Manchester residents ‘want solutions,’ Gatsas says in fourth inaugural address

MANCHESTER — When people leave politics, partisanship and personality at the door, “there isn’t anything that we can’t accomplish,” Mayor Ted Gatsas said Tuesday as he was sworn in to serve a fourth term as the 47th mayor of the Queen City.

Gatsas took his oath of office, administered by Manchester Chief of Police Nick Willard, during inaugural ceremonies held at the Palace Theatre. Then the mayor told a large gathering of friends, family and an array of state and local officials that city residents believe “in the possibility of tomorrow being better than today.”

“My fellow colleagues the citizens of Manchester want solutions,” said Gatsas, “They want to live in a community where they can inspire and be inspired. We have proved it can happen and I am committed to making sure it never stops.”

In his address, titled “Inspiration,” Gatsas referenced four areas where Manchester has made significant gains over the last six years — infrastructure, public safety, economic development and city services.

Gatsas announced that over the next 60 days, prior to the mayor’s budget being presented, he will ask city departments to convene working groups around each of those four areas. The goal is to bring to the aldermen near-term goals — items that can be accomplished in the next year — mid-term goals, possible over a two- to three-year time frame, and long-term goals, achievable over five years.

Gatsas also referenced several highlights achieved by city schools throughout his tenure as mayor.

“The Manchester School of Technology is a crowning achievement of this district,” said Gatsas. “We will continue to grow the school of technology and the programming, and provide the resources necessary because it is making a difference in your life and the lives of those that will follow you.”

Members of the Manchester School of Technology’s first graduating class served as ushers for the inaugural ceremonies.

Gatsas announced a new excellence awards initiative in the school district to recognize and celebrate progress.

“We will develop new public-private partnerships with area businesses to reward our schools with such things as new technology, building upgrades and staff development,” said Gatsas. “I am excited about bringing this program forward for the 2016/2017 school year and look forward to a district-wide and community-wide celebration of our achievements.”

Gatsas discussed strides made in public safety, such as increasing the number of officers in the police department.

“But as we all know, our next fight when it comes to public safety is taking on the heroin and opioid epidemic,” Gatsas said.

He added: “Our emergency responders are on the front lines and they are doing their very best. However, if we are to end the epidemic, we must work to make our emergency responders our last line of defense, and we do this by making treatment and rehabilitation easily accessible and readily available.”

While concluding his remarks, Gatsas reflected on the recent opening of the Families in Transition – New Horizons Family Place Resource Center and Shelter. The Lake Avenue center is the first homeless shelter for families and children in the state.

“This project represents all that can be good and great when city government, the community and the private sector work together,” he said.

Besides the mayor, the 28 members of the boards of aldermen and school committee were sworn in, as well as Welfare Commissioner Paul Martineau.

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