Westfield Newsroom

Little change for Westfield City Council

WESTFIELD – City voters apparently are satisfied with the present City Council membership, returning most incumbents to another two-year term.
City Clerk Karen Fanion said that the preliminary results for the election indicate that there was an 19.72 percent turnout of the city’s 23,636 registered voters, with 4,661 voters casting ballots Tuesday.
Daniel M. Knapik, who was unopposed, will serve as the city chief executive officer for another two years.
All six ward City Councilors will also return for another term. Five of the six were also unopposed. The only ward contest was in Ward 1 where Christopher Keefe narrowly beat Kevin Medeiros. (See related story)
The only real changes on the City Council is that newcomer Agma Sweeney will be joining the council as an At-large member and James R. Adams will return to the council after a two-year hiatus. At-large incumbent Gerald Tracy failed to win a second term, while At-large Councilor Nicholas Morganelli chose not to seek re-election.
The only surprise in the election is the strong showing of Sweeney, which other councilors, speaking after the results were announced by City Clerk Karen Fanion, attributed to a well-organized campaign.
Sweeney finished fifth, with 2,043 ballots, in the 11 candidate race for one of the seven At-large council seats.
Brent B. Bean II received 2,453 votes to finish first, followed by Adams who received 2,377 ballots. Patti A. Andras came in third with 2,359 votes and Brian Sullivan finished with fourth with 2,307 votes.
David A. Flaherty placed sixth with 1,735 votes and John J. Beltrandi III took the seventh At-large seat with 1,726 ballots, just nine votes behind Flaherty and just 16 votes ahead of Kevin W. Harraghy who took eighth position in the 11 candidate field, which positions Harraghy for a seat if any At-large members leaves during the up-coming term.
Andrew P. Bannish, who filed his nomination papers before he was old enough to register as a voter (his birthday occurred prior to the election), and Board of Public Works Commissioner Joseph M. Spagnoli, both finished with 1,486 ballots, with Tracy receiving 1,470 votes.
Andras said, following the election result announcement, that she is looking forward to another term on the council.
“I’m excited about the next two years because we have some projects to finish and others to start,” she said.
Beltrandi thanked voters who supported his re-election bid.
“I thank my supporters and appreciate their efforts at the polls,” he said. “I won’t disappoint over the next two years.”
Flaherty said that he is looking forward to working with Sweeney and the other council members, but that he regrets the fact that Tracy lost his re-election bid.
“I’m glad to be back. This election was very close. I look forward to working with the council on the city’s long-term financial issues,” Flaherty said. “I’m sorry to see Councilor Tracy going, but look forward to working with Agma Sweeney, who is very passionate and committed to the city.”
“Agma will be a good replacement for Gerry because they are passionate about so many of the same issues,” Flaherty said.
Bean said that he “is humbled to be the top vote getter, but is a 13-member body working together” to for the betterment of the city.
“I don’t understand it sometimes. I think the low turnout helped the incumbents because people are used to voting for particular individuals,” Bean said. “I thought that some of the new people who were working really hard would create a groundswell and finish higher in the results.”
“Candidates who are successful in doing customer service got the votes,” Bean said. “People want to know who they’re voting for. Some races are not driven by issues, but by people who want access. They want to be able to call you and get a response.”

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