Nearly a fifth of state’s mayors stepping down
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.”
Remote work looks like it’s here to stay in Massachusetts, with major implications for employees, employers, cities, office developers, and transit agencies.
A group that includes some well-known journalists is preparing to launch a local news website in New Bedford. Mayor Jon Mitchell called the arrival of the New Bedford Light a positive development, noting the city’s current newspaper, the Standard-Times, is a shadow of what it once was. “I don’t think we can be a functioning city without a functioning and trusted news source,” he said.
Opinion: The pandemic has laid bare many of the inequities in the state’s legal system, says Anthony Benedetti, chief counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services. … Emma Kahn of Partners for Youth with Disabilities says it’s very disruptive for high school students with disabilities to age out of the system mid-year and say goodbye to their friends before the school year ends.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
Essential workers are relieved that they will finally become eligible for a COVID vaccine. (Salem News)
The killing of 8 people at three different Asian-run spas in Georgia is amplifying already elevated heightened concerns about anti-Asian hate crimes. (Washington Post)
A Boston union wants area hotels to commit to bringing back furloughed workers and replacing them with new hires as business picks ups. (Boston Globe)
Restaurants hope they will be allowed to continue selling cocktails to go even after the pandemic. (The Herald News)
A bar fight is brewing over the state’s newly-enacted craft beer law. (Boston Globe)
Vendors at the iconic Brimfield Flea Market are unhappy with the Brimfield select board’s proposal to institute fines for violating various bylaws. (MassLive)
The Patriot-Ledger examines the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children.
Bentley University names it first black president, E. LaBrent Chrite. (Boston Globe)
The state’s entire congressional delegation sent a letter to MBTA officials demanding an explanation for service cuts or a reversal of the moves in light of $1 billion in federal relief that the transit agency has received. (Boston Herald)
The state is investigating and could fine railroad operator CSX for parking trains in front of railroad crossings in Agawam and West Springfield, blocking intersections for long periods of time. (MassLive)
Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins files a motion to allow her office to clear Sean Ellis, whose murder and armed robbery charges in connection with the 1993 killing of a Boston police detective have already been overturned, of a remain gun possession conviction, but Boston police officials say the evidence still supports his guilt on those charges. (Boston Herald)
Springfield police commissioner Cheryl Clapprood argues in an op-ed that police reform bills are making it harder for police departments to recruit and retain workers. (MassLive)
The Massachusetts Bail Fund pays $100,000 to secure the release of a Milton woman facing murder charges for allegedly dropping her newborn baby in a trash barrel. (Boston Globe)
PASSINGSDick Hoyt of Holland, who pushed his wheelchair-bound son in more than two dozen Boston Marathons, dies at 80. (Telegram & Gazette)
James Levine, the scandal-plagued, musically brilliant former director of the Metropolitan Opera and Boston Symphony Orchestra, died at age 77. (Boston Globe)