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Mayor Knapik hits the pavement at City Hall

Date: 1/19/2010

Jan. 20, 2010.

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- It took this reporter three days of persistent phone calls and coordination to get the new mayor on the phone last week.

When asked what life has been like over the past two weeks, Mayor Daniel Knapik replied, "Packed is what I would say." He followed up the statement with an unnecessary apology for his delayed phone call, adding he's been busy "getting up to speed" at City Hall.

"It's hectic," Knapik said of his new job. "My only frustration is that I have not been able to respond to the dozens of e-mails that I get everyday [from constituents]. I'm in before 7 [a.m.] and don't leave until late afternoon."

He quickly noted he's enjoying his new role in city government and said his schedule should lighten somewhat once meetings with department heads are complete.

Knapik explained he's been conducting meetings with four to six department heads each day in order to "make sure that the city finances are being attended to and understand what they're up against to complete the fiscal year [on budget]."

He said there will likely be a budgetary shortfall before fiscal year 2010 is complete on June 30; how much is unknown at this time.

Knapik noted he has set goals for his first 100 days in office including the establishment of the Industrial Development Commission and the Youth Commission; bonding for equipment for the fire department; hammering out the capital bond package; and public fiscal year 2011 (FY11) budgetary workshops, to name a few.

He noted he'll host several budget workshops for the public in February to gain input from citizens as well as member of government.

He stressed the need for collaboration between the corner office and the City Council, noting that he's in daily contact with the council president to ensure transparency and progress.

Knapik said he has also met with personnel from Westfield State College and developers to talk about the ongoing plans to revitalize downtown and other properties throughout the city.

He said he welcomes input from constituents on all city issues. "I'd like to say to the citizens that the door is open and I've had citizens come to [City Hall to] see if that's really true," Knapik said.

This mayor is also one of a growing number of politicians who can be reached not only by e-mail but on Facebook, and on Twitter at as well.

Stressing the need for public input and citywide collaboration, Knapik said, "I don't have all the answers. Let's all just sit in a room together and we'll just have a frank discussion and I'll file the orders. That's how we're going to operate here."