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Marcus Williams resigns Springfield City Council seat, gives up Council presidency

Marcus Williams announced at a press conference on May 31, 2022 that is resigning effective immediately from the Springfield City Council. He was president of the body at the time.
Paul Tuthill
Marcus Williams announced at a press conference on May 31, 2022 that is resigning effective immediately from the Springfield City Council. He was president of the body at the time.

Williams said after much thought he decided to pursue other career opportunities

There is a change in leadership and a vacancy on the legislative body in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Citing an opportunity to deepen his career in the philanthropic sector, Marcus Williams resigned Tuesday from the Springfield City Council, a move that also ends his tenure as president of the legislative body after a year-and-a-half.

“There have been many days and thoughts leading up to this decision and it was not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination,” Williams said.

Speaking at a City Hall news conference just before submitting his official resignation letter, Williams said he had recently been promoted to donor services manager for the Amherst-based Proteus Fund. He confirmed he is considering moving to Georgia.

“I am not holding off any prospects in looking at other places to reside to deepen my relationship in the philanthropic sector,” Williams said.

City Councilor Jesse Lederman, the Vice President of the Council, is automatically elevated to Council President.

Because Williams ran unopposed for reelection to his Ward 5 Council seat in 2021, the other 12 members of the City Council will vote to appoint someone to fill the remainder of his unexpired two-year term.

In 2015, Williams upset incumbent Ward 5 City Councilor Clodo Concepcion, and at the age of 25 became the youngest person of color to win election in Springfield.

“Springfield and Ward 5, specifically, I hope I made you proud,” he said.

Recalling his accomplishments as a City Councilor, Williams said he was proud of introducing legislation to help advance entrepreneurs in the food truck industry and for prodding Mayor Domenic Sarno to appoint the city’s first Chief Diversity Officer.

Williams, who said he will continue to pursue a budding acting career, said for now he’s done with politics, but he did not shut the door completely.

“Whether it is in Springfield or some other place, I have a lot of experience to bring to the table,” he said. “I am a 33-year-old man with hopefully a lot of life to live.”

Lederman said he is “wholly prepared, honored, and humbled” to assume the presidency of the City Council. He said the Council’s business would proceed without interruption.

“Marcus is first and foremost a dear friend,” Lederman said. “Serving with him has been a great honor and a joy.”

As for filling the vacancy, Lederman said the same process will be followed as in 2021 when State Senator Adam Gomez resigned his Ward 1 seat.

At that time, several City Councilors said they would prefer to give the voters of Ward 1 the opportunity to pick their representative, but that would require a change to the city charter to have a special election.

City Councilor Zaida Govan, who is in her first term representing Ward 8, said she hopes people who are active in civic affairs in Ward 5 step forward to be considered for appointment to the Council.

“I will certainly talk to people in Ward 5 and see what their thoughts are and I will definitely bring their voice in as much as I can,” she said.

Ward 5 encompasses the Sixteen Acres and Pine Point neighborhoods of the city.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.