|By G. Michael Dobbs|
CHICOPEE Mayor Michael Bissonnette confirmed to Reminder Publications that he would be running for a fifth term.
With Treasurer Ernest Laflamme Jr. retiring as well as Stanley Kulig and Stanley Walczak, the heads of the Department of the Public Works and the Parks and Recreation Department respectively, along with several other officials, Bissonnette expressed concerns about continuity in the municipal government.
"Somebody has to watch the store," he said.
Bissonnette added he has been aware of some of the departures for the past eight months, which influenced his decision not to run for Clerk of Courts last year.
The mayor also said that corporate recruiters for several positions have approached him.
He admitted he does miss his law practice at times.
When asked if he would have run for a fifth time if the retirements hadn't taken place, Bissonnette said, "I don't play the 'what if' game too often."
Now, his charge is to guide the city through more anticipated cutbacks and the effects of a downsizing at Westover Air Reserve Base.
He said his advocacy of a four-year term for mayor is to avoid what happens the second year of the present two-year term.
"You have to take your eye off the ball running the city," he said. "It's difficult to do long-range planning."
Bissonnette said he expects the campaign will go into full gear after Labor Day and he added he has a good core of volunteers and the ability to raise funding.
Speaking on the state of the city, Bissonnette said he acknowledges "there are always going to be a few on the City Council and elsewhere who don't want to believe what their eyes can see."
He added, "Sometimes I have to say 'no' to people,'" something which can create political critics.
Bissonnette expressed hope that people in Chicopee would take this election as time to run for office.
"It's a good time to inject new blood in city government," he said.
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