Nearly a fifth of state’s mayors stepping down
COVID appears to be a factor in many of the decisions
EIGHT MASSACHUSETTS mayors – nearly a fifth of all the mayors in the state – have announced they are stepping down this year.
Five of them, including Thomas Bernard of North Adams, Joe Curtatone of Somerville, Donna Holaday of Newburyport, Tom McGee of Lynn, and David Narkiewicz of Northampton, chose not to run for reelection.
Three other mayors either have left or are planning to leave their posts to take new jobs. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is expected to be confirmed next week as Labor Secretary in the Biden administration. Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse is taking the job of town manager in Provincetown. And Dan Rivera, facing a term limit ceiling in Lawrence, took the top job at MassDevelopment.
There is no universal explanation for their decisions, but COVID-19 appeared to be a key contributing factor, particularly for those choosing not to run again.
Curtatone, after nearly 18 years in office, told the Boston Globe that he was exhausted from dealing with the pandemic. “I’m tired of COVID — I’m not tired of the job. My passion for public service is there,” he said. “I feel good about [leaving], but I’m not excited. And that’s good. I can do it another 20 years, but I don’t think I should.”Narkiewicz, after a decade in office, said it felt like the right time to step away. “It’s a grueling job. It’s a 24/7 job,” Narkewicz said. “I’m grateful to my family. It’s a sacrifice for them, and I’m so grateful to them for allowing me the opportunity to do this work and supporting me.”
Bernard, after four years in office, said he felt like he couldn’t campaign, run the city, and respond to COVID all at the same time. “You look at it and you say, ‘All right, I can do COVID recovery, I can do management and leadership, I can do campaign,’” he told the Williamstown Record. “I can try to do two of those things well, but if I try and take on all three, it’s going to slip. It’s the right decision for me, it’s the right decision for my family, and it’s the right decision for the city.”