FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — For more than a decade, there’s been a revolving door at the Fall River mayor’s office — a trend the city’s new mayor-elect hopes to bring to an end.
In the city’s mayoral race, School Committee member Paul Coogan Tuesday easily defeated outgoing Mayor Jasiel Correia and write-in candidate Cathy Ann Viveiros, the city administrator. In January, he will become the eighth person to hold the office in a little over 12 years.
“I have a long track record in this city,” Coogan said. “I won’t get caught up in any shenanigans like that.”
The turnover started in 2007 when veteran Mayor Edward Lambert left office a few months early, and was succeeded by acting Mayor William Whitty.
Robert Correia was elected a few months later but was defeated in the preliminary elections after one term. Will Flanagan took office in 2010 and even won re-election, but was recalled in 2014. His replacement, former Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter, held office for less than a year before losing to Jasiel Correia in the general election.
Correia last month ended his re-election campaign and took a paid leave of absence amid two separate federal fraud indictments. In Correia’s absence, City Council President Cliff Ponte is serving as acting mayor.
Eyewitness News Politics Editor Ted Nesi said the revolving door of mayors may be more than just a distraction.
“It has much bigger implications than the political drama that we see,” Nesi said. “That means you can’t have long-term planning. You can’t coordinate with other communities. It has had a lot of effects on Fall River and I think voters are exhausted by it.”
Voters who spoke with Eyewitness News agreed.
“I think it was a big embarrassment for the whole city,” said voter Paul Christy.
“I think we need some stability in the government of the city,” added Mary Hollenbeck, another vote.