HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Elected officials were also sworn in Monday in Holyoke. 22News explains how a city ordinance impacted the council just minutes after the inauguration ceremony.
“I worked hard to get to that spot too man, but it’s okay I’ll figure it out.” Holyoke City Councilor At-Large Israel Rivera announced minutes after being sworn in that he had resigned from his job at Holyoke Public Schools, just 5 months after being hired because of a city ordinance that bans council members from holding other city jobs.
“I was trying to prevent beginning the new council and the new year on a divisive status.” Holyoke City Councilor At-Large Israel Rivera
Rivera is now searching for a new job while he begins his city council term. Newly sworn in councilor Kevin Jourdain has been objecting to Rivera’s seating. He told 22News the ordinance is in place to prevent conflicts of interest.
“We should not have people working in the department’s that we are overseeing. we also don’t want to put our department heads in uncomfortable positions.” City Councilor Kevin Jourdain
Efforts to repeal the ordinance failed twice in the past month.
Joshua Garcia was also sworn in at Monday’s ceremony as the city’s first Latino mayor. He told 22News he would support repealing the ordinance in the future.
“I get the basic understanding. I think there’s a way that we can look at that and try to mitigate the concern while also not putting up barriers for people in our community to step up and serve.” Mayor Joshua Garcia
Ward 1 Councilor Jenny Rivera also resigned as a Holyoke Public Schools paraprofessional on Sunday to stay in line with the ordinance. A Boston-based civil rights groups opposes the ordinance, telling 22News it’s contradicted by the city charter and state law, both of which take precedence over an ordinance.