WEST SPRINGFIELD – It took until the day before the Jan. 4 inauguration for everything to “sink in” for West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt, but he was ready to step into the role of mayor.
In a morning ceremony at the West Springfield Senior Center, Reichelt took the oath of office next to Judge Mary Hurley and his brother, Chris. Another ceremony was hosted later that day at the West Springfield High School to swear in the rest of the city’s elected officials.
The 29-year-old former town attorney said he had repeatedly been asked one question since winning the Nov. 3 election over state Rep. Mike Finn: are you ready?
“I consistently said, ‘I certainly hope so,’” he joked during his inauguration address.
In his first day, he set out to prove that he was.
Between inaugural ceremonies, Reichelt had already moved forward on a campaign promise to create a playbook for residents and businesses to streamline the permitting process by requesting department heads to submit their rules, regulations and policies for review.
Reichelt, who worked under all three previous mayors, also took the time to thank them for mentorship and guidance over the past eight years. Former Mayor Ed Gibson appointed Reichelt to the Planning Board in 2008 when he was 21. Former Mayor Greg Neffinger appointed him to the Housing Authority and as one of the town’s representatives to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and outgoing Mayor Ed Sullivan selected Reichelt to serve as West Springfield’s first in-house attorney.
Having worked closely with Sullivan during his term, Reichelt said he knows the path West Springfield has been set upon and where it needs to go.
“Mayor Sullivan has accomplished so much during his tenure, but I think even he would agree that we still have so much to do,” Reichelt said. “There will always be projects in the hopper to make West Side a better place … Getting the right projects completed requires two things: a plan and the willingness to collaborate.”
This collaboration will come from all ends of the spectrum, he said. From working with department heads to hearing from residents, Reichelt encouraged the people of West Springfield to stay involved as his administration moves forward.
“I know and hope that during my tenure you will ask much of me, and I hope you do, but I have on request of all of you, that you continue to be involved. Our town is blessed because of all of you, the people who make West Side a great place to live and work,” Reichelt said. “The best part of my job is being able to interact with all of the citizens of our community. Whether you have a compliment or a complaint or an idea for progress, my door is always open. Please don’t be shy.”
Town Councilors also took their oath of office on Jan. 4. Returning to the Council are Brian Clune, Bridget Fiala, Bruce Gendron, Brian Griffin and George Kelly, as well as District 3 Councilor George Condon. Newcomers are District 1 Councilor Jill Fortier, District 2 Councilor Nathan Bech and District 4 Councilor Dan O’Brien.
The School Committee remains the same as it enters its next term, with Kathy Alveras, Nancy Farrell, Patricia Garbacik, Jose Irizarry Jr., Michelle Serafino and Joey Sutton being sworn in.