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We asked what kind of leader Peter Marchetti and John Krol will be if elected Pittsfield's mayor.

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

PITTSFIELD — While colleagues on City Council, residents may not have seen much difference between Peter Marchetti and John Krol. For many years the councilors’ votes were aligned.


As Marchetti and Krol are asking voters to hire them for the top leadership role in the city, they drew differences between their leadership styles in a recent sit-down with The Berkshire Eagle.



Both candidates called out what they see as current issues in the way city leaders communicate with their constituents. Open communication between the mayor’s office and residents is central to the way both politicians say they’ll run the office.





More questions and answers from The Eagle’s sit-down with the candidates will be published in the coming days. To watch a full video of the meeting, visit bit.ly/3PT0yrR.


Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.



Pittsfield mayoral candidates John Krol and Peter Marchetti visited The Berkshire Eagle on Thursday, Sept. 21, to discuss issues ranging from deferred maintenance and how to fund it and from to downtown Pittsfield to how they would run the city.


THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE: John … describe what you think a Krol administration would look like because you’re running it.


JOHN KROL: I think the mayor of Pittsfield, especially today, needs to have entrepreneurial spirit. It has to be looking at Pittsfield and positioning ourselves as the hub of the culturally rich Berkshires. That means selling the city. That means being very assertive and aggressive in making sure we are doing projects to move the city forward.


So for example, going right ahead and making sure we get that Wright building developed in downtown Pittsfield. You know we don't have a sense of urgency right now on that. We have to bring a sense of urgency to many of these issues and an entrepreneurial spirit.


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I've been a small business owner, I've worked in the corporate world — certainly in health care and particularly in marketing and sales — and I think that's a key thing, because you have to be able to make a case. I think just like when it comes to going to Boston and saying, 'Hey, we’ve got to get that funding to come in for our schools to get AC into our schools and the HVAC going.' It's the same thing with selling the downtown and being able to recruit businesses to our city and getting things together so that we're doing things now.


I heard a conversation at the polls the other day in regard to planning and economic development. One of the statements was well, you know, this really takes a long time. This has to be done over a decade. This has to be over 15 years. No, it doesn't. It can happen right now. So it should be a one- or two-year plan to get things accomplished, not a long-term plan. It shouldn't take decades to get things accomplished. We need to start thinking about doing things right now.



We are perfectly positioned in so many ways. I think there's a lot of low hanging fruit if we address some of the issues in our city, make our downtown beautiful. As far as public works and public services, I have a plan for that. Maybe you remember back in the day when John Barrett III came into the city of Pittsfield — it was amazing, because we completely changed the complexion of public works at that time.


People were really, really happy about it. So I have a plan to bring that culture back to public services, because that will make a big, big difference in the way people feel about the city. People when they're paying high taxes — and they are, we know it — they want to see something in return. It's the big stuff, but it's also those little things. And so public works and public services, we need to be more business friendly. In the first 45 days, I want to go into the Building Inspector’s Office and really change the culture of that to be able to get things accomplished, as opposed to putting up roadblocks. That's the reputation in our city, it's why a lot of contractors don't do work in Pittsfield.


These are things that we've identified and — again, not a 10-year plan — we have to go in there and look at it as a one and two-year plan. So it's that entrepreneurial spirit that I'll bring to City Hall.


THE EAGLE: What would the city of Pittsfield look like with Mayor Marchetti?


PETER MARCHETTI: In the Marchetti administration we're going to start on Nov. 8. [When] we're mayor-elect, we’re going to start meeting with the department heads, we’re going to start having conversations with department heads.



First off, we're going to lay out what the vision of the Marchetti administration is, how we want to get things done and where we want to go and make sure that those that are there think that they can meet that challenge. I think you're going to find that some of them are not going to want to meet that challenge, or after our conversation we'll agree to disagree and we'll make plans. But we need to be setting out our six- and 12-month goals of what we need to accomplish. After the first three months, where are we? Are we going to hit our goals? If not, what kind of resources do we have?


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We have projects already underway that we need to tell people are happening. We've got some affordable housing redevelopments happening in the city that as I'm knocking on doors, folks don't even know they're happening. We have the redevelopment of Site 9 that is just around the corner, where there's $13.5 million-worth of investments to completely redevelop and make three parcels for homes for three businesses.


And I think at the end of the day, the one thing that we do is open the doors and communicate more of what's going on and when there's a problem, we own it.


I go back to the December snowstorm, the Christmas snowstorm. Clearly there cannot be a single person in the city that thinks that we did a decent job of plowing back then. I got contacted by WAMC and did an interview and they were asking questions. All I could do was apologize and say the road conditions were horrific. Now, I'm not the mayor currently, and I'm not the one that gets to direct the public service commissioner of what to do. But I took the responsibility, and I said that we screwed up and I apologized. And the other commissioner followed me in that same interview saying, 'Hey, we did a great job.' Those things can't happen.



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When there's a problem, the buck stops with the mayor. We're all human, we all make mistakes and we’ve all got to own them when we do them. And so if we screw up on a snowstorm, we own it and we move on. And that's the vision that I'm going to bring to the City Hall.


KROL: If I can quickly add: The core of my administration will be the most accessible mayor's office in the history of the city. What that means is there are four entrances to City Hall, three of them have been closed since COVID. We're going to open up those doors — it’s long overdue. We need to do that.


There's going to be an open door policy in the mayor's office. I think we'll take it off the hinges from the hallway. When I worked in the mayor's office, that was certainly the way that we approached things. We were very welcoming to residents. Now a resident can't just walk in and talk to the mayor — that's not what we're talking about — but they can certainly ask for a meeting. They can interact with the two assistants in the mayor's office.


We also will do a weekly open press conference … We'll just go over whatever reporters want to hear. I'm very, very comfortable with reporters. I was one … So I think that communication and people hearing regular updates, that isn't just one way. It's not just coming from the city. It’s an open conversation. I think having that is valuable and it holds the office accountable. It's not just simply a nice thing to do. It actually is part of the process to say, 'OK, well, you talked about this last week, John, about this project. What have we gotten done this week?' 'Sorry, nothing to report — we didn't move it forward — but by next week, we hope to have something to report to you,' that sort of thing. That regular conversation in the open press conference is absolutely something that we’ll do.



MARCHETTI: I was just going to say, doors open on day one. I don't think I'm gonna take the hinges off of the door of the mayor's office, but people are more than welcome to come in.


I mean, you ask the question: Would we be an in-City Hall mayor or out-of-City Hall mayor? I think there needs to be the right balance. When I was at the Senior Center last week, we had conversations and they're like ‘the mayor never comes here to have conversations.’ They have coffee with a counselor every Monday before there's a council meeting. Maybe on a quarterly basis, we set up a coffee with the mayor. What are your concerns? What are you hearing? What do you want to hear?


And so not just press conferences, but also going to a variety of organizations — including the senior center —and having conversations. Knocking on doors, the one thing that is pretty clear is that people are OK with holding you accountable and letting you know where you missed the mark. Maybe we need more of that, because that wouldn't help us keep pushing the projects through and making sure that we get the job done.


Up next: We ask the candidates how they plan to appeal to voters who chose councilor Karen Kalinowsky in the preliminary election.


Meg Britton-Mehlisch can be reached at mbritton@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6149

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