Reminder Publishing sent both Westfield mayoral candidates identical questionnaires covering several topics of interest to voters. Today we are presenting the final two questions and answers. Answers are in the candidates’ own words and have not been edited, except for spelling and punctuation. Responses are listed in the order that candidates will be listed in the ballot: incumbent first, then challenger.
Today’s first question: What changes or investments would you make in Westfield’s public safety departments?
Donald Humason: The men and women of our police, fire, dispatch, and emergency management have worked tirelessly during my term to keep our residents safe and care for those with COVID-19. They deserve our respect, thanks, and support as they do a difficult job during difficult times. Our public safety priority right now is to build a new police station. I have formed a committee to do that. The Council has approved an appropriation to start the process. Additionally, our dispatch has sought and received grants to begin regionalization of our 9-1-1 system with Southwick and other towns.
Michael McCabe: I have extensive knowledge of the Police Department’s issues. The city should bond for a new one or purchase an alternate location and retrofit the site. I am aware the city is looking into a feasibility study, which is a shame, since we, Chief Camerota and I, requested the original study in 2010. The building was meant to serve about 40 people and routinely services over 100.
Both the Police Department and Fire Department have vacancies in their commissions. I would look to fill those positions with people who have personnel management backgrounds and civil service experience, if possible.
Today’s second question: What makes you a better choice for mayor than your opponent?
Donald Humason: Thank you for the privilege of serving as your mayor. I love Westfield and I’m proud of our city. I’ve worked collaboratively to balance two budgets while lowering our property tax rate. To pave our streets and fix our sidewalks. To help open new businesses, both large and small. To build our new elementary school and chair our School Committee. To keep our city safe and clean for my family and yours, all while dealing with this global pandemic.
Thirty years of experience in state and local government prepared me to lead our city during difficult times. My grandfather always said, “You don’t change horses midstream.”
My collaborative leadership style works well with our charter’s “weak mayor” form of government. My connections with fellow mayors, legislative leaders, the governor, have benefited our city. I have established good working relationships with department heads and city workers. Thank you for your vote.
Michael McCabe: I have been an executive leader in Westfield for more than two decades and a public servant for nearly 40 years. My background is in problem-solving, which I have been doing with Westfield city residents all of my adult life. I have a myriad of different work experiences which allows me to relate to different organizations, both public and private. I understand unions and municipal finance. I have successfully negotiated from both sides of the table and have prepared many Police Department budgets.
I am a tireless worker both in my paid employment life and my volunteerism. As a professional, I maintain regular business hours. During the COVID-19 epidemic I was in my office throughout the entirety, up to my retirement in April of 2021. I knew I owed it to my community, my department and my supervisors to be there when the city needed me.
For previous questions and answers from the mayoral, Ward 1 City Council and School Committee candidates, visit thewestfieldnews.com/tag/election-2021.
Election Day is Nov. 2. The winner of the mayor’s race will serve a two-year term beginning in January 2022. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.