Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers poses with President Peter Marchetti at the last City Council meeting of 2019. Todd Rivers and her fellow departing councilors were presented with plaques for their service.
Councilor at Large and former President Melissa Mazzeo leaves after 10 years. She urged the new and returning councilors not to forget their oath.
Four-term Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli says he'll be spending time with his grandchildren.
Council Vice President and five-term Ward 7 Councilor John Krol says councilors should work for their constituents and not worry about political repercussions.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council held its last meeting of 2019 on Tuesday and said goodbye to four members who will not be returning in 2020.
Before the closing of the meeting, Council President Peter Marchetti thanked Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers, Ward 6 Councilor John Krol, Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli, and Councilor at Large Melissa Mazzeo for their service and presented them with a plaque.
"I wish the four of you good luck in your future endeavors," he said.
Marchetti gave each council member a moment to say a few words and Krol, who was elected in 2009, took time to thank his family and constituents.
"This has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of the city of Pittsfield," Krol said. "I think everyone should take the tour in government. My tour was a little bit longer than I anticipated ... I can tell you when I first came to the city I was inspired by the opportunity to truly make the city, we used to say, the greatest small city in the north east."
His seat will be filled by newcomer Dina Guiel Lampiasi
Mazzeo also was elected in 2009 and decided not to seek re-election and instead to run for mayor. She said she never just voted to "follow the crowd" and learned a lot on the council. She added that she learned the importance of knowing that the council's decisions truly do affect people and was thankful for all the friends she has met in her 10 years.
"There were a lot of contentious times ... but I met people throughout my 10 years on the council that today I call great friends," she said. "I really enjoyed those phone calls when you can help someone and they are really appreciative. It makes it all worthwhile."
She added that she looked forward to spending more time with her family and told the remaining councilors to not be surprised if she shows up during public comment.
The other three at-large incumbents were re-elected with newcomer Yuki Cohen taking the seat being vacated by Mazzeo.
Rivers, who stepped down after serving on the council since 2015, said she never really anticipated running for council but thanked the members of her ward who encouraged her.
"I never thought I'd be up here. It was never my intention to run for council and I want to thank my community who many years ago kind of picked me," she said. "I am thankful for those people who saw something in me and thought I could represent them. It has been quite the journey and I have enjoyed it."
Her seat will be filled by newcomer Patrick Kavey
Simonelli, who will step down after serving since 2012, said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family. He also thanked his constituents for their support over the years. He added that he always tried to do the right thing.
"Be your own person. To me it is always more important not to do the correct thing but to do the right thing," he said. "That is what I have stood on."
His seat will be filled by Anthony Maffuccio, who is returning to the council after 10-year absence.
Some of those leaving also imparted some advice for both incoming and re-elected counselors.
"Follow what you truly believe and not worry about political repercussions," Krol said. "Do not worry about how it may look from a political standpoint because we are put here to do what we can for our constituents."
"Good luck and be true to yourself," Mazzeo said. "Keep your oath in mind."
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