Our Opinion: Steady speed ahead for Tyer's second term
Coming off a close and hotly contested city election, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer struck a conciliatory tone Monday as she was sworn in for a second four-year term as mayor. It was appropriate and her statement that "We are all Pittsfielders" expressed optimism that Pittsfield will come together after a rancorous last two years of her term. That will depend to an extent on what the mayor takes away from that first term.
Mayor Tyer highlighted accomplishments from her first term and touched upon a few of her goals for his second term before a friendly audience of city and state officials and onlookers. It was interesting that perhaps the loudest round of applause came after she noted that the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail will "finally be extended into Pittsfield." The mayor promised to put more of an emphasis of the city's recreational attractions in the term ahead which is welcome, as the city has natural beauty that has not been fully publicized or exploited.
Mayor Tyer is the second incumbent Berkshire mayor to be sworn in this month as Mayor Thomas Bernard took the oath of office on New Year's Day. Mr. Bernard easily won re-election and will get another two years to focus on building the North Adams economy and revitalization of downtown. The City Council chose Paul Hopkins to be its president.
Peter Marchetti, an ally of the mayor and a proven leader of the City Council, was as expected re-elected to the Council presidency by his peers. At Large Councilor Peter White, an experienced progressive, will serve as vice president. With Councilors Marchetti and White in the leadership team, and four new councilors — Patrick Kavey, Dina Guiel Lampiasi, Yuki Cohen and former Councilor Anthony Maffuccio — on the 11-member council, it is possible that Mayor Tyer will find it easier to pass her initiatives this session. If that is the case, it will also increase the pressure on her to get things done in the city. Selling those initiatives will require her to communicate better with her constituents, largely through the media, than she did in her first term, when good ideas were not sold as aggressively as they needed to be.
Mayor Tyer concluded her address Monday with an anecdote involving driving home from Boston shortly after graduating from college and taking a job in the city. Confronting a snowstorm on the Turnpike, she called her father who recommended "Keep your eyes forward and maintain a steady speed." She indicated that advice summed up her philosophy as mayor, and while her "slow and steady wins the race" approach may not bring the changes people want as quickly as they want them, a steady hand on the tiller will again serve the city well.
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