Reminder Assistant Editor
AGAWAM A photo finish for the mayor's seat has yielded a new dawn for this town, which rose for the first time last Wednesday as Susan Dawson was officially sworn in at Town Hall.
Among the witness of several town officials, family and friends Dawson pledged her commitment and a promise to form an improved partnership between town government and its residents.
She said that an emphasis must be made to improve communication, economic development and public safety throughout Agawam during her next two years in office. Dawson added that with the aid of her Transition Team she will outline the patterns and pace for change for the next 90 days.
Dawson said with a smile and chuckle that her first act as mayor would be to sign payroll and that her calendar is already full this week with numerous meetings. Her schedule includes a meeting with the presidents of the City Council and School Committee and the Agawam Chamber of Commerce to improve business growth and sustainability.
She said she will also be addressing the unsettled union contracts including the Police Patrolmen's Union as well as addressing a new avenue for parking regulations across Agawam. Dawson explained that if a new parking ordinance needs to be enacted it will address safety issues throughout the town and not just in specific regions such as Six Flags.
City Councilor Gina Letellier, said she believes Dawson will bring a transparency to government and an improved working relationship with every member of the City Council. "Cooperation is not just a campaign slogan," she said of Dawson's willingness to work with each councilperson as opposed to a select few.
Letellier added that while working with the new mayor, the council's primary concerns for the new year are improved sidewalks, public safety and increased parking at the new Senior Center under construction on Main Street.
Michael Palazzi, owner of South Agawam Storage and member of Dawson's Transition Team, said he will be working diligently with her and the other members of the team to address the needs of businesses in Agawam. He added that they will be focusing on the former Food Mart Plaza and its surrounding areas as prime location for economic growth and development.
State Rep. Rosemary Sandlin, member of Dawson's Transition Team, said she believes the new mayor will "bring civil service that was previously lacking in the past administration."
Dawson's parents, Renee and Philip Over, voiced a similar tone when they explained their overwhelming pride and joy for their daughter's accomplishments. They said that while growing up she was always a leader in every aspect of her life.
Philip said he is not surprised by his daughter's accomplishments and like him, the people of Agawam can always expect honesty, trust and dedication from Dawson.