Pigs are flying and hell is freezing over.

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II has been nominated by the Fall River Herald News as the paper's "Newsmaker of the Year!" Heck, just a few weeks ago before Correia was elected to a second term in a landslide over longtime City Councilor Linda Pereira, the Herald had very few nice things to say about the 25 year old who knocked The Spindle City's political machine for a loop two years ago by shredding their man Sam Sutter.

Not long after Correia's ascension to the throne, the rumor mill began to churn out stories about FBI investigations and grand jury indictments. The local news media was only too eager to assist in spreading those rumors. To date there have been no indictments and no indication that any are forthcoming.

Correia dared to slam the door on the backroom dealmakers and threw open the windows to expose an antiquated "old boy" system that has kept Fall River from moving forward.  His refusal to accept business as usual has been a breath of fresh air for a city that has struggled to find relevance in the years since the downfall of manufacturing.

During his first two years in office, Correia has surpassed minimum mandatory spending on education. His zero-based budgeting has saved the city millions. Correia kept his promise to repeal the annual trash fee imposed by Sutter and privatized trash collection saving the city even more money. He has also taken steps to bring economic development into the fold of city government.

Fall River is finally on the rebound. Projects such as Amazon began prior to Correia's tenure, but his leadership and vision has set Fall River on a track towards a brighter and more prosperous future. Correia's re-election was a mandate to stay the course. The City Council should recognize Correia's successes and accept that his vision is shared with the majority of those who chose to participate in last month's election.

Correia should be named Fall River's "Person of the Year," but not for cynical reasons.  Unfortunately, cynicism has been one of the symptoms of what has ailed Fall River for far too long.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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