New mayor of Holyoke turns to recent political rivals for advice
Holyoke, Massachusetts, Mayor Joshua Garcia has created seven advisory councils to inform his municipal decision-making, with four to be led by recent political rivals.
Each advisory council of about a dozen people will focus on an issue, like housing, energy and public health. Garcia said appointing several former mayoral candidates to lead the groups is a way to bridge a gap.
"I know it's going to sound weird for me, because I'm the elected mayor," Garcia said, "but I really care less about politics and I lead through the lens of city management."
Garcia defeated Michael Sullivan, a former city councilor, last November and now he's asking him to chair a council on infrastructure and economic development.
Sullivan welcomed the opportunity, and said he didn't see the invite as a way for Garcia to appease a political opponent.
"I think it was a genuine effort on his part to reach out to help bring the community together," Sullivan said, including around how to spend federal COVID-19 relief money on infrastructure.
Garcia also tapped three other 2021 mayoral candidates to chair committees. Devin Sheehan will lead an advisory panel on restructuring government, Gloria Caballero-Roca's council will focus on public safety and public health, and a committee led by William Glidden will look at housing.