Another councilor set to resign seat

WESTFIELD – James E. Brown Jr., is set to resign his seat as the Ward 2 City Council representative due to the demands of his post in the Department of Homeland Security.
Brown, the chairman of the council’s Legislative and Ordinance Committee issued a statement this morning announcing his plans to resign from the council effective Sept. 1, 2012.
“It is with great sadness that I announce today that I will be resigning from my position as the Ward 2 City Councilor effective September 1, 2012,” Brown said. “As I close in on finishing my third year representing the residents of Ward 2, I have come to realize that my commitment to my position as Assistant Field Office Director for Homeland Security’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement ERO in the Boston Field Office has increased to a level that does not allow me to serve the Ward residents in the way I believe they deserve.
“To that end I have decided to relinquish my seat on the Council and look to my collegues to fill the vacancy with another Ward 2 resident who is willing to represent the people proudly,” Brown said in the email release.
City Council President Christopher Keefe said that Brown has yet to submit a formal letter of resignation to City Clerk Karen Fanion and that Brown will participate in the Aug. 30 special City Council meeting.
Keefe declined to address the process of naming a new councilor to represent Ward 2 residents.
Brown’s resignation is the second of a ward councilor representing the downtown CORE area. City Councilor Peter J. Miller Jr. resigned effective April 30, 2012 after serving more than eight years representing the residents of Ward 3.
Brown, like Miller, was unopposed in the elections last fall. If the resigning council member was opposed in the polls, that losing candidate will assume that council seat.
Miller’s seat was filled by the council appointment of Ann Callahan who will complete Miller’s term in office.
The City Council requested Ward 3 residents interested in serving on the council to submit their name for consideration, although any member of the council could have submitted a candidate from the council floor.
The process of replacing Miller spanned two council meetings, with candidates named at one session and a new ward councilor selected by vote of the remaining 12 councilors at a second session.
The council, through Keefe, may elect to use the same process to appoint a Ward 2 representative because Brown was unopposed last November.
The council used a different process to name a new At-large councilor following the death of Patti Andras because there were several candidates who failed to win election last fall. The failed candidate with the next highest vote count, Kevin Harraghy, was appointed to complete Andras’ term.
Brown currently commutes to Burlington located off Route 128 (Interstate 95) on a daily basis, dealing with the traffic jams which often delay his return to the city for evening meetings.
Brown referred to that commute as one of the reasons he is unable to properly, in his opinion, serve residents of Ward 2.
Brown was elected to the City Council two years ago after Daniel M. Knapik, who has held that ward seat, was elected mayor. Brown was one of four candidates for the Ward 2 post. The other three candidates were Jeffrey J. LaValley of Lois Street; Daniel R. Hitchcock of East Silver Street; and Cindy C. Harris of South Maple Street.

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