“It’s hard to be an elected official,” he said. “It’s difficult and challenging. We make decisions all the time. No matter what you do there will always be those who disagree.”
Mr. Taveras, who was introduced by Bristol’s director of community development, Diane Williamson, as someone who goes about his work with “teamwork, transparency and tenacity,” balanced the challenges of holding political office with the satisfaction it can give.
“We can make a huge difference in our cities and towns. Get criticized for doing the right thing. Stick with your principles. Stay with your moral compass,” he said.
Recognizing that the life of an elected official is rarely solitary, he also acknowledged the families who support Bristol’s leaders.
“Thank you to all of the families. Thank you for sharing your loved one with us and with the town of Bristol. This is a great day for you and the town of Bristol.”
The twenty-first Inauguration of Bristol’s town officials began with a police color guard carrying the country’s, the state’s and the town’s flags through the standing room only auditorium of Colt School. While the audience remained standing, dozens of children, all friends and relatives of those about to take their oath of office, gathered on stage to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. The National Anthem, sung by Bristol’s Victoria Carroll, was followed by the Invocation by Reverend Canon David Lucey of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.
After taking his oath, Bristol’s Town Administrator Antonio Teixeira laid out the course that he set for himself and for the town. The transfer of leadership comes at a time when the town is enjoying a strong fiscal position, a point that Governor Lincoln Chafee made note of during his remarks. Still, Mr. Teixeira said, there is room for improvement.
Under his leadership, the focus will be to improve the financial management of the town’s budget; attract more businesses to Bristol; and to challenge each department to optimize their efficiencies.
While inheriting such outstanding projects as recreating the harbor master’s department, constructing a new animal shelter and continuing repairs to the Tanyard Brook, Town Administrator Teixeira said he will ensure that through cooperation and collaboration among the municipal departments, the town will “maximize the resources we have.”
“We will work hard to improve the quality of life in Bristol to move our town to a new level of prosperity,” he said.
Before Mr. Taveras administered the oath of office to Bristol’s town councilors as a group, Town Clerk Louis Cirillo raised his hand to renew his obligation to the town’s citizens. In his role as town clerk, it is typically Mr. Cirillo who administers the oath to others who serve in a public capacity. So when Mr. Taveras had to prompt Mr. Cirillo, who hesitated before repeating the final words of the oath, a chuckle ran through the auditorium.
“Being the one who usually gives the oath, I’m used to my own cadence,” he quipped to the audience.
Introduced as the town’s “go to resource” for a variety of questions about the municipality’s history, protocols, practices and policies, Mr. Cirillo credited not only his staff, but department heads and town employees. Then he extended his best wishes to all new and returning elected colleagues.
“These are the people who dedicate their time to the public good,” he said.
He also pledged that, in accepting his role, his goal is to provide “customer service that is second to none.”
With the town council’s organizational meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 5, when a chairman and vice chairman will be elected, and the town’s business will resume, fueled by fresh ideas and new perspectives, each sworn councilor expressed the desire to leave Bristol better than how they found it, and do so with cooperation and good humor.
With elected officials seated on the stage, sworn to their duties, Gov. Chafee stood behind the podium where he recognized the fiscal and community health of Bristol and the positive path on which it should continue.
“You don’t even have potholes,” he said.
In his address, Mr. Teixeira spoke humbly of his gratitude and appreciation for the support he’s received, politically and civically.
“I’m grateful for all the blessings I’ve received this year,” he said.
He also acknowledged that, at least in the beginning of his term, more questions than answers are likely to come from the administrative suite, tossing a friendly nod to outgoing town administrator, Diane Mederos and her administrative assistant, Denise Asciola.
“Please leave your numbers on your desks,” he said.
After a Benediction by Paul Bisbano, deacon at St. Mary’s Church, the Inauguration ceremony was adjourned by Ms. Williamson. All attendees and guests of honor were ushered by members of the Bristol Volunteer Fire Department to a reception held in the school corridor where friends, families and well wishers celebrated the occasion.