West Springfield approves 4-year mayoral term

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Voters in West Springfield approved a ballot question on Nov. 8 extending the mayoral term from two years to four.
 
The question won with 61.6 percent of the vote.
 
The first four-year mayoral term would begin in January 2018, with the mayor who is elected this coming November.
 
Mayor William Reichelt supported the change, saying a two-year term is too short for a mayor to make progress on his or her goals for the community.
 
“Especially for a new mayor, once you get in, by the time you figure out municipal government and the ropes of the job you’re essentially running again,” he said. “You don’t have the time to learn the budget and get your goals in place before you’re getting back on the ballot. To get anything real done and have a real impact on the budget is going to take more than two years.”
 
In May, West Springfield’s Town Council approved legislation by a 6-3 vote to amend the city’s charter. The Legislature then approved the bill before it went before the voters in November.
 
West Springfield is the 19th city in Massachusetts to adopt a four-year term for its mayor, joining Boston, Braintree, Everett, Greenfield, Lawrence, Lynn, Malden, Melrose, Newburyport, Newton, Northampton, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Waltham and Weymouth.
 
Mayors in 27 cities have a two-year term. (See our complete list of Massachusetts mayoral terms.)
 
Marilyn Contreas, an associate at the Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston, noted that Amherst, Fall River and Framingham are among the communities that currently have charter commissions to consider changes to their forms of government. Amherst and Framingham are considering a city form of government, she said, and Fall River may consider a four-year mayoral term.