Joseph Petty is the current mayor of Worcester, Massachusetts.
Early life and education
Raised in Worcester, Petty graduated from Holy Name Central Catholic High School. He attended Nichols College and earned a law degree from New England School of Law.
Petty was first elected to the Worcester City Council in 1997. After serving six two-year terms on the council, he mounted a campaign for mayor in 2011 when incumbent Joseph C. O'Brien decided not to seek reelection due to family concerns. He defeated former mayor Konstantina Lukes, perennial candidate Bill Coleman, and Carmen Carmona by earning 48% of votes cast. During the preceding campaign, Petty received the endorsement of Congressman Jim McGovern.
As mayor, Petty has overseen the partial demolition and redevelopment of Worcester Common Outlets, an abandoned downtown mall. This effort involves recreating a direct roadway between Union Station and Worcester City Hall and Common that was lost when the mall was built in the 1960s.
In May 2012, Petty brokered a tax reform compromise among city councilors. Some councilors favored a sharp decrease in the city's commercial tax rate, while others wished to maintain the lowest possible residential tax rate. Petty proposed a comprise that decreased the commercial tax rate by $5.57 and raised the residential tax rate ¢92 per $1000 of assessed value. This tax reform, which passed on a 6-5 vote, was the subject of controversy, for it came in the wake of a revelation that annual property revaluations would lead to significantly higher commercial tax bills. While the city's assessors contended that the increased tax bills were due to reforms, such as considering a building's exact vacancy rate when calculating its assessment, other figures accused past administrations of improperly overriding assessments to provide lower tax bills.
Petty is married to Gayle Perrone Petty. They have three children, the middle child also named Joe Petty.