By G. Michael Dobbs
CHICOPEE – Even though his wife quipped that Chicopee was going green by recycling its mayor, Mayor Richard Kos did offer those who attended his inauguration at the Elms College on Jan. 6 several surprises including exploring the possibility of a six-year high school program and assuming responsibility for the Police Department.
The mayor did not provide any details in his address into what a six-year high school program would entail nor how he would direct the Police Department.
Several hundred people attended the ceremony in Veritas Auditorium of Berchmans Hall on the campus of Elms College. All of the newly elected members of government took their oath of office at the event. Hampden County Superior Court Judge Edward McDonough administered the oath to Kos.
Kos said he accepted the affirmation of the voters with “a thankful heart” and added, “As a son of a carpenter, I renew my pledge to build a better Chicopee.”
Kos also affirmed his commitment to fiscal conservatism and said municipal projects such as federally mandated sewer separations would be done within “our ability to pay.” He said he would consider municipal improvements by keeping “an eye on the bottom line and be cognizant of the burden on taxpayers.”
He added, “I will use public resources to strategically to stimulate private investments.” Kos said that Chicopee will be “marketed on a regional basis.”
Kos said a strong school system will attract homeowners and businesses to Chicopee and that he would work through his capacity as chair of the School Committee to improve the city’s schools.
His said the technology programs offered by the city’s schools offer “unique opportunities” for students, but that the city must look into such improvements are six-year high school programs, additional internships and to “blend secondary education with continuing education to better prepare the students and their families for the jobs of the future.”
Other initiatives Kos might undertake will be revealed in the release of the reports from members of his transition team who were charged with updating the new mayor with the status of a number of issues, including education, economic development, public works and finance.
He said the Police Department would be “under my direct control.” He added, “Current reports of departmental dysfunction are not acceptable. The focus of that department as well as every other municipal department will be how it can best serves the public and how that public is being served.”
He said the operations of the Police Department would be “transparent.”
Kos said his decisions on municipal matters would be made “on the best information available” and that his dealing with others in government would be based on “logic and respect.”
Kos said, “All I can promise you today is two words, two word that were under my name on many lawn signs this past fall: honesty and integrity. That is my promise to you today: honesty and integrity.”
His concluding remarks drew a standing ovation.
Later that day Kos announced members of his mayoral staff. Mary Mogé, who has spent 25 years in business mostly at MassMutual Financial Group. She has also served as a trustee for the Chicopee Municipal Home and was appointed a board member of the Chicopee Council on Aging. She is a graduate of both Cathedral High and Holyoke Community College, with an Associate of Science degree in Accounting.
Joel McAuliffe will serve as the Kos’ Communications and Special Projects manager. McAuliffe has run for School Committee twice, worked in media and education as substitute teacher and coach. McAuliffe has attended Springfield Technical Community College.
Janet Olbrych, worked most recently for Valassis Sales and Marketing as assistant to the vice president of Client Marketing in Windsor, Conn. She also spent time as an instructor for the Chicopee Adult Education program. She earned her associate degree in business administration from Holyoke Community College.
All three are Chicopee residents.