New City Council, School Committee Inaugurated In Pittsfield
That's the question Mayor Linda Tyer posed to the new City Council and School Committee on Tuesday. Tyer is midway through her four-year term, the first four-year term in the city's history, and welcomed on Tuesday a City Council and new School Committee.
While there hadn't been much turnover on either elected body, city government rededicated itself with the swearing in of the elected officials.
"Every day, together, we are given a mission to work our way through critical decisions, to observe community sentiment, and, on occasion, lead our citizens despite their reservations. Let us ask ourselves, in every quiet moment and in every vigorous debate 'how can we?'" Tyer said in giving the inaugural address.
The City Council will have two new faces. Earl Persip III was elected to an at-large seat and Helen Moon was elected to represent Ward 1.
"This has been a crazy month and a half since the election and finally, the work is going to start. I'm excited about that, starting next week at the first council meeting," Persip said after the ceremony in which he, along with the other members of the council, took the oath of office.
Persip said his priorities include "saving money is a big priority. Doing things more efficiently is a priority of mine. Being helpful to the citizens of Pittsfield, making sure their concerns are being taken care of."
Moon, meanwhile, said her priorities will be communication with ward residents. She said she will be soon sending out newsletters and holding a constituent meeting to discuss the trash toter proposal.
"I don't want to make decisions by myself. I want there to be some community input on things that will drastically change their lives," Moon said.
For the citizens in Ward 1, where she succeeds Lisa Tully who opted not to run for re-election in representing, Moon said, "I want them to know they have a direct line to me." She also called the weight of the decision making and the desire to "do right" for the people a good type of fear, one that will drive her over her next two years.
"As a nurse, that is the same feeling I have when it comes to patients. I want to make sure I do the best by them and have them be safe in my hands. It makes me accountable," Moon said.
The pair joins incumbent Councilors Kevin Morandi, Nicholas Caccamo, Christopher Connell, Donna Todd Rivers, John Krol, Anthony Simonelli, Peter Marchetti, Melissa Mazzeo, and Peter While.
Marchetti was unanimously voted to return to the role as City Council president.
"I'm honored my colleagues have selected me. Two years ago we started on a path to do some good work and we're not finished. I want the opportunity to finish what we started," Marchetti said of his election as president.
Marchetti said his first focus is on getting committee assignments sent out this week. But beyond that, his priority is on job creation.
"We need to work with the mayor on the creation of jobs. We already have a proven track record of doing that with some of our smaller businesses and we need to continue," Marchetti said.
Krol was elected to continue as vice president by a split vote of 6-5. Mazzeo had been nominated as well and she gained support from Connell, Morandi, Rivers, and Simonelli. Caccamo, Marchetti, Moon, Persip, and White backed Krol.
Marchetti understands that there will be differences of opinion among the councilors. But, he is confident each will make decisions based on what is best for the city.
"I know we can do great work together," Marchetti said. "We all take votes every day we are sitting up here and we may agree or disagree. When we are done with our votes, we push in our chairs and get ready to take the next vote. Because the vote you take tomorrow may not be the same exact vote you take the next day and collectively as a city council we need to do what is best for the city of Pittsfield."
Tyer commended the City Council and highlighted some of the successes over the last two years including supporting incentives for LTI SmartGlass, Fire Cider, and Red Apple Butcher to grow their businesses.
"Your thoughtfulness and examination of initiatives presented to you by my administration is a reflection of the commitment you have made to our constituents. More times than not we have come to terms, built compromise, and found the winning path for Pittsfield," Tyer said.
"We have supported growing businesses like LTI SmartGlass, Fire Cider, and Red Apple Butcher with enthusiasm for their aspirations and with careful incentives. We have built responsible budgets during times of serious fiscal constraints. We discouraged Dunkin Donuts from building on the glorious St. Mary's property and, soon, we will have brand new market-rate housing while preserving the architectural and cultural beauty of the St. Mary's campus.
