NORTH ADAMS -- The city will have at least five new City Councilors following the Tuesday, Nov. 5, election, when voters will be asked to pare down a field of 12 candidates to fill nine at-large seats.
All five open seats are being vacated by councilors who have chosen not to seek re-election.
Recently, all 12 candidates were asked a series of three questions by the Transcript, which included each individual's reason for running, what assets each brings to the council and what each believes are the most important issues the city will face in the next two years.
This is the second of three sets of council profiles, run in alphabetical order. Their answers follow:
Family: She has two adult children, Brittany Choquette and Jeremy Bullett and two grandchildren: Riley William Choquette and Terrell Donovan Bullett.
Education: She has a bachelor's degree in physical therapy.
Occupation: Physical Therapist
Civic/Charitable Affiliations: She is a member of the Windsor Lake Commission and a founding member of the MCLA Varsity Club.
Bullett is finishing her first term on the council and says she is seeking reelection as " much of what we do takes more than one term to accomplish."
"The City Council provides me with the opportunity to help problem solve issues and be involved with projects so important for the city," she said. "It also provides an opportunity to work with and for city residents, listen to their concerns and, hopefully, provide answers to questions. The city is seeing more positive energy and growth and I believe we can capitalize on this energy."
She added that she want to continue to invest her energy into improving the quality of life in North Adams.
"I have a passion for our natural resources and see them as a tremendous fit to the fabric of our community," she said. "Athletics and taking responsibility for our physical health is important to me and I want to insure that our children have the opportunities to excel in and out of the classroom. I am a member of the MCLA community and this connection will grow as we strengthen our relationship with the college community."
Bullett believes the most challenging issues the city will face in the coming two years are its finances.
"The city faces many needed repairs from the infrastructure for our water and sewer to the transfer station, our public services buildings and the schools," she said. "All require significant financial commitments and the challenge for our community is how to find the funds for these essential services. I understand the difficult financial situation of our families and our nation. Just looking at the national scene right now speaks volumes to the stress of dealing with a financial crisis and the anxiety we feel about change."
Children: Karen, Kelly, and stepdaughter Charity
Education: He is a graduate of the Pittsfield Vocational auto program and of the McCann Technical School welding program.
Occupation: Cardimino retired from General Electric, where he was an inspector and welder. He currently works part-time as a landscaper and as a property manager.
Civic/Charitable Affiliations: He was member of Lions Club for 10 years and is currently a member of the North Adams American Legion; the Dalton American Legion Riders; the NAACP Pittsfield Chapter and is a U. S. Navy veteran who served in the Korean War.
This is Cardimino's second bid for City Council. He first ran in 2011.
Cardimino, a lifelong resident of the city, believes he will be the voice of many city residents and property owners who feel they no longer have representation in local government.
"I have learned a great deal about the workings of the City Council and the experience I've obtained is essential for any prospective council candidate," he said. "I want to bring the voice of city residents and resident property owners to the next City Council for too many of these people feel totally left out of the governmental process and that their hard earned money is being stripped away by an administration and rubber-stamp council with out-of-control spending habits."
Cardimino believes the major issues facing the city over the next two years are the budget, crime, infrastructure needs and education.
As for the budget, he believes the city needs to "be more frugal; prioritize how tax money is spent." "City streets need more maintenance than just filling in pot holes once a year or when there is a cry from residents about them. We need action, not reaction," he said. "Water and sewer pipes are being a major problem. A plan is needed to start replacing them. The water and sewer fees should only be used for that purpose and it needs to start soon. Stop the exorbitant pay raises and fix what needs to be fixed."
He also believes the city's transfer station can be "brought into compliance for a lot less than $2 million," and can be done with more management and without increasing fees."
Cardimino said he wants to be placed on the city's Public Safety Committee, so he can "work directly with the directors of the police and fire departments."
"I will lead the fight to put more police on the streets and for the tools and training to help them do their job," he said.
Partner: Tara Ferriter
Children: Jarret Ferriter, Emily Ferriter and Robert Ferriter
Education: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Occupation: Real Estate Broker
Civic/Charitable Affiliations: He is a prior member of the McCann School Committee, Human Rights and Relations Task Force and North Adams Community Development Corp. He is a present member of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce; Berkshire County Board of Realtors; LaFayette-Greylock Lodge of Masons; North Adams Elks; and St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
Hernandez, who is seeking his first term on the council, says he is running because he is a father and business owner in the community.
"As such, I have deep concerns about the city I was born in, and the city my children call home. I believe there are several tough issues facing the citizens of North Adams: Crime, slowed economic growth, and a declining population to name a few," he said. "Everyone says they want to be a voice for the people, but I believe first you must listen. I have been listening to the citizens of North Adams my entire life. Now, I want to share what' on the mind of my family, neighbors, and friends."
Hernandez believes his experience as a real estate broker will benefit the council, as well as his past experience as a member of the McCann School Committee.
He believes that crime, slowed economic growth and a declining population are the three biggest challenges the city needs to address in the next two years.
"I believe these are all tied together," he said. "I believe councilors should sit down in an informal meeting with the local police force. I want to hear direct from them what they are seeing, what they need. Let's let them have a voice in solving the city's crime problem."
He added, "Statistics show a direct relationship between poverty and crime. Therefore, we have to find a way to make sure our citizens don't have to leave our community to earn a living wage. When we see economic growth, we will see more of the talent coming out of our colleges staying to live, work and pay taxes in North Adams."
Joshua Joseph Moran
Partner: Amanda Chilson
Children: They have a son, Race Chilmor.
Education: He is a graduate of Drury High School and received a bachelor's in civil engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He also has course work completed for master's of environmental science and management from the University of Rhode Island.
Occupation: He is currently employed as a carpenter with Darren Champney General Contracting.
Civic/Charitable Affiliations: Moran is coach for the Whitney Girls' Basketball League; founder of Hikes for Bikes; chairman of the North Adams Appalachian Trail Community and is involved with Locks for Love.
Moran, who is seeking his first term on the council, said he is running for office because he believes in the city and because he represents a demographic that can bridge the city's past and its future.
"I want to offer a balance of youthfulness and progressiveness. There is much discourse about the path our city is following yet there is more needed than just dialogue. I am willing to invest the time and effort to help us succeed," he said. "I have the energy and the motivation to help North Adams live up to its full potential and continue on its path of accountability and sustainability. Now that I have a family, I must think about more than just my needs and my future, but the needs of our youth."
Moran believes the most important issue the city will face in the next two years will be the budget.
"Though I do not know what the future holds for the city' finances, I know that we can only get out of the city what we put in," he said. "Bridging the past with the future and fully embracing what will be the new face of the City and sustaining ourselves while we work through that process will be a challenge. The arts, education, and utilization of our natural surroundings are the future."