NEW BEDFORD — The start of the New Year signifies a new beginning for the most of us. With new lists of personal goals and special occasions to add to the calendar, the beginning of our next trip around the sun also serves as a way for one to reflect on their self-expectations for the year that lies ahead.

The first day of the New Year serves the same purpose for the City of New Bedford, as the 2018 inauguration ceremony at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center on Monday night saw the swearing in of new and incumbent elected officials.

The ceremony saw the inauguration of this year's School Committee and City Council, followed by the swearing in of Mayor Jon Mitchell to his fourth term in New Bedford. The Assessor, School Committee and City Council were sworn in by City Clerk Dennis Farias, while Mayor Mitchell was sworn in by Massachusetts Superior Court Justice Raymond Veary Jr. Retired Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Trial Court Armand Fernandes Jr. served as the Master of Ceremonies.

The City Council saw the departure of former Ward Five Councilor Kerry Winterson, former Ward Two Councilor Steven Martins, and former Ward One Councilor James Oliveira at the close of 2017. Maria Giesta now leads Ward Two, Scott Lima takes over Ward Five, and Brad Markey serves as Ward One's newest councilor.

Mayor Jon Mitchell delivered a speech to elected officials and city residents following his inauguration. The mayor reviewed the accomplishments of his administration and the city since he first took office in 2012, and set a goal for New Bedford to compete with the nation's big cities, who he says are home to “virtually all of America's venture capital, new office construction, and foreign investment”.

“It means we have to compete,” Mitchell explained. “We operate in the same global economy as these cities after all. At the same time, we shouldn't see ourselves as trying to be like them or beat them at their own game. But we can be something different. In an America where the biggest cities are becoming more congested, expensive, and in some cases, more violent, cities our size offers a more manageable alternative.”

The Mayor listed quality of life, education, city finances, economic competiveness, and the contributions of city residents as the five most important elements of the Whaling City to focus on improving in 2018. Mitchell finished his speech stressing the importance of citizenship, and invited those “sitting on the sidelines” to become involved.

“I love this city and I know that you do,” said Mitchell. “On this New Year's Day let us resolve together to make New Bedford a better place for all of us. Thank- you and God bless this great city.”

Following the ceremony, City Councilors made their way over to City Hall to elect new Council President Linda Morad. The council voted unanimously for Morad in a 9-0 vote, which was followed up with a speech from the 2018 City Council President.

“I'm looking for the City Council to be more of a partner in city government versus being a reaction [to city government],” Morad said of her expectations of City Council this year. “We've seen that in a couple of items over this past year and hopefully this year we can work with the Mayor and the administration in discussing issues so that we're working together and presenting them forward.”

After the ceremony elected officials invited the public to celebrate at the Waypoint Event Center, located on the waterfront.

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