On the School Committee, William Cameron and Dennis Powell are new additions. They join incumbents Daniel Elias, Joshua Cutler, Cynthia Taylor, and Kathrine Yon.
Tyer praised them as well.
"Every child in our city deserves to have our deepest compassion, our highest hope, and our supreme belief in their maximum potential. We have graduated an astronaut, an accomplished actress, and many successful business leaders — some who soar to great heights in faraway places and others who are thriving right here among us — employing our citizens, paying taxes, and contributing to a global economy. Who among today's children and tomorrow's children will go on to triumph?" Tyer said.
"Every decision we make — from embracing restorative justice in the classroom and approving another advanced placement course, to permitting a field trip and protecting LGBTQ students, to ensuring that every child starts the day with breakfast — every one of these decisions gives a 5-year-old, a 12-year-old, and an 18-year-old their best shot at achievement."
The City Council also drew for its seating arrangement and adopted rules of order.
Those in attendance included: state Sen. Adam Hinds, state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, former Mayor Gerry Doyle, Register of Deeds Patsy Harris, former Council President Joe Ryan, former councilors Barry Clairmont and Matthew Kerwood, Matthew Russett from U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's district, Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski, Polie Chief Michael Wynn, North Adams City Councilor Rebecca Cohen, Register of Probate Francis Marinaro, Superintendent Jason McCandless, and Deputy Superintendent Joseph Curtis.
"As we go forth from this chamber together we vow to do the next right thing for each other and for our city, to bear in mind always the people of Pittsfield and remember this: one of us cannot succeed without the other," Tyer said to conclude her remarks.
The full text of the mayor's address:
Good Morning Mr. President, Honorable Members of the City Council, Madam Chair Mrs. Yon, Honorable Members of the School Committee, Madam Clerk, Honorable Senator Hinds and Representative Farley-Bouvier.
Welcome citizens, friends, and families to the Pittsfield City Council Chamber for today’s inaugural ceremony. We observe today as the passage of one elected body to the next - both the city council and the school committee.
We honor an ending, create a hopeful beginning, and commit ourselves, once again, to the esteemed tradition of public service.
My sincere congratulations to each of you. For those of you who are returning – through your record of accomplishments you have earned the confidence of your constituents and they have sent you back to carrying on your good work. To Councilor Moon, Councilor Persip, Mr. Powell, and Mr. Cameron - I’d like to extend a special congratulation to each of you for having been elected to serve in your first term as a member of the city council and the school committee. I welcome you. Together we strive fiercely to do noble deeds that will advance our community toward its highest purpose.
Congratulations to President Marchetti. You have been chosen by your colleagues to lead the honored and honorable city council. For many years, you and I have had a tremendously successful professional relationship and a lasting friendship. I am eager to continue our work together with you at the helm of the City Council.
To council vice president John Krol, you have also been chosen by your colleagues and I congratulate you. Your progressive leadership often sharpens my thinking. I am grateful for our friendship and loyalty to purpose.
Congratulations to Michele Cetti on your first election as Pittsfield’s 22nd city clerk in 126 years. You have been entrusted to serve in the admirable institution of city clerks who have recorded the history of our cities and towns all across this Commonwealth. I am confident that you will excel in your duties and will represent Pittsfield with integrity and honor.
As your mayor, I am eager to work with all of you on behalf of our citizens. The people of Pittsfield are counting on us to exercise good judgment, to apply sound decision making, and to keep our attention on their future.
Every day, together, we are given a mission to work our way through critical decisions, to observe community sentiment, and, on occasion, lead our citizens despite their reservations. Let us ask ourselves, in every quiet moment and in every vigorous debate “how can we.” Already, we have many fine examples of this guiding principle.
