Pittsfield officials lay out hopes, goals for Tyer administration
PITTSFIELD — As Mayor-elect Linda M. Tyer prepares to take the oath of office on Monday, a brief survey of other city officials found a mixture of optimism and wait-and-see attitudes at the prospect of a new administration.
Tyer, the current city clerk and a former city councilor, defeated Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi in the Nov. 3 election and is set to begin Pittsfield's first four-year mayoral term following a government charter change approved in 2013.
The inaugural ceremonies also will see 11 councilors, City Clerk-elect Jody Phillips and six School Committee members sworn in to begin new terms.
Asked about the pending change, Ward 1 City Councilor Lisa Tully said on Friday: "I am looking forward to the new administration in the mayor's office. I think this new administration will be more open and communicate better with the City Council. I am looking forward to a hands-on mayor with each of her departments."
She added, "Good management in all departments will be a cost savings for the city. I am looking forward to crime and blight being addressed so we can be proud of our city. I am also looking forward to a mayor who moves our city forward while being mindful of the cost to the taxpayers. I think it's going to be a great four years."
"I hope there will be good conversation and communication skills between the mayor and council," said Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi when asked about the new administration. "I also would like to see that projects and programs that are already in the pipeline are followed through on, such as the Berkshire Innovation Center, the Transformative Development Initiative planned for the Tyler Street/Morningside area; the parking management plan for downtown, and the mentoring program for at risk city youth. ... I also would like to see an overall review of all city departments, and also the school department, and to look to provide for more cost saving measures for our taxpayers."
"It's exciting to be working with a new administration that could provide some fresh perspectives and insights on issues," said School Committee Chairwoman Katherine Yon.
"I'm sure she [Tyer] will be an active member of the School Committee," Yon said, adding that she hopes the new mayor spends time in all of the city schools to become familiarized with each.
A jump-start course in the operation of the 12 city schools could come during the committee's first meeting of the new term, on Jan. 13, Yon said, when a day-long budget session is planned at City Hall. Each principal is expected to do a presentation on their school and its budgetary needs.
"My concerns are public safety, road improvements and controlling the budget," said Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli. "I feel an increase in public safety personnel, both police and fire departments is needed. As you know, both have overtime in the range of $1 million. I feel this is unacceptable and puts a stress on manpower."
Simonelli said he also is eager to see more streetwork in Ward 7, as it is one of three wards deemed most in need of work in a pavement management study last year.
"While maintaining services is important, control of the escalating budget is a priority," he added. "We cannot continue to spend without taking a closer look at consolidation and reducing spending."
Ward 3 Councilor Nicholas Caccamo said he's "excited to see if Linda does keep to the notion of a more inclusive government."
During the Bianchi administration, he said, "I was on the council, but I rarely felt part of the government," and was rarely consulted on issues.
Caccamo said he hopes Tyer will closely examine "the inner workings" of city departments with an eye toward "cross-collaborations and efficiencies," and he would like to hear more information on such topics in the new mayor's inaugural address.
"I'd like to see some good, positive energy over the next four years," he said.
"Quite honestly," said Councilor at large Kathleen Amuso, "I would like Mayor Tyer to present a vision and a strategic plan [in the address] for us on what she would like to see. I think our most important needs are public safety and economic development. And I would like to see us all to work respectfully and professionally together, and with the people who come before us."
The inaugural ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall. Phillips will be sworn in as clerk, and she will then administer the oath of office to School Committee members and to the new City Council.
Council members will hold an organizational meeting for the new term, electing a new council president and vice president, both of whom will then be sworn in for those posts by the clerk.
The council will follow this by approving the rules for council proceedings and drawing council seat numbers for the new term.
Tyer will afterward be administered the oath of office and give the inaugural address.
Other officials to be sworn in are at large councilors Amuso, Peter Marchetti, Melissa Mazzeo and Peter White, and ward councilors Tully, Morandi, Caccamo, Christopher Connell, Donna Todd-Rivers, John Krol and Simonelli.
School Committee members are Yon, Daniel Elias, Pamela Farron, Cynthia Taylor, Anthony Riello and Josh Cutler.
Children will lead the Pledge of the Allegiance during the ceremonies, and the Taconic High School Honors Chorus will sing the national anthem.
The proceedings will be shown on Pittsfield Community Television's Channel 18 and available online at www.pittsfieldtv.org.
Following the event, Tyer will host a reception for the public at the Berkshire Museum on South Street, featuring refreshments from local restaurants and shops.
Entertainment at the reception will be provided by the Pittsfield High School Chamber Orchestra, Cantarella School of Dance, and the Youth Alive! Step Team. Attendance is free and all are welcome.