By Carley Dangona
WEST SPRINGFIELD – West Side ushered in its new year with an inauguration ceremony.
On Jan. 6, the elected officials of the town were sworn into office in the auditorium of West Springfield High School. The event was originally scheduled to take place Jan. 2, but was postponed due to the snowstorm. Due to ice that Monday, the West Springfield Band was unable to perform at the celebration.
Mayor Edward Sullivan was sworn in as well as School Committee members Kathleen Alevras, Nancy Farrell, Patricia Garbacik, Jose Irizary, Michelle Serafino and Joseph Sutton. The Town Council also took the oath of office and is comprised of at-large Councilors Brian Clune, Bridget Fiala, Bruce Gendron, Brian Griffin, George Kelly, District 1 Councilor Angus Rushlow, District 2 Councilor Lida Powell, District 3 Councilor George Condon III and District 4 Councilor John Sweeney.
“The town does not operate by itself. It’s operation is guided by these elected officials. They are now responsible for the town as an entity greater than the sum of its parts. They must work to safeguard the town’s well-being; to make sure it operates as it should and it can succeed in its primary goal to serve the citizens. Just as tree adds a ring for every year that it grows, the town will grow and be shaped by the contributions made by these elected officials,” Otto Frizzell, town clerk, said during his introduction to the ceremony.
Sullivan gave an inaugural address after all officials took the oath. He said, “From the bottom of my heart, it’s an honor to be elected your third mayor. I will make every to earn the support and respect of those who supported my opponent.”
He continued, “I will work with our elected officials, municipal employees and West Springfield’s neighbors to enhance our quality of life and to serve and protect the residents and businesses of West Springfield. I will work to expand our economic outreach – I will not work in isolation, but instead in conjunction with those who wish to partner with us for economic growth. Any partnership should be for the benefit of all concerned.”
Sullivan stated that he wanted to establish “true transparency” and said that the town has already begun the process of placing its checkbook online to allow taxpayers to see firsthand how their money is being spent. He explained the mayor’s office now opens at 7:30 a.m. and will open at 7 a.m. beginning June 1 to accommodate the varied schedules of residents.
Encouraging residents to become engaged in the town’s operations, he said, “I offer a seat at the table to anyone that wants to make West Springfield a better place.”
Immediately following the ceremony, an organizational meeting of the Town Council led by veteran councilor Kelly took place where Sweeney was elected as president and Griffin its vice president.