By: Staff Reports On: 04:13PM / Thursday March 03, 2011
Rod Bunt, right, leads the Fall Foliage Children's Parade in 2009. The director