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Foley opts not to run for re-election

Date: 7/20/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD After serving on the City Council for 26 years, William Foley is making the present term his last one - for now.

Foley sent out a statement last Tuesday afternoon that he would not be seeking re-election to the council this year. He is the fifth incumbent to drop out of the race this year - the first one in over 40 years to include councilors from wards. The other incumbents who won't be on the ballot are Bruce Stebbins, Patrick Markey, Rosemarie Mazza Moriarty and Bud Williams. Williams is running for mayor.

The long-time School Committee member and city councilor told Reminder Publications that once he has "recharged his batteries" and if the city adopts a four-year term as mayor he would consider a run for that position.

"I've put in a lot of time learning about government," Foley said of his interest in the mayor's job.

Foley served two years on the School Committee and 26 years on the City Council. He said of his decision, "I've thought about it for a long time."

Foley served with mayors Theodore Dimauro, Richard Neal, Mary Hurly, Robert Markel, Michael Albano, Charles Ryan and Domenic Sarno.

He admitted that Neal was one of his favorites, who is also his cousin. He called Neal "an exciting guy." He confessed to his predilection for a family member with a chuckle.

Although he said he enjoyed working with all the mayors despite some "rough times" he singled out Dimauro for his handling of some difficult financial times for the city.

When asked about his accomplishments, Foley said he had been a strong supporter of new construction in the city from new schools to Monarch Place. He also believed strongly in the strength of the city's neighborhoods. Foley believed in attending neighborhood events and said he went up to 600 gatherings a year.

"I tried to do what was right for the community," he said.

The following is Foley's statement: "I have enjoyed serving the people of Springfield over the past 28 years as a member of the City Council and School Committee; however, I feel, at this time, I cannot give the people the respect and commitment they deserve. Therefore, I will not seek re-election to the Springfield City Council. It truly has been an honor to serve the people of this great city.

"I have always believed the true spirit of our city is in our neighborhoods and how important it is to show your respect by being there. I am proud to say I have averaged 600 official visits to neighborhoods and community events for each year of service. Just as important is the fact that you have a commitment to the job. In 28 years of service I have never missed a city council meeting and to the best of my ability I have tried to respond the needs and issues of the people of this great city.

"I am very proud of my service. The longest serving, municipally elected official in the cities history and four-time City Council President. I am also proud of the fact that I was a strong advocate for school construction, neighborhood revitalization and downtown development.

"I want to thank my wife Sheila and my son Ryan for allowing me to do this job. I also wish to thank the rest of my family, friends and supporters for their help over the years. It is greatly appreciated.

"Finally, during my political career I have strived to live by three principles: (1) Be true to your word (2) never forget the people who got you there and (3) do what you think is right. I leave office with the knowledge that I treated people fairly and hopefully my service left the city a little better."