Council accepts gift, reappoints Planning Board members

The City Council accepted a gift for the Police Department from the family of Anthony “Tony” Amanti. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – The City Council accepted a gift donation of $1,000 to the Police Department DARE Account from the family of Anthony “Tony” Amanti, who passed away on April 24, 2021.
Ward 3 Councilor Ralph J. Figs said that Amanti was a longstanding member of the community and a large benefactor. With his passing, the police provided an escort to the family to circle Advance Manufacturing, the company Amanti founded, on the way to the cemetery so he could go to work one more time. The gift was a token of appreciation from the family to the police.
“Every single charitable cause in this community, every public building that was built for a charitable cause has Tony’s name on it, the Amanti name on it, and Advance Manufacturing’s name on it. An example of someone who lived the American dream and gave back to their community — Tony Amanti was a living example of that,” said At-large Councilor Richard K. Sullivan Jr.
At-large Councilor James R. Adams said the procession was a way for the people who work at Advance Manufacturing to say goodbye to him.

“This is something the police department does every day and it doesn’t go unnoticed,” he said, thanking them and the Amanti family for everything they have done for the city.

“The Amanti family has always been there for us, and has done so much for us over the years,” said Police Capt. Jerome Pitoniak during the meeting.

Reappointments to the Planning Board were also on the agenda, brought forward by Personnel Action Committee chair Cindy C. Harris.  She said all of the reappointments were supported by City Planner Jay Vinskey.

Bernard Puza was reappointed until February 2026. Harris said Puza is employed by Anderson Corp. as a territory sales representative working with architects and builders on projects for local lumbers yards. Previously he worked for 17 years with Servistar Corp. Puza is part of the National Association of Homebuilders, among others, and he is a Certified Green Professional. He was first appointed as an alternate member to the Planning Board in 2017.

Ward 6 Councilor William Onyski said all of the planning board members take their job seriously. “They are very sincere and dedicated to the city, and make very difficult decisions based on the laws and regulations. It’s a thankless job, and I thank all four candidates for reappointment,” he said.

“I agree 100 percent. I believe this is one of the boards that we should be re-evaluating compensation for. I believe they’re grossly underpaid for what they do and the hours they put in,” said At-large Councilor Dave Flaherty.

“They do an extensive amount of work on a myriad of issues, plus evaluate sites year-round in all kinds of weather. There are tough decisions that have to be made to follow the law. They all do an exceptional job,” agreed At-large Councilor Dan Allie.

Also reappointed was Robert Goyette, Jr., until February, 2025. Harris said Goyette is the Ward 5 representative, and was first appointed in 2016. He is president and owner of Heritage Homes, Inc., and has 30 plus years experience in the construction field. A lifelong resident of Westfield, Goyette has also served on the Airport Commission, the board of the Boys & Girls Club, and coached Parks & Recreation basketball for years.

Cheryl Crowe was reappointed as a member of the planning board until February, 2022. Harris said Crowe was initially appointed in 2016, and before that served as an alternate member. Crowe served the U.S. Air Force from 1983 to 1992 with commendation medals. She has warehouse and retail experience, and is active in Hampton Ponds Association, and serves ArtWorks as treasurer and event coordinator. She is the co-chair of the planning board.

Also reappointed was John Bowen until February, 2025. Harris said Bowen was first appointed in July 2017 as an alternate, and became the Ward 1 representative in 2018. He also serves as board representative on the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and Community Preservation Commission. He previously owned AlarmCo Security in Westfield, which merged with Mobius Works and then became Integrated IT. He currently is sales manager at Integrated IT. Harris said it’s very important to Bowen that Westfield remains a great city for families and for businesses to survive.

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