WOONSOCKET – Mayor-elect Lisa Baldelli-Hunt will take office with a huge popular mandate when she is sworn in Tuesday night at the Stadium Theatre.
The niece of former Mayor Charles Baldelli, she will usher in a clean sweep of City Hall’s most influential positions, bringing in a new team.
Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m., with the oath of office delivered by House Speaker Gordon Fox. Her uncle, the former mayor, is to serve as master of ceremonies.
Mid-way through her fourth term as District 49 representative in the House, Baldelli-Hunt is expected to formally tender her resignation sometime today, unleashing another brisk round of political competition among her would-be successors. At least half a dozen contenders have expressed an interest in the seat.
A special election will be scheduled to replace Baldelli-Hunt in 70-90 days, with a primary taking place at least 30 days before the final if there are more than two candidates from the same political party, according to the secretary of state.
In addition to Baldelli-Hunt, seven members of the City Council, including two newcomers, Melissa Murray and Garrett S. Mancieri, will be sworn in. The returning incumbents include Albert G. Brien, Christopher Beauchamp, Daniel Gendron, Roger G. Jalette Sr. and Robert Moreau.
After the swearing in of the mayor, the City Council will hold its first meeting to take care of some organizational chores, including the critical question of who will serve as its president.
Because the city is operating under the financial control of a state appointed Budget Commission, the new mayor and the city council president are required by law to serve on the five-member panel. During the recent campaign, voters delivered a resoundingly clear message to Mayor Leo T. Fontaine and City Council President John F. Ward for their participation and support of the board. Both longtime political veterans, they failed to win their bids for re-election by decisive margins.
Baldelli-Hunt and every member of the new council campaigned, in part, on a platform of ridding the city of the commission’s oversight. How the new political dynamics play out in the weeks and months ahead is an open question.
The ceremonies are open to the public. The doors of the Stadium open at 6:30 p.m.