LaChapelle sworn in as Easthampton’s mayor

  • New Easthampton mayor Nicole LaChapelle, center, shakes hands with new School Committee member Jonathan Schmidt prior to the start of a swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent city officials held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday. Also present were councilors, from right, Joseph McCoy, Margaret Conniff, James Kwiecinski (walking), Owen Zaret (just behind LaChapelle) and Thomas Peake. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING PHOTOS

  • New Easthampton mayor Nicole LaChapelle takes the podium after being sworn in at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. At left are State Auditor Suzanne Bump and Congressman Richard Neal, D-Springfield. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Easthampton mayor Nicole LaChapelle greets Congressman Richard Neal, D-Springfield, as he arrives at a swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent Easthampton city officials held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton mayor Nicole LaChapelle, at podium, speaks following a swearing-in ceremony for her and other city officials held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • State Auditor Suzanne Bump, at podium, speaks during a swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent Easthampton city officials held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Congressman Richard Neal, D-Springfield, speaks during a swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent Easthampton city officials, including mayor Nicole LaChapelle, second from left, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan and new Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle pose for a photograph following a swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent city officials held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Michael Tautznik, the first mayor of Easthampton, visits with other people attending the swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent city officials held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • State Auditor Suzanne Bump speaks during a swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent Easthampton city officials held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Seated are Congressman Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, and new Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Michael Tautznik and Karen Cadieux, the first and second mayors of Easthampton, respectively, trade information prior to the start of a swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent city officials held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Congressman Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, speaks during a swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent Easthampton city officials held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Behind him are Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor, left, and Police Chief Robert Alberti. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Easthampton At-large City Councilor Owen Zaret is sworn in by city clerk Barbara LaBombard, left, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Easthampton Precinct 2 City Councilor Homar Gomez is sworn in by city clerk Barbara LaBombard, left, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Easthampton Precinct 3 City Councilor Thomas Peake shakes hands with city clerk Barbara LaBombard, left, after being sworn in at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Returning At-large City Councilors Joseph McCoy, left, Margaret Conniff and Daniel Carey are sworn in at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Returning Easthampton City Councilors Daniel Rist, center, precinct 5, and James Kwiecinski, precinct 1, are sworn in by city clerk Barbara LaBombard, left, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Easthampton School Committee member Laurie Garcia is sworn in by city clerk Barbara LaBombard, left, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Easthampton School Committee member Shannon Durham is sworn in by city clerk Barbara LaBombard, left, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Easthampton School Committee member Alexandra Dodge is sworn in by city clerk Barbara LaBombard, left, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Returning Easthampton School Committee member Cynthia Kwiecinski is sworn in by city clerk Barbara LaBombard, left, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Congressman Richard Neal, D-Springfield, speaks during a swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent Easthampton city officials, including mayor Nicole LaChapelle, seated just to his right, held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Newly sworn-in Easthampton officials pose for a photo following a ceremony held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. From left, starting with fourth from left, are at-large councilor Daniel Carey, mayor Nicole LaChapelle, at-large councilors Owen Zaret and Margaret Conniff, precinct 5 councilor Daniel Rist, precinct 3 councilor Thomas Peake, precinct 1 councilor James Kwiecinski and precinct 2 councilor Homar Gomez. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Karen Cadieux, who just finished her second term as mayor of Easthampton, attends a swearing-in ceremony for new and incumbent city officials held at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle is sworn in by city clerk Barbara LaBombard, right, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Easthampton School Committee member Jonathan Schmidt is sworn in by city clerk Barbara LaBombard, left, at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Returning Easthampton School Committee members Cynthia Kwiecinski, left, and Marissa Carrere are sworn in at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

@kate_ashworth
Published: 1/3/2018 12:24:48 AM

EASTHAMPTON — Nicole LaChapelle raised her right hand and recited the words of the city’s oath on Tuesday, officially becoming the mayor of Easthampton.

“I am ready,” LaChapelle said, thanking the city’s department heads for a smooth transition. Around 100 people filled the public safety complex, including state and city officials, friends and family.

“I will be your voice across the region, on Beacon Hill and in Washington, D.C., making sure our partners know what a strong, thriving community we are and that Easthampton is ready and open for business,” LaChapelle said to the crowd.

Her first task as mayor, LaChapelle said, will be to dive into the city’s budget and ask department heads “Where can we make investments for growth?”

State Auditor Suzanne Bump spoke at the ceremony, touching on qualities that stood out to her over the years Bump has gotten to know LaChapelle.

“What I most admired about her wasn’t her brain, sharp as it is; or her commitment to her principles, admirable as it is; or her energy, ample as it is,” Bump said. “It’s been her openness for others, her inclusivity, her commitment to dialogue that has most impressed me.”

Congressman Richard Neal, D-Springfield, said a tension has developed in Easthampton between the “old settler” and the “new resident,” who may have different views of the city’s future. He said dealing with the division is part of the challenge of being mayor.

“It’s like showing up to an orchestra and being the conductor,” Neal said, adding that the mayor is tasked with making sure everyone is in tune with a common vision.

But much of the work LaChapelle will be judged on is more mundane, Neal noted, listing land use, water and sewer rates, staffing at the police and fire departments, and snow removal.

Williston Northampton School students Ellie Scott, 18, and Josh Calianos, 17, both volunteered on the campaign to elect LaChapelle as mayor and attended the swearing-in ceremony to congratulate her.

“Nicole has been my role model for a few years,” Scott said. She met LaChapelle on the campaign to elect Hillary Clinton as president where they spent time together knocking on doors and collecting signatures.

“She’s the smartest person I know,” Scott said.

City Clerk Barbara LaBombard swore in new city councilors Owen Zaret, Thomas Peake and Homar Gomez, and the six incumbents, Daniel Carey, Joseph McCoy, Margaret “Peg” Conniff, James “JP” Kwiecinski, Salem Derby and Daniel Rist.

A new mix of School Committee members were sworn in as well — incumbents Marissa Carrere and Cynthia Kwiecinski, and newcomers Alexandra Dodge, Laurie Garcia, Shannon Dunham and Jonathan Schmidt.

Mayor Karen Cadieux stood in the back as many approached her for a farewell hug. She served for four years as mayor, and 17 years as the assistant to former mayor Michael Tautznik.

“I’m officially off duty,” Cadieux said, adding that she could have not left the city in better financial shape.

Following the ceremony, the City Council and School Committee held their first meetings of the new term to elect a president and chairperson, and appoint members to subcommittees.

McCoy will continue to serve as the council’s president and Derby will continue to serve as vice president. The city councilors signed a resolution declaring that the council does not tolerate any form of discrimination. The resolution was originally passed in January 2012 and is reaffirmed every term.

As mayor, LaChapelle is a voting member of the School Committee. She attended her first meeting as mayor. The committee voted to elect incumbent Kwiecinski as chairwoman and Carrere as secretary.

LaChapelle said she expects a busy week, but will be celebrating her new role on Saturday with a Mardi Gras-style “Swearing In Shindig” at New City Brewery, 180 Pleasant St. The Glen David Andrews Band will perform at 7 p.m. and tickets are available at millpond.live.

Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at cashworth@gazettenet.com.
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