To The Honorable City Council: I commend each of you for your exhaustive efforts in all matters that come before you. Your thoughtfulness and examination of initiatives presented to you by my administration is a reflection of the commitment you have made to our constituents. More times than not we have come to terms, built compromise, and found the winning path for Pittsfield. We have supported growing businesses like LTI SmartGlass, Fire Cider, and Red Apple Butcher with enthusiasm for their aspirations and with careful incentives. We have built responsible budgets during times of serious fiscal constraints. We discouraged Dunkin Donuts from building on the glorious St. Mary’s property and, soon, we will have brand new market-rate housing while preserving the architectural and cultural beauty of the St. Mary’s campus.
Dear School Committee: Every child in our city deserves to have our deepest compassion, our highest hope, and our supreme belief in their maximum potential. We have graduated an astronaut, an accomplished actress, and many successful business leaders – some who soar to great heights in faraway places and others who are thriving right here among us - employing our citizens, paying taxes, and contributing to a global economy. Who among today’s children and tomorrow’s children will go on to triumph? Every decision we make – from embracing restorative justice in the classroom and approving another advanced placement course, to permitting a field trip and protecting LGBTQ students, to ensuring that every child starts the day with breakfast – every one of these decisions gives a 5-year-old, a 12-year-old, and an 18-year-old their best shot at achievement.
To the city’s hardworking employees – I know that every single day hundreds of city employees arrive at their work intent upon doing their very best. Plow drivers and firefighters, water treatment plant operators and housing specialists, office clerks and teachers, police officers and inspectors. All work on our behalf and represent us well. I am very proud of who we are and for the dedication given by each and every employee. We devote ourselves to improved performance, seek opportunities to innovate and rise to the occasion when called upon to go beyond the day-to-day routine. And, we are you! We are your neighbors, we go to church with you, we pay taxes, we grocery shop with you. All of us, from this mayor right on down to our newest employee, want to excel in our work.
To our Esteemed Citizens: While we are hard at work as elected officials and city employees so many of our citizens stand with us. Community activism is alive and well in the City of Pittsfield. Pittsfield was an abolitionist stronghold, an agricultural pioneer, and a post-war industrial powerhouse. Today, we build from this proud foundation and design our destiny.
It is a shared responsibility between government and citizens. Good citizenship strengthens the fabric of our community. From one neighborhood to the next there are countless ways to contribute – join Pittsfield Beautiful, volunteer to serve on a board or commission, get involved in the Westside or Morningside Initiative, start a neighborhood crime watch, shop at our local retailers, buy a home, return to our public schools.
To our Honorable State Officials: One of my favorite historical passages can be found on the back of today’s program. It is an excerpt from the 1891 inauguration of city government. I like it because it identifies Pittsfield as a loved and honored daughter of the Commonwealth. Our state officials are here today to signify that this tradition continues. Pittsfield’s success can only be achieved with their help and their dedication to our causes. Standing strong for the restoration of funds for the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, being state ambassadors for the Berkshire Innovation Center, and proposing state funding to rebuild the Columbus Avenue Parking garage and for advancing the design and engineering for a new police station are just a few examples of how we have partnered with our esteemed state colleagues for the benefit of our beloved city.
Conclusion: This is noble work. It is a privilege conferred on us by the citizens of Pittsfield. The obligation is to be respected and revered. Our diverse, magnificent, complicated city depends upon every contribution, big and small. It is demanding of our intellect. It challenges our character. In the days and nights of public service there are moments of high confidence and worrisome doubt. In those times it is the wisdom of Theodore Roosevelt that will strengthen our resolve. “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where to doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly.”
Finally, the passage from Pittsfield’s 1891 inaugural address calls us to be inspired and guided by the struggles and triumphs of our colony; to join the long, steady effort of leadership and endeavor in the contest of freedom and improvement, and that we seek all high thoughts and noble deeds.
As we go forth from this chamber together we vow to do the next right thing for each other and for our city, to bear in mind always the people of Pittsfield, and remember this: one of us cannot succeed without the other.
Tags: inauguration, Pittsfield city council , swearing in,
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