The people of Pittsfield are faced with a choice to lead our city for the next four years.
I’ve worked with both these men while I was on the City Council, working in the Ruberto administration and for the last 12 years as state representative. I consider both of them friends. I am not alone in finding it awkward and difficult to choose between two friends in supporting one for the city’s top job. It might be helpful to voters to know how I came to my decision to support Pete Marchetti. I approached the decision of endorsement by reviewing their resumes, job performance and how they work with others, as would an employer hiring a job-seeker.
Let’s look at Pete’s service on the City Council where he has served for 16 years, the last eight as president. That’s 16 budget cycles, a grueling process where the funding for each department is scrutinized. I was not alone through the years in leaning on Pete to help understand the nuances of budgeting and the annual audits. Pete has served as council president with distinction, running the meetings professionally and handling the sometimes contentious debates with both strength and respect for each colleague.
Even more impressive to me is Pete’s short stints off-council. He did not fold up his tent but rather found significant ways to contribute to the city. After his electoral loss during the WHEN sweep of 2003, Pete was tapped by Mayor James Ruberto to serve on the Conservation Commission, making complex, difficult and technical decisions that often pitted new business development with our duty to protect our natural resources. After his bid for mayor in 2011, Pete was tapped by Mayor Dan Bianchi to co-chair the Charter Review Commission, another challenging job in which our entire charter was reviewed and dozens of updates made.
Pete was a longtime resident of the Morningside and served tirelessly on the Morningside Initiative, including leading it for many years. Pete has a deep commitment to youth, serving for 35 years as a coach and volunteer for youth bowling. He also was an active board member of the Helen Berube Teen Parent Program.
Pete, of course, is well known for saving the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade and sticking with it for more than 20 years. This kind of commitment is rare, and his ability to keep a team together for the long term is impressive.
While out of the public spotlight, Pete’s professional life has been a 35-year career at a local bank rising through the ranks, first on the teller line through to now being entrusted as a senior vice president of retail banking operations.
Lining up the resumes of the two candidates, Pete’s rises to the top. John Krol has served this community, has had a variety of work experiences and has some good ideas. I wish him well. Pete’s deep and abiding service to the community and his consistent career history simply surpasses his opponent.
In these last weeks of the campaign, we have heard from both candidates at debates, community forums and in regular installments in this publication. Many voters have had the opportunity to speak one on one as both candidates have knocked on doors throughout the city. These conversations can be likened to the interview process. When I am listening to them, I find John is criticizing others and deflecting blame while Pete is seeking to build on his predecessors’ successes and bring in new voices for different approaches to long-standing problems.
And now, in these few last days, we hear of a workplace lawsuit involving Pete. This gave me pause. As someone who has fought for years on issues of equity, I had a strong emotional response when reading the complaint. I also know I have a responsibility to my community to go beyond reading the news coverage, to learn more and look at the big picture. I spent the last few days doing just that, and today this is what I am sure of: First, I will continue my work to ensure safe, equitable workplaces for women and other historically marginalized groups. Second, I remain clear in my choice for Pete as mayor.
Just as I did when I made my decision months ago, I line up these two candidates side by side on job history and performance, their public service and how they treat others with whom and for whom they work, and Pete remains my strong choice.
I invite all the voters of Pittsfield to approach this ballot as a hiring process. Compare the resumes. Listen to the debates as if you are interviewing each of them. And lastly, check their references. This longtime city servant recommends Pete Marchetti for mayor.
State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield, represents the 2nd Berkshire District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives