective and represents the view of just a limited few in the ward.
In Ward 3, incumbent Nicholas Caccamo is being challenged by James Gleason. The 55-year-old Gleason has positioned himself as being the opposition to Mayor Linda Tyer's administration. The retired school custodian has campaigned focusing reducing crime and the tax rate. He has promised to be a "strong voice" on the council.
Caccamo, a guidance counselor at Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter School, has served on the council since 2013 -- filling a void left by Paul Capitanio who opted not to run for re-election that year. The 31-year-old has boasted of providing good constituent service and has been highly supportive of educational efforts. His track record also features efforts to modernize government processes.
In Ward 4,William Wright is challenging Christopher Connell. The 45-year-old Wright is a distribution manager for Blue Q, photographer, and Air Force veteran. Wright's campaign has been based on community building and bringing new ideas to city government. He's focused his campaign on neighborhood issues, communicating with the residents, and a push to support small and medium-sized businesses.
Connell was elected to the City Council in 2011. His background is in retail after being a regional manager for a chain of convenience stores. He is also a local landlord and member of the Rental Housing Association of Berkshire County. He says he brings an independent voice to the City Council and has been particularly vocal about the city's budget, seeking ways to raise revenues and cut expenses.
In Ward 5, incumbent Donna Todd Rivers was being challenged by William Keane but Keane has since dropped out. Rivers will be entering her second term on the council, barring an unforeseen change in the election, after being elected by a small margin in 2015.
In Ward 6, incumbent John Krol is running unopposed. He'll be entering his fifth term on the council.
In Ward 7,Rhonda Serre is challenging Anthony Simonelli. Serre, a current outreach and advancement supervisor for Elder Services, has been involved with city politics in a number of ways over the years and has focused her campaign on maintaining infrastructure, economic development, and enhanced crime prevention. She has tried to separate herself from Simonelli by saying she'd be more proactive in addressing issues than the incumbent.
Simonelli, a retired city school teacher, first won election in 2011. He has leaned on his experience and his independence in voting. He said he has been and will be available at all times to address issues for the ward's residents. He has also been the sole vote against the budget during the last two years because he felt it could have been reduced more.
The at-large race features six candidates for four seats. They include current City Council President Peter Marchetti, former Council President Melissa Mazzeo, and incumbent Peter White. Those three are joined by newcomers Edward James Carmel, Earl Persip, and Craig Gaetani. Incumbent Kathleen Amuso is not seeking re-election.
Marchetti is the senior vice president for retail banking and operations at Pittsfield Cooperative Bank. He has been involved with city government for more than a decade. He served eight years on the City Council before running for mayor in 2011. He lost that race but returned for a council run in 2015, and was the top vote-getter. He's led the council as president for the last two years.
Mazzeo, a dental hygienist, first won election in 2009 and in 2011 was the top vote-getter. She led the council until 2016, when Marchetti took over.
White is a job placement specialist for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and served on the council as a ward councilor from 2009 until 2011. He then sought the seat of state representative but lost. He returned to the City Council two years ago with an at-large position.
Carmel brings a newcomer's eye to the process. In his first campaign for public office, Carmel brings the perspective of a city resident who has been homeless, has seen the drugs and crime firsthand, and has dealt with a fair share of housing issues.
Persip is the director of operations at the Berkshire Family YMCA. His campaign has been focused on youth development, building small-businesses, and bringing more diversity to city government. He has also served as a board member of Downtown Pittsfield Inc. and on the city's Animal Control Commission.
Gaetani is a Vietnam veteran who boasts of experience with wastewater treatment plants as a scientist and consultant with Krofka engineering. He is most known for his use of the open microphone period during City Council meetings and a show on community television. He ran for mayor in 2015 but did not make it past the preliminary.
For the School Committee, there are six candidates for six seats, while. They are William Joseph Cameron, Dennis Powell, and incumbents Joshua Cutler, Daniel Elias, Cynthia Taylor, and Katherine Yon. Anthony Riello and Pamela Farron are not seeking re-election.
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