Mayor Bianchi lists achievements of first term and his goals for second
PITTSFIELD -- Delivering his second inaugural address on Monday, Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi ran through a list of positive developments in Pittsfield during his first term and promised more of the same over the next two years.
In a change that could ease through some of the mayor's initiatives, the ceremonies also saw the expected election of at large Councilor Melissa Mazzeo as council president.
Considered a close Bianchi ally, Mazzeo replaces Councilor Kevin Sherman, who did not seek re-election.
"I look forward to rolling up our sleeves together and working on the important issues on behalf of our citizens," Bianchi said, referring to the 11 councilors, six School Committee members and City Clerk Linda Tyer, who were sworn in prior to his arrival to an overflowing crowd at council chambers at City Hall.
Tyer was sworn in first during the morning ceremonies and then swore in School Committee members and the councilors. Among those in attendance were family members and friends of the elected officials, local state representatives and officials, city employees and former elected officials.
Striking a theme that "elected officials understand only too well that the road to public office is never taken alone," Bianchi thanked his wife, Theresa, who had a major role in planning the inaugural events, and other family members.
"So many of you stepped up to the plate," he said, addressing those who played a role in city government or community efforts. "You volunteered for city boards and commissions, invited me to your organizations, businesses, churches and temples. You shared your hopes and dreams for Pittsfield."
Citing accomplishments, Bianchi said he expanded the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority to add local professionals with expertise in development and advanced manufacturing and technology, and has pushed for such firms at the PEDA-managed William Stanley Business Park.
"I made it a point to get out and meet with businesses around Pittsfield," he added, saying his total now stands at 158.
Bianchi cited establishment of a small business financing fund, progress toward a major renovation or replacement project for Taconic High School, a stronger vocational education department in city schools with more time for student internships in local firms, and a stabilizing three-year contract for educators as successful initiatives he has supported.
Concerning public safety, he cited establishment of two community centers in Pittsfield Housing Authority complexes with a third planned, along with receipt of two grants to address gang-related activity; and establishment of a public safety task force with top police, fire and law enforcement officials that meets periodically to develop approaches to addressing crime.
The Police Advisory Committee was re-established, he said, with an overarching goal of exploring options for a new police department to replace the cramped Allen Street facility. A consultant for a $30,000 feasibility study is expected to begin work soon determining options for a new headquarters.
In the coming two years, Bianchi said the Downtown Streetscape project will be extended, from Wahconah Street toward North Street; Sottile and Persip parks will get "a facelift," and the final phases of The Common renovation project should be completed.
A collaborative agreement he negotiated last year with five Berkshire towns will provide the city added leverage in talks with GE and regulators over efforts to mediate pollution from PCBs in the Housatonic River, he said.
And a grant- and city-funded feasibility study this year will determine possible restoration plans for Springside House and Springside Park, Bianchi said. He suggested a working model farm at the 220-acre park for city students, operated in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
The School Committee members sworn in Monday were Daniel Elias, Katherine Yon, Anthony Riello, Cynthia Taylor, Pamela Farron and Josh Cutler.
Bianchi was sworn in by Rudolph A. Sacco, retired justice of Berkshire Probate and Family Court, and Joan McMenemy, first justice of Berkshire County Juvenile Court.
Tyer was sworn in by Richard A. Simons, first justice of Berkshire Probate and Family Court.
The Taconic High School Honor Chorus sang "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful."
The invocation was given by the Rev. John C. Salatino, pastor of St. Mark's Church, and Rabbi Josh Breindel, of Temple Anshe Amunim, gave the benediction.
Veteran Henry "Hank" Morris led the Pledge of Allegiance.
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