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New mayor and councilors sworn in

New Mayor Paul Grenier was sworn in on Monday night, and he gave a speech calling for the support of both biomass projects proposed for Berlin. (Photo by Erik Eisele) (click for larger version)
January 20, 2010
BERLIN — The new mayor took his place on the city council on Monday, along with two new city councilors.

City Clerk Debra Patrick swore in Mayor Paul Grenier, new Councilors Robert Danderson and Micheal Rozak, and incumbent Councilors Tim Cayer, David Poulin and Ryan Landry during a ceremony at city hall auditorium in front of about forty people.

The change in administration marks a significant departure from the policies of the last administration, made clear by Mayor Grenier's inaugural remarks.

"Welcome to Berlin," he said to representatives from Laidlaw Berlin Biopower who were sitting in the audience. "I want to thank you for not giving up on Berlin."

Disagreement over the Laidlaw project was one of the main issues Mayor Grenier cited during the election last fall. Now, he said, he hopes all sides can work together to bring not just the Laidlaw biomass project to fruition but also the Clean Power Development project.

"Berlin has the unique opportunity to become the green capital of New Hampshire," he said.

Both proposals will benefit the city and the county, he said, and the council must guard against people who set up roadblocks to their development.

"God help those who do," he said. "As mayor I won't stand for it."

Mayor Grenier also said he intends to revisit the city seal, which the council voted to change last year. The stacks should stay on it, he said, because they were the common thread linking the various cultures of Berlin together. He compared changing the seal to the Boston Bruins or the Montreal Canadiens changing their logo.

He also touched on jobs, which were another tenant of his election platform. Keeping the Gorham paper mill will be a main focus of his administration.

"Creation of jobs in the Androscoggin Valley is the highest priority," he said.

His comments came after the close of the final meeting under the administration of Mayor David Bertrand, who thanked the other councilors both individually and as a group.

"Working with the eight councilors these past two years has been a pleasure," he said.

He urged the next administration not to be beholden to Berlin's past.

"For the first time in its history Berlin has the opportunity to chart its own course," he said. "There is no need to look back. Forward is the direction this council should go."

The council will move forward, but the change from Mayor Bertrand to Mayor Grenier means it will be forward in a different direction. The change in administration means a shift from opposition to support of Laidlaw in the mayors seat, and the council lost one more Laidlaw opposition voice in Councilor Ron Goudreau, who was replaced by Councilor Michael Rozak.

But Mayor Grenier said he intends to waste no time bickering.

"It's time to get to work," he said.

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