The City Council in the largest city in western Massachusetts has chosen new leadership for 2021.
Marcus Williams, a three-term member of the Springfield City Council who represents Ward 5, is the unanimous choice of his colleagues to be the president of the legislative body in 2021.
"Thank you for the love you have shown Springfield all of my colleagues and thank you for the opportunity to be your president," Williams said during brief remarks Monday night.
The vote to designate Williams as the next council president came during a caucus of the full 13-member body at the conclusion of the final scheduled meeting of this year. The selection must be officially ratified at the council’s organizational meeting on January 4th, 2021.
Williams will be the 36th Springfield City Council President.
" 2020 has been very unpredictable, as this election has show," said Williams. "I am more committed than ever to leading this Council as this city heals."
Because, for the first time in anyone’s memory, no councilor prior to the annual caucus had secured commitments from enough colleagues to be picked as president, the meeting had suspense and a bit of tension over a rules dispute on how to proceed with multiple candidates seeking the presidency.
Prior to the meeting, Williams along with current Council President Justin Hurst and Ward 3 Councilor Melvin Edwards were jockeying for the support of their colleagues. During the caucus, Hurst was not nominated, and Edwards dropped out.
" I wish whoever becomes the next Council president godspeed and you will have my friendship and support," said Edwards.
City Councilors voted unanimously to tap Councilor-at-Large Trayce Whitfield to be the next Vice President. She will be the first Black woman to hold the office in the city’s history.
"It is an honor and a privalege to hold such a title and hopefully one day move up to president," said Whitfield.
Whitfield on January 4th will succeed Ward 1 City Councilor Adam Gomez as vice president. Gomez in January will become a State Senator but he plans to remain on the City Council for the final year of his term. Likewise, City Councilor and State Representative-elect Orlando Ramos has decided to hold both offices in 2021.
Councilors praised President Hurst for his work to keep the Council functioning during 2020 when meeting in person was not possible due to the pandemic. Since March, the Council has held all its regular meetings, hearings, and committee meetings on Zoom.
It will be up to Council President-elect Williams now to decide if and when to return to in-person meetings.