AMONG THOSE newly sworn in by Mayor Paul Brodeur at the 2022 Inaugural Ceremony were newly elected School Committee member Dorie Withey and newly elected City Council members Ryan Williams, Ward 7; Manjula Karamcheti, Ward 1; and Ward 2’s John Obremski. Pictured are a host of elected officials pledging their oaths. (Raj Das, edphotos.com)
Mayor’s inaugural Remarks
By MAYOR PAUL BRODEUR
Good evening colleagues, distinguished guests, and everyone who has joined us virtually…thank you for being with us tonight. Given the nature of the gathering, and to be mindful of public health concerns, I will endeavor to be brief.
I’d like to extend a particular welcome to our new School Committee member and City Councilors and their families. Our new councilors Ryan Williams, Manjula Karamcheti, and John Obremski bring a diversity of professional skill and personal commitment to their service to our community that will benefit us all. And our new colleague on the School Committee, Dorie Withey, I welcome you as an MPS parent and as a literacy expert with a master’s from Harvard School of Education – pretty good qualifications for your new gig. Thank you.
And to your loved ones here in Memorial Hall, thank you for sharing these amazing people with us. Please be gentle with them in the weeks and months ahead.
It’s hard to plan a ceremonial occasion during the uncertainty of a pandemic, and I am deeply appreciative of all the efforts that brought us together tonight. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the staff of Memorial Hall who did a tremendous job setting up tonight’s event, the Health Department for providing their expertise in creating a safe event. I also want to personally thank our Melrose High students, Kate Sikkema and Sam Chetkin, as well as our friends at MMTV who are live streaming this ceremony so that all can watch safely from home.
As has been evident tonight, working to help our community adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic has been at the heart of everything we did this past year. From running vaccine clinics, to planning how to bring kids back into in-person learning, to supporting our local businesses during a period of unprecedented economic uncertainty, this is the work we have just committed to do together through the oaths you just took or heard taken.
Colleagues, as we have learned from the challenges of the past year, and year before that, the only way we can move forward is through collaboration and cooperation. I am sure there will be times where our opinions on how to handle a particular issue or situation will differ, but what we share is a commitment to the education, health, and well-being of our residents of all ages, and a passion to strengthen, sustain, and improve our community.
These are certainly difficult times, but we are not the first generation of Melrosians to face challenges with purpose and determination, and I am proud to lead alongside the City Council, School Committee, public health officials, and our engaged community.
This past year, we came together to respond to the pandemic. I am gratified that so many Melrosians have answered the call to mask up and get vaccinated and boosted – standing together to ensure community safety and health, despite the fatigue of a long and lingering public health crisis and the impact of the pandemic on everyone’s lives.
Above all, I want to acknowledge the kindness, respect, and consideration that Melrosians have for each other. As we face the challenges before us and move our city forward, I embrace these values that all of us, young and old, newcomers and lifelong residents, can be proud of.
This time in our history is not an easy one. I ask for your help, cooperation, and understanding as city and school staff continue to carry on with their responsibilities while dealing with the challenges posed by the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
As we move together into this new year, I offer each of you my commitment to putting ideas into action. And so tonight, I am announcing that 2022 will be officially designated as the Year of Community Health and Wellness in Melrose. In the days ahead, I will be consulting with experts and many invaluable community partners on developing plans to coordinate programs, resources, and initiatives to support the mental and physical health of residents of all ages. Our efforts will have a particular focus on the wellbeing of our youth and include a commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Many of these needs existed before the pandemic, but the Coronavirus has brought home the need to strengthen existing programs and services as well as provide new ones.
I realize that there is no silver bullet solution to combat the effects of the pandemic, or the generational inequities that have been exacerbated by the public health crisis. Tonight, I offer you a pledge that together – with of all my colleagues on this stage – I will rededicate myself and my administration to doing all that we can to combat the social, emotional, and economic impact the pandemic has had on our community.
I look forward to sharing in greater detail our agenda for meeting this important challenge in the State of the City address later this winter.
To my colleagues and to the residents of Melrose, I am deeply humbled, proud, and above all grateful for the opportunity to do this important work with you. I would like to take this moment to express that, as always, my office doors are open to all and I welcome you to present ideas, express concerns, or just talk with me about what’s going in our beloved city.
Thank you, and good night.