Changes and Possible Changes in Mayoral Terms in W MA Cities

Just when you thought election season was over, another campaign cycle is starting again with mayoral seats up for grabs in several western Massachusetts communities. 

While many municipalities in the state will choose mayors and other elected officials this November for two year terms, Northampton is joining a small but growing number of cities like Boston and Springfield in designating longer terms for their chief executives. Northampton City Clerk Wendy Mazza says voters last November approved a new charter extending the mayor’s term from two to four years. 

“They felt the mayor’s term needed to be extended because it’s like every two years, they’re just getting going and they have to start campaigning again.”

But two year terms will continue for city councilors and school committee members in both Northampton and Springfield. Pittsfield could be the next city to adopt a longer mayoral term. City Clerk Lynda Tyer says a review is currently underway on possible revisions to the city charter that could include extending the mayor’s term from two to four years. 

“But that’s still undecided. That’s one of the proposals. We won’t know what that final decision is until probably sometime in May.”

A proposal to extend the mayor’s term in Chicopee appears dead for now. that’s after a petition drive to place the proposal before voters last November was found to contain more than 500 forged signatures. Keith Lapointe, a former state representative and chief of staff to Mayor Michael Bissonnette, pleaded guilty last summer to forging the signatures.