Norwich Mayor Nystrom, new City Council sworn in

New Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom is sworn in Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, by City Clerk Betsy Barrett in the Council Chambers at City Hall. His wife, Linda, holds the Bible. (Claire Bessette/The Day)
New Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom is sworn in Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, by City Clerk Betsy Barrett in the Council Chambers at City Hall. His wife, Linda, holds the Bible. (Claire Bessette/The Day)

Norwich — Ushered in by a bagpiper, city police and firefighters in dress uniform and a parade of city officials, newly elected Mayor Peter Nystrom, the six aldermen and nine Board of Education members all received hearty applause in the packed Council Chambers, as did three former mayors also in attendance Tuesday.

The ceremony and brief remarks by the new mayor and aldermen to thank their families and voters for their support preceded a brief business meeting. The council voted unanimously to set its meeting dates on the traditional first and third Mondays, both beginning at 7:30 p.m., with general public comment to begin the second meeting of the month.

Along with Nystrom, who has a voting seat on the City Council, Republican incumbents William Nash, Joanne Philbrick and Stacy Gould, who were re-elected, and new Democrats Stephanie Burnham, Joseph DeLucia and Samuel Browning were sworn in Tuesday.

Fifth-term Alderman Nash was elected council president pro tempore, and the council unanimously re-appointed Betsy Barrett as city clerk and Michael Driscoll as corporation counsel.

The one significant change in a series of rules set by the council was the creation of a council Budget and Finance Committee, with Gould, Philbrick and Burnham to serve on it.

Nystrom, Gould and Browning will serve on the Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee and Nash, Philbrick and DeLucia will serve on the Public Safety Committee. The council also continued the recently created Appointments/Reappointments Committee, with Philbrick, Gould and DeLucia as members.

After the meeting, Nystrom said he felt it important to create the new Budget and Finance Committee to keep track of the ever-changing state budget picture in Hartford. The state budget impasse this year left the city budget as an open book with changes needed to both staffing, revenue projections and even the need for a second motor vehicle tax bill, approved by the departing council on Monday.

“The budget is such a moving target with the state,” Nystrom said. “Each month, there was a resolution coming forward addressing budget issues. I’m not comfortable with that.”

Nystrom said the new committee will work with City Manager John Salomone and the city finance office on budget matters. Nystrom said the newly adopted set of rules and procedures would be amended to add the new committee.

A Republican, Nystrom, 60, easily defeated four opponents in the Nov. 7 election to retake the four-year mayor’s seat for the second time. Nystrom served as mayor from 2009 to 2013, when he lost to Democrat Deberey Hinchey, who did not run for re-election this year. Hinchey and former Mayors Arthur Lathrop and Benjamin Lathrop all attended Tuesday’s ceremony.

Nystrom is the fifth mayor under the city charter adopted in 2001 that restored the mayor’s position after 50 years.

c.bessette@theday.com

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