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New Mass. mayors receive training ahead of taking office

Virginia "Ginny" Desorgher addresses supporters at her election night party, Nov. 7, 2023. Desorgher beat incumbent Mayor Roxann Wedegartner in a landslide.
Dusty Christensen
Virginia "Ginny" Desorgher addresses supporters at her election night party, Nov. 7, 2023.

Eight newly elected mayors from across Massachusetts got some education this week ahead of being sworn in early next year.

The training session was held by the Massachusetts Municipal Association. It featured sessions on how to handle budgets, contract negotiations with employees and media relations, among other topics.

The mayor-elect of Greenfield, Virginia Desorgher, said attendees were also encouraged to start planning for the unexpected now.

"Because actually, on day one, you could be in there and something huge could happen,” she said. “So, what's your plan?'

Desorgher said the incoming mayors also received some other advice.

"To make sure you leave a little time in there for your own family," she said.

She also said some veteran mayors have already reached out, offering their assistance and advice to the group.

Adam Chapdelaine, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, said the training is important to give incoming mayors an idea of what to expect once they are on the job.

He said becoming a community’s chief executive is like “jumping onto a moving train,” with budget seasons underway and departments already functioning.

He said the soon-to-be mayors were given some topics to keep in mind as they prepare to take office.

"You need to learn how's the budget working, what's the status of our collective bargaining agreement,” he said. "How are we doing from a staffing perspective? Do we have a huge number of vacancies in some departments that's causing us trouble?"

Desorgher will join Peter Marchetti in Pittsfield as a new mayor in western Massachusetts. Incoming Agawam mayor Christopher Johnson is returning to the job he last held more than two decades ago.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.

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