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Pittsfield's Tyer Promises Devotion To People During Inauguration

Mayor Linda Tyer was sworn into office Monday, becoming the first person to be elected to a four-year mayoral term in Pittsfield. Tyer is just the third woman to lead Berkshire County’s biggest city.“I am deeply humbled that I have been entrusted by the people of Pittsfield to lead our city for the next four years,” said Tyer.

Linda Tyer says a new chapter has arrived in Pittsfield, one in which she intends to devote herself to the city’s residents.

“To the people of Pittsfield I make this vow…I will devote every day to protecting our neighborhoods, to creating a community where every person thrives and to shaping a modern city where prosperity is for all. I will remember you when I am faced with difficult decisions. I will celebrate with you when you succeed. I will honor you in all that we celebrate and endeavor to achieve. I will listen. I will learn. I will lead.”

That was the message Tyer delivered to a crowd of people that filled the City Council chambers and surrounding hallways in City Hall Monday. State Senator Ben Downing, Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless and a number of former Pittsfield mayors were on hand for the inauguration ceremony. Tyer’s predecessor Dan Bianchi was not in attendance, but the mayor says he reached out to congratulate her beforehand.

Public safety was one of Tyer’s key campaign points and now that she is in office says she plans to meet with Police Chief Michael Wynn to discuss youth anti-violence efforts and increasing the police force.

“Obviously there is a process where they have to be selected and then they participate in the academy so I think that’s at least a six to eight month, but I’m hopeful that we can send some recruits to the upcoming academy this winter,” said Tyer.

Receiving roughly 60 percent of the vote, Tyer beat two-term Mayor Bianchi in November. Tyer is serving a four-year term thanks to a city charter change in 2013. Previously Pittsfield’s mayors served two-year terms. Part of her message Monday was the need to work collaboratively and not walk alone as Pittsfield’s leader.

“This is going to require all of us together to create what we believe is a beautiful, thriving and vibrant city,” said Tyer.

Also on Monday, Peter Marchetti was unanimously elected council president. Marchetti garnered the most votes when he ran for an at-large city council seat in November. He says economic development and public safety are the top priorities for the city’s leaders. Marchetti served two stints on the council, part of it alongside Tyer.

“We have not always agreed on issues, but we know how to communicate, collaborate and compromise,” Marchetti said. “I think that’s what we’ll see from a Tyer-Marchetti administration going forward.”

Mayor Bianchi and the previous city council led by then-President Melissa Mazzeo, who supported Bianchi’s campaign and is starting her fourth term on the council, had a history of butting heads.

“I know it will change,” Marchetti said. “The bus is leaving and those that want to get on it and move for a better Pittsfield are going to be working for a better Pittsfield and those that don’t…the voters will have their say in a couple years.”

And in conjunction with the theme of working together, the Taconic High School choir offered the lyrics of the 1967 hit “Happy Together” by The Turtles.

Eight of the 11 city councilors were re-elected in November while two others previously served on the council. Ward 5’s Donna Todd-Rivers is the only member without council experience. Marchetti nominated Ward 6 Councilor John Krol to be vice president and the choice was unanimously approved by the council. Councilors were granted the authority to confirm the vice presidential nomination as part of a rule change in December. In the past, the president picked the VP. Krol previously worked as Berkshire Bureau Chief for WAMC.

Jody Phillips was sworn in as clerk filling the spot vacated by Mayor Tyer. The newly-elected school committee members were also sworn in during Monday’s inauguration.

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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