It’s become a ritual in Fitchburg: Election time means a new mayor.

It happened for the third straight election in 2019, when Aaron Richardson soundly defeated incumbent Jason Gonzalez.

That came two years after Gonzalez soundly defeated then-incumbent Steve Arnold – who had defeated the previous incumbent, Shawn Pfaff, in a close race two years before that.

Richardson, who had previously succeeded Gonzalez in his District 3 aldermanic seat, won a one-year term with a campaign focused on the major decisions pending that year – especially the comprehensive plan rewrite. He’s now running again for a three-year term in the city’s first election with staggered terms, rather than all candidates running every two years.

Gonzalez’s tenure was filled with movement on development mixed with controversy in the Common Council chambers. At one point in 2018, he held a press conference to apologize to leaders in the black community for his behavior during budget deliberations.

Richardson’s seven months in office so far have been far less controversial, though the council has still butted heads over some major issues.

We’ll get an answer to whether he breaks the trend of a new mayor each election in April.

– Kimberly Wethal