FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) – The Bay State welcomed its newest mayor on Tuesday morning.
Sutter, who was the Bristol County District Attorney at the time he was elected, defeated Will Flanagan in a recall election held on Dec. 16.
“I think you saw how grateful I am to the city of Fall River for giving me this chance to lead at this critical juncture, so away we go, starting right now,” said Sutter.
The new mayor immediately got down to business, promising in his inaugural speech to work on several issues including revitalizing the city’s waterfront, fighting the opiate addiction epidemic, and improving education.
His number-one priority for the city, however, was relayed to us following his speech.
“The budget, the budget, and more of the budget. I mean, the city’s financial problems have to be addressed, and the people of the city have to understand exactly what’s going on,” he said.
Issues that sparked the recall election included fire department layoffs and costs of the city’s trash program. Flanagan was also under scrutiny after City Councilman Jasiel Correia claimed the mayor attempted to intimidate him with a firearm in his car. Flanagan denied the claim.
Sutter said he had one meeting with the outgoing mayor prior to being sworn in.
“We agreed that the lines of communication are going to be open,” he said. “I still like Will, and I wish Will the very best in the future, and I think he understands that and I think that’s why we had a really good meeting.”
The mayor-elect announced his transition team on Dec. 23, which includes two former Fall River mayors, Carlton Viveiros and Robert Correia. Sutter said that the goal of this team will be to evaluate and fix problems in city hall.
Sutter’s office is also currently prosecuting former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. He says he is confident that the trial, which is scheduled to begin next month, will be handled by a “great trial team.”
Eyewitness News did some digging, and found that Massachusetts law does allow a state office holder to also hold municipal office. Sutter said he doesn’t plan to hold both offices very long, but in the meantime he’ll be able to perform both jobs effectively.
Sutter previously ran unsuccessfully for Congress and also considered a run for Massachusetts attorney general.