Narkewicz has challenger in re-election bid; Powers files for city clerk



Published: 04-24-2017 11:18 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Election papers became available Monday in the city clerk’s office, and candidates new and old began to emerge.

Mayor David Narkewicz took out papers for a third term, and Roy Martin took out papers for a ninth — and, he says, final — time. Martin’s previous eight bids for mayor have been unsuccessful.

Candidates have until July 27 to collect required signatures, which must be certified, before they are officially placed on the November ballot.

Another familiar face materialized, but this time seeking her first elected position with the city. Pamela L. Powers, currently the administrative assistant to the City Council, took out papers Monday for city clerk. City Clerk Wendy Mazza is retiring this spring after 45 years in the clerk’s office.

Powers has worked in City Hall since Mazza hired her as assistant clerk in 2011. Prior to that she led field operations for the local office of the decennial census and worked as a customer service and distribution manager for Graphics Technical International, formerly known as James River Graphics, where she worked for 14 years.

“I’m familiar with the processes,” she said of what it takes to be city clerk. “When Wendy was out on medical leave for a period of time, I took over for her.”

Powers, who has a master’s degree in business administration, said she enjoys using her administrative skills to serve the public.

“It’s a good fit for my skills, my experience and what I like to do,” she said. “It rings true with what I’ve been trained to do.”

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Powers said she has worked with the City Council as the city adjusted to a new charter and moved toward greater transparency. She said she’d like to see that work continue.

“I want the city to be in good hands, and this is a good opportunity for me to continue with my public service,” she said.

Powers is from Granby, originally, and moved to Northampton 15 years ago. She lives in Florence with her husband and three children, all of whom attend Northampton High School.

Narkewicz runs again

Narkewicz served a two-year term under the former charter, and also was elected to the city’s first-ever four-year mayoral term in 2013.

“I love being the mayor of Northampton, and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to serve this great city,” Narkewicz said Monday. “I have been really proud to work on a number of issues.”

He cited work on the city’s budget, economic development, capital improvements, affordability and sustainability as work he’s proud of and would like to continue.

“And also in our leadership in terms of a community that’s welcoming and at the forefront of social justice issues,” he said.

Narkewicz said he also feels good about the strides he has made in making information more readily available to the public.

“I’ve done a lot of work around promoting more government efficiency and transparency — upgrading the website and introducing Twitter and Open Checkbook and trying to make city government more accessible to city residents,” he said.

Since affordability remains one of the city’s challenges, Narkewicz said he’d like to continue addressing the issue.

“We’re continuing to work on the goal of keeping Northampton affordable and other initiatives to make sure that people of all income levels can continue to live, work and run a business in Northampton,” he said.

For now, he said, taking out papers was simply a logistical step. He said he doesn’t intend to launch his campaign in earnest until September.

“My main focus now is continuing to do my job, doing the best job that I can,” he said.

As for his opponent, Martin says he reconsidered earlier statements about his previous runs being his last after a period of improved health. He said displeasure with the city’s stormwater fee and vacant storefronts inspired him to run again.

“Can we do something with tax money to help the people start a business and get going, get on their feet?” he said. “Can we help to lower the rents a little bit? Something like that. Anything that would bring business back into town.”

Amanda Drane can be contacted at