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Mayor-Elect Tyer Says Pittsfield Responded To Differences

Pittsfield voters propelled City Clerk Linda Tyer to a resounding victory over Mayor Dan Bianchi Tuesday.  An exuberant crowd of supporters welcomed Tyer to the Hotel on North Tuesday night after learning their pick would serve Pittsfield’s first four-year mayoral term. Nearly 60 percent of the votes went to the city clerk.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to receive so much support from the voters of the city of Pittsfield,” Tyer said to reporters. “I want everyone to know that I take this responsibility very seriously and I feel honored that I’ve been entrusted to represent the people of Pittsfield as their next mayor.”

About 42 percent of Pittsfield’s roughly 27,000 registered voters cast ballots. Tyer says she didn’t expect such a wide margin.

“It really matters to people that we take seriously the issue of crime and violence in our city,” Tyer said. “I think people want someone who is willing to collaborate, be a partner with other elected officials and organizations in the city – I think that was an important message. I really also think that it’s a generational difference. Mayor Bianchi and I were distinctly different in very many ways and I think Pittsfield responded to that.” 

Speaking to his backers, Mayor Bianchi pointed toward what he says are hopeful signs for the future such as a new Taconic High School and the Berkshire Innovation Center. Talking with reporters, the two-term incumbent says he’s been up against it for a while.

“My opponent had a crew of people who spent the last couple years not being terribly truthful and they did their job,” Bianchi told reporters Tuesday night. “We have a local newspaper that I think they’ve been gunning for me for four years and they succeeded.”

The Berkshire Eagle endorsed Tyer for mayor. Tyer doesn’t agree with Bianchi’s characterization of her supporters.

“The people that he’s referring to supported many of his initiatives,” Tyer said. “I think that when there was disagreement he had a responsibility to exercise leadership rather than creating an adversarial relationship. I think that’s where they ran into trouble.”

Berkshire County Sheriff Tom Bowler supported Bianchi and thanked him for his years in office.

“Dan Bianchi took us to a place that the city has never been before,” Bowler said. “I’m serious when I say that. We’ve progressively moved forward with everything that Dan just talked about. I can’t thank you enough.”

Tyer says she doesn’t expect Bowler’s support for Bianchi to be an issue in her efforts to reduce crime in Pittsfield. City Council President Melissa Mazzeo was reelected for another two years. She’s been an ally of Bianchi’s even though the mayor has had contentious battles with the city council.

“I’m really sad for us right now because I think that we lost an opportunity to keep a really great, honest, hardworking man in office to move us forward where we should be,” said Mazzeo.

Former Pittsfield City Council President Kevin Sherman says the four-year term, born of a charter reform, offers an opportunity to put aside politics.

“You can put together a plan so you’re not worried about keeping your job, you’re worried about doing your job,” Sherman said. “I know that’s what Linda is going to do. She’s going to surround herself with people who can do that and she’s going to work with everybody to reach the potential that we can.”

Tyer says Bianchi did call to offer his congratulations, speaking briefly about a transition.

“I wish her success because her success will be the city’s success,” said Bianchi.

Tyer is expected to take office January 4th. Bianchi says he will stay involved in any way that’s relevant.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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