SPRINGFIELD—A new calendar year also means a new municipal year here. The only formal order of business in the new year was the installation of the Council President. At-large Councilor Jesse Lederman had already secured the votes for a full term as President in 2023. Yet, this is no ordinary municipal year.
Clodo Concepion, the Cuban émigré who made his life in Springfield and ultimately his way to the City Council, died Saturday. A presence in labor and a force in 16 Acres, Concepcion became the first ward councilor from Ward 5 in 50 years.
The year 2022 has come and gone with much affecting the City of Springfield. As a part of the commonwealth, nation and world, it felt inflation, the war in Ukraine, national political contests and the state’s own elections.
The ballot for Springfield’s first City Council special election since ward representation returned has now closed. All seven of the original aspirants for the empty Ward 5 Council seat have returned their papers for the race.
The hottest race involving Springfield at the end of summer could be one nobody saw coming. In the few days since the Election Commission released petitioning papers for the Ward 5 special election ballot candidates have flooded the field faster than Lake Massasoit has refilled its lakebed.
When word got around that now-former Ward 5 City Councilor Marcus Williams was resigning, councilors winced at what lay ahead. Last year, they had to appoint a replacement for Senator Adam Gomez after he resigned his Ward 1 seat.
Little did anybody in City Hall realize, councilors’ role in filling vacant ward seats no longer existed.
Springfield City Council President and Ward 5 Councilor Marcus Williams will resign both positions, thus triggering a new succession process. Just over a year ago, Williams oversaw the filling of now-State Senator Adam Gomez’s Council seat.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively settled a lingering question. Who really controls the government of the city of Springfield? The justices of the commonwealth’s highest court clearly, decisively and unanimously found in favor of the separation of powers. The City Council shares that power.
This week Springfield City Council President Marcus Williams released his committee assignments for the municipal legislature. It comes days after beginning his second year atop the Council and his fourth term as the Ward 5 Councilor.
Cities up and down the Pioneer Valley swore in their new governments Monday. In two cities new mayors took office while a third formally began his full term.