Page 9 - BusinessWest August 3, 2020
P. 9

 Community Spotlight
Mayor Sees Pandemic as Temporary Impediment
By George O’Brien
John Vieau wasn’t exactly planning on run- ning for mayor last summer.
That’s because he was reasonably sure that incumbent and two-time Mayor Richard Kos would be seeking another two-year term — and Kos eventually did take out papers for re-election. And when Kos ultimately decided in February 2019 to return to his law practice instead of the corner office, Vieau, a Willimansett native and long-time alderman from Ward 3, didn’t exactly jump into the race.
“All the ideas and things that were happening are sitting on the back burner as we combat this time of uncertainty and crisis.”
Indeed, he had to think long and hard about this decision, especially the prospect of leaving a well-paying job with the Commonwealth — specifically, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) — and take a pay cut to serve as mayor.
“I’m not a gambler,” said Vieau with a laugh, adding that he ultimately decided to run for mayor — and prevail over a crowded field — but take a leave of absence from his job with Mass- DOT so he can ultimately return when he’s fin- ished with City Hall.
That careful due diligence notwithstanding, being mayor has been a long-time goal, if not a dream job, for Vieau, who said he fully under- stood everything that came with the territory ... except maybe a global pandemic.
COVID-19 has changed virtually every aspect of municipal management — from greeting guests at City Hall (elbow bumps instead of handshakes) to making a budget — and made just about every facet of economic develop- ment, from maintaining the momentum that was building downtown to beginning the next stage in the life of the massive Cabotville Industrial Park, that much more difficult.
“It’s put a lot of things on pause,” said Vieau, who put the accent on ‘lot,’ noting that the pan- demic has impacted municipalities as hard as it has hit specific economic sectors and individual businesses. It has affected how city business is conducted, sharply reduced revenues, and, as noted, put a number of projects on ice.
“All the ideas and things that were happen- ing are sitting on the back burner as we combat
      All Wallets Welcome Here
Even you, duct tape.
 Wealth Management
Live the life you envision and achieve lifetime goals including investment management, socially responsible investing, financial planning and estate management. Please contact:
Holly Kresiak at 413.523.7922
 Banking products are provided by Investment products are NOT FDIC-INSURED, are NOT A BANK DEPOSIT, “NOT GUARANTEED BY THE BANK,” “NOT INSURED BY ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY” and MAY LOSE VALUE. Berkshire Bank: Member FDIC. Rev. 7/20
AUGUST 3, 2020 9
  Chicopee at a glance
AREA: 23.9 square miles
COUNTY: Hampden
TYPE OF GOVERNMENT: Mayor; City Council
LARGEST EMPLOYERS: Westover Air Reserve Base; J. Polep Distribution Services; Callaway Golf Ball Operations; Dielectrics; MicroTek
* Latest information available

   7   8   9   10   11