BRISTOL - Democrats took control of the majority of seats on the City Council Tuesday night as Democrat Ellen Zoppo-Sassu was elected the city’s new mayor.
The council went from an even number of Democrat and Republican councilors to Democrats in the majority of seats with a 5 to 1 margin.
Changes to the vision, plans and outlook of the administration can be expected now that there is a shift in majority.
Democrat Peter Kelley, who was elected to represent District 2 on the City Council, explained that he is optimistic of the city’s new leadership. He said that one of the first orders of business will be assigning council members to committees and “figuring out who will be best doing what.”
“One of Ellen’s greatest strengths is putting the right person in the right job,” Kelley said. “I’m not sure all the talent [in the city] was utilized by the past administration.”
Zoppo-Sassu also recognized committee assignments as one of the first tasks under the new administration.
“I don’t see any drastic changes except council committee assignments because of all the new faces,” she said. “I will be discussing everybody’s preferences and where they want to either learn about topics they are not familiar with, or play to their strengths and committee assignments.”
Kelley and Democrat Josh Medeiros, who was elected to represent District 1 on the council, explained that Zoppo-Sassu and all the Democratic councilors are ready to tackle the development of downtown.
“There are a lot of issues facing the City of Bristol, and downtown development is one of them,” Medeiros said. Kelley added that the new administration is “ready to get things rolling in the downtown area.”
“We want to be able to coordinate a cohesive plan in blending downtown development, Memorial Boulevard Theater and hopefully getting new tenants for Centre Square,” Kelley said, adding that another focus will be to “properly fund education.”
Medeiros added that the new administration will take a look at the overall operation of City Hall to see “how effectively” things are running and if it’s possible to “work smarter.”
However, Medeiros is hopeful of the new administration and explained it is a “strong and unified team” that “works well together.” He said, “We want to make sure everything goes smoothly. I think it will be a smooth transition and a positive one for the city.”
Dave Preleski, who was re-elected to represent District 2 on the City Council, mirrored Medeiros’s optimism of the new administration, stating that it will be “very responsive” and conduct projects in a “cooperative” and “fair” way.
“Every time we have elections, it’s time for a new beginning. I see the six members of the new council working well together and I see good relationships,” Preleski said. He added that “the Mayor-elect plans to get people involved,” and that there will be a focus on making sure the voices of all stakeholders in Bristol are heard.
“All of us, including Mr. [Dave] Mills, want what’s best for Bristol,” Preleski continued. “All six members will be working in a positive way together.”
Elected to serve on the City Council were also Democrats Greg Hahn and Mary Fortier and Republican Dave Mills.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-973-5088.