Springfield offered a little bit of the pomp and circumstance it rarely, but effectively, mustered Monday when the new City Council, the new School Committee, and a reelected Domenic Sarno took the oaths of office.
The tone of the inauguration seemed a pinch more upbeat than the ceremony two years ago. At that time, Springfield remained under the thumb of the Finance Control Board. Sarno had unseated Charles Ryan, Springfield’s police chief had just bought a one-way ticket to Milwaukee, and while the finances had improved, doubt hung in the air. Now, the city is financially stronger and local rule was restored, while ironically, the state’s finances remain precarious and chaos reigns on Beacon Hill.
The speakers, which included Cong. Richard Neal, State Representative Sean Curran, and State Senator Gale Candaras, spoke a great deal about the transition to ward representation. Indeed that was the overarching theme of the swearing in exercising.
Sarno’s speech consisted of a five point plan/set of goals reminiscent of his speech two years ago. However, tempered by two years of governing, the mayor celebrated successes, but set them as longer-term unfinished goals.
Following the inauguration, the city council adjourned to the chambers, cramped as they were pending a renovation. There the final step was taken to formally bring the council into being. Jose Tosado was elected City Council president while E. Henry Twiggs was given the Vice-Presidency. Tosado’s presidency was more or less assured shortly after the election, and with that the committee assignments for the City Council.
It only seemed reasonable that one of the incumbents obtain the Presidency to offer some leadership in this council or new faces. Tosado held the presidency earlier on in tenure of the Control Board and as such served on the FCB. Notably, however, unlike in the past, Tosado is not the sole Hispanic on the Council. Zaida Luna in Ward 1 and Clodo Concepcion of Ward 5 are both Hispanic.
The Council’s first full blown meeting will be Monday. The people voted overwhelmingly for this new council and come next week, we shall see them in action for the first time. Springfield will be watching.