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Mayor Sullivan meets with residents at NetLogix

WESTFIELD – Netlogix, an information technology firm dedicated to helping small and midsized businesses, played host to Mayor Brian Sullivan’s monthly coffee hour. The coffee hour is sponsored by the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce.

Sullivan was joined by Chamber Executive Director Kate Phelon and City Council President Brent B. Bean II.

Sullivan thanked Netlogix owner Marco Liquori for moving his business to 48 Court St., location, a short walk to City Hall.

The mayor called the recent round of early voting a success, with slightly under 5,000 voters casting ballots before the Nov. 8 general election. Around 18 percent of eligible Westfield voters took advantage of early voting.

Thirty-six states have early voting, with Massachusetts implementing the new process this election year. By election day, over 30 million Americans had cast ballots.

Sullivan announced the appointment of Jane F. Sakiewicz as the city’s new Personnel Director. Sakiewicz served in a similar role in Easthampton. After a series of interviews, Sullivan passed his recommendation on to the City Council for a confirmation vote.

The council voted unanimously for Sakiewicz.

A second screening is underway to find a new manager for Barne’s Municipal Airport.

Sullivan said the finalists are down to two candidates, one from Pittsfield and the other from Alabama.

The Airport Commission has final say on any hire.

He expects a new manager will be hired before Thanksgiving or the latest by Dec. 1. Sullivan added that several new businesses are close to relocating at the airport.

“It’s amazing the companies that are looking to, one to use the airport, but two, tag that with the railroad. Westfield fits so good with some of these business opportunities,” he said. Westfield has become a hub for air, rail and ground transportation, he added.

Long-serving City Auditor Deborah A. Strycharz will retire this month. “That is a big hit to the city,” he said. A search for new auditor will commence in the coming weeks, Sullivan said.

With a slew of scheduled retirements, Sullivan said the time has come to reexamine roles in municipal government and how technology plays a part, especially with the city’s financial departments.

Amber Danahey, the city’s Community Outreach Coordinator, provided an update on Westfield’s 350th Anniversary celebration. The actual anniversary is on May 19, 2019. A special committee has been formed to work out details and to coordinate activities city-wide.

Danahey said committee members are trying to determine whether they should remain independent or coordinate all activities with an established city commission.

She said the committee is leaning toward the Westfield Cultural Council as the partner organization.

She added the partnership allows the anniversary committee to remain independent and to raise money.

“They (Cultural Council) have the ability to raise money separate from the grants they administer,” Danahey said. “Forming our own organization would involve incorporating.”

The committee plans to release a community questionnaire, seeking input from residents and businesses.