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Rachel Rochette Named Mayor in First Meeting Under New Council

The six-year councilwoman was named the new mayor Tuesday after members voted unanimously following a brief discussion.

Rachel Rochette smiles as she takes her seat as Berlin's new mayor. (Credit: Jason Vallee)
Rachel Rochette smiles as she takes her seat as Berlin's new mayor. (Credit: Jason Vallee)
Meet your new mayor, Berlin.

Rachel Rochette made the leap from deputy mayor to mayor on Tuesday after members of the council voted unanimously to name her as the successor to Adam Salina, who retired following the previous council meeting.

Rochette, who abstained from voting herself, watched as Republicans and Democrats eventually agreed by a 6-0 vote to appoint her to the ceremonial position. Newcomer Kevin Murphy, the highest vote getter among the Democrats, was named deputy mayor.

"I am honored to be selected by my colleagues on the council," Rochette said. "As we look to the next two years, I know there is much work to be done and I promise all Berlin citizens that I will work to the best of my ability to move our community forward."

"I am looking forward to serving with the six other councilors sitting beside me. I'm sure that we will work together openly, honestly and in good faith to continue to make Berlin a better community," she said.

Rochette said she would work to provide continued open communication with the public, introducing an idea for a Thursday evening "Meet the Councilors" that she hopes to have in place before the end of the year.

The vote came after a nomination from Murphy - but not before Brendan Luddy nominated Murphy first, citing that he was the top vote getter from the minority party.

"A lot of messages could be pulled from this election. Three of four top vote getters were new people and in keeping with past tradition, I believe we should be selecting the top vote getter from the majority party," Luddy said.

Murphy, however, politely declined and said the town would benefit more from having an experienced council member at the helm.

"This is not about me, this is about this town," Murphy said in his nomination of Rochett. "Rachel has the experience to lead this town through difficult times."

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Mr. Deeds November 30, 2013 at 12:13 PM
There's an old saying: "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining." Berlin's new Mayor, Rachel Rochette, pledged to work together with the Republican members of Berlin's Town Council, signaling that she would reach across the aisle to her fellow Republicans. She also pledged to listen to Berlin voters, who, like other Americans, are sick and tired of our country's divisive politics, which has accomplished little, if anything, but fighting and bickering and endless gridlock. But what was one of Rachel Rochette's first acts as Mayor of Berlin, after having received all of the Council Members votes for Mayor, including those from the three Republican Members elected to the Town Council? She appointed as Deputy Mayor a fellow Democrat, Kevin Murphy, who had no prior experience on the Council. Was this act an inclusionary gesture on Rachel Rochette's behalf to work with the Republican members on the Town Council? Would not have reaching across the aisle and appointing an experienced Republican Council Member as Deputy Mayor demonstrated in deed her pledge to work with all Council Members? Was Rochette's pledge to work with all Town Council Members anything but political posturing given the fact that she immediately appointed a fellow Democrat with no previous Council experience while Republicans with prior Council experience were available to serve as Deputy Mayor? Was her act inclusionary or exclusionary of minority members and interests? Seriously now, can Berlin voters expect anything but the same old party-line, divisive politics that we have had for years? The voters of Berlin, Connecticut, deserve better than party-line, divisive politics with its endless bickering, fighting, finger pointing, name calling, and blaming. Berlin voters deserve a real leader, someone who will not just stick to the party line, but who will do what's best for the voters as well as show constructive leadership by bringing Council Members and citizens together. Can anyone seriously claim that one of Rachel Rochette's first acts as Mayor was one that will bring all members at the Town Council table together? The Republicans extended an olive branch by nominating and voting unaminously for a Democratic Mayor. And how did Rachel Rochette, a Democrat, respond? As usual, despite her pledge to work with all Council Members, Rachel Rochette made her first appointment along party lines, and excluded the three Republican Town Council members from having a minority leadership voice on the Town Council. Talk is cheap; however, walking the talk is another matter. American voters in general are sick and tired of the Democratic and Republican bickering and fighting, name calling and finger pointing, resulting in gridlock, instead of working together on the serious problems facing Americans today and enacting viable solutions to restore our economy and country. Here was an opportunity squandered to show good faith to the opposition minority party in order for the Town Council to unite and work together for the good of all citizens of Berlin, whether they be Democratic, Republican, or Unaffiliated voters. It appears that our Mayor and the Democratic Members of the Town Council will once again represent only the interests of their Democratic constituents and ignore those of the Republican and Unaffiliated voters. Folks, you can expect the same old, same old, party-line, divisive politics for the Town of Berlin for yet another two years. The only thing different with Berlin's Town Council are merely some new and different faces. The citizens of Berlin deserve much better from its politicians than party-line, power-positioning politics.

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