Sunday January 6, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- Changes to the city charter, researching a new police station, and stronger relations with key state and federal officials are among Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi’s goals in 2013.

In the coming months, Bianchi said he foresees the Pittsfield Charter Review Study Committee proposing changes that city voters could act upon in November. Bianchi wouldn’t say which revisions he favors, but he indicated that two-year terms aren’t long enough for a mayor to be productive.

"The way we’re set up, it’s almost a continuous campaign," said Bianchi, who just completed his first year as mayor. "You sometimes get the feeling after a few months in office ... [you’re] planning the next campaign."

A four-year term would be particularly helpful for a first-time mayor, according to Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell.

"It seems the mayor’s first year is spent righting the ship, a perfect example of why we need a four-year term," he said.

The 11-member charter review committee last week voted to initially support a four-year mayoral term. The panel’s final recommendations are expected by summer and could be voted on this year and enacted in 2015.

Bianchi said he plans to run for a second two-year term in November.

"You can expect it [an announcement] at any time," he said.

But in his current term, Bianchi said he needs to improve his communication with federal officials. He cited a good working relationship with the Berkshires’ congressman, Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, but said he needs to be more aggressive when seeking funds for city projects.

But in his current term, Bianchi said he needs to improve his communication with federal officials. He cited a good working relationship with the Berkshires’ congressman, Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, but said he needs to be more aggressive when seeking funds for city projects.

"I’m not very good about putting my hand out and asking for money," he said. "I would love to think there is a better path to receive federal consideration for things like a new police station or [improved] streetscapes."

In Year 2 of his term, Bianchi said he plans to continue, through the Police Advisory Committee, researching the need for a new police headquarters. He said the current station, which is 73 years old and is located across from City Hall, doesn’t meet the technological changes involved in 21st-century crime fighting.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.