|By G. Michael Dobbs|
SPRINGFIELD James Ferrera III, Springfield's newest City Councilor, sees a future in which the City Council and the Finance Control Board (FCB) work together to move the city forward.
Ferrera placed tenth in the last City Council race and has replaced Angelo Puppolo who resigned on Jan. 4 to assume his duties as state representative for the Twelfth Hampden District.
Ferrera is a Springfield native and resident of the East Forest Park neighborhood. He is a graduate of American International College with degrees in Criminal Justice and Political Science. He works for the Massachusetts Trail Court in the Office of Community Corrections as an assistant court services coordinator.
Ferrera acknowledged the role the FCB has had in correcting some of the city's financial woes, but said he would like to see the addition of more local members to "add more flavor to the make-up of the Board."
He said the future of the FCB would be left up to Governor Deval Patrick. The FCB's current term in the city ends on June 30.
"I think what needs to really be done is that the FCB needs to just break of pieces [of the city's budgeting process] and allow the Council to regain authority slowly, but surely," he said.
He said the FCB could play the role of "a consultant."
Ferrera said he doesn't have a single main priority. He said he looks at what is happening to the city as a whole. There is a link between the city's crime rate and economic development and Ferrera said that a strong effort in job growth could lower the crime rate.
He cited the Police department for "doing a great job," and noted "all laws need to be enforced."
Ferrera is hoping to service on the Public Safety and Human Services Subcommittees. City Council President Kateri Walsh has not yet announced those assignments
He is also interested in serving on a proposed ad hoc committee that would examine the need for a pay increase for the mayor and Council members.
To become acquainted with issues in the city, Ferrera plans to meets with city department heads to discuss specific concerns. He also plans to tour a number of the city's schools and possibly participate in a police ride along.