Photo Gallery | Inauguration of City Government in Pittsfield
PITTSFIELD — The prospect of a new leadership team for city government had many local officials feeling optimistic that the next few years will prove productive ones for Pittsfield.
Speaking during a reception at the Berkshire Museum Monday after Mayor Linda M. Tyer took the oath of office as the new chief executive, observers said her inaugural address marked a positive first step.
Also during the inaugural ceremonies, Councilor at large Peter Marchetti was elected council president, and Ward 6 Councilor John Krol was elected vice president after being nominated by Marchetti. Both were strong backers of Tyer's candidacy in her race against former Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, a two-term incumbent whom she defeated in the Nov. 3 election.
"I'm absolutely thrilled and optimistic," said Jeffrey Hunt, a member of the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, who is married to Marchetti. "I think Linda is going to be a magnificent mayor. I look forward to all the collaboration with all the groups and committees coming together to move the city forward. I love it."
"I just felt that the energy in the council chambers was really positive and uplifting," said former Councilor Christine Yon, a member of the Tyer campaign team. "She will be a great mayor."
"Very good, very uplifting, very upbeat," said Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski of Tyer's address. "We have a new leader in the city, and we are looking forward to working with her and hopefully bettering public safety in the community for both the police and the fire side, and working along with our EMS friends, to make sure we do a good job of taking care of the city as they would expect it to be."
Marchetti said: "I share the people of Pittsfield's optimism. As I said earlier today, we all boarded the bus to move the city forward in a positive direction. If you choose to get off the bus, it won't be up to me or Mayor Tyer to put you in line; the voters of Pittsfield will put you in line two years from now. We all campaigned on a more inclusive, a more collaborative government that knows how to compromise and knows how to communicate."
"There's lots of positive hope for the city," Mary McGinnis, a business owner and former city director of administration services, said of Tyer. "She's got great, great ideas, and with a team behind her, she can't go the other way. She is going to make a big change for Pittsfield."
"I am so excited," said new Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers. "I thought today was really a start for a new Pittsfield. There was an energy in the room that I haven't felt for a long time. It was positive. People are looking forward to change. And I thought the speech was inspiring. I think she is going to bring everyone together."
As the newest member of council, Rivers said she felt "already included" Monday. "I think we were already coming together. There was a lot of camaraderie ... I think we are going to be able to agree even when we disagree. So, I'm looking forward to it."
Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell, who served as council vice president for the past two years with Melissa Mazzeo as president, said of Tyer's address, "I think it was inspiring. It was hopeful without listing specific goals," which Connell said can wait until Tyer becomes more familiar with her new position. Connell said he and Mazzeo both voted with the majority for Marchetti and Krol for the leadership posts "because that is best for the city. It is a sign of unity for the city."
He added that he hopes the new mayor and council can successfully address the city's difficult fiscal issues over the next few years, trimming back on unnecessary expenses and keeping the tax rate in check.
Speaking to the media during the reception, Tyer said she isn't ready to announce any personnel decisions or other changes in city government. But for the next month she plans to meet with department heads and go over briefings on their duties she had requested during the mayoral transition period.
She was asked about her press policy in light of a controversial policy Bianchi imposed during his last term. "One of the things I want to do is have more press conferences," Tyer said. "We will certainly be more open and transparent with better relations with the media overall."
The new mayor said she wants to examine the press policy to better understand it and its intent, "and then see if we can modify it so it works more effectively."
Tyer said she was pleased to see Marchetti and Krol in the council leadership roles. "I think the three of us share a common progressive, collaborative attitude," she said. "And I was very happy that the votes were unanimous," which she said could indicate a coming period of cooperation among officials.
The Pittsfield High School Chamber Orchestra, Cantarella School of Dance and the Youth Alive Step Team provided entertainment for the reception. Food was provided by Brenda's Catering, Flavours of Malaysia, La Fogata, Mezzie's Variety and Mary's Carrot Cake.