SPRINGFIELD Another political newcomer is joining the race for the Springfield City Council.
James Ferrera, a recent graduate of American International College (AIC) and the finance manager at Marcotte Ford in Holyoke has announced his candidacy.
Speaking on Hot Talk with Tony Gill over WAIC last week, Ferrera said that despite the diminished powers and responsibilities of the City Council at this time, a "fresh perspective" is needed on the Council.
"It's important that questions be asked," he said.
This is Ferrera's first attempt at public office, although he was involved in the campaign undertaken by Robert Collamore for State Representative last year.
A criminal justice/political science major at AIC, Ferrera said he was very interested in the recent report on police management and believes that all city department heads must be held accountable.
He said that in his initial door-to-door campaigning, residents have told him they are concerned about city officials taking responsibility for their job performance.
Ferrera described himself as a "conservative when it comes to finances," but that he would not be in favor of the proposed "under ride" that would cut $15 million from the city's revenue stream. He did say that he would possibly support such a measure when the city is in better financial condition.
Although the City Council does not have a direct role to play in contracts for the city's teachers, Ferrera said that he would be "an advocate for a fair contract."
Ferrera said he attended a recent fundraiser at which State Senator Brian Lees made comments about the possibility of the city going into receivership and Ferrera said that he believes that there is a "50/50 chance" that the city will be appointed a receiver by Governor Mitt Romney.
The candidate declined to say whether or not he was in favor of stripping the police chief's job of its civil service protection, but he did say he "really wants to look at the issue before making any decision at this time."
"There are pros and cons on both sides of the spectrum," he said. He added that it's important for the chief to establish goals.
Ferrera said that if elected he could work with any administration in City Hall.
"It's time to stop pointing fingers and start working together," he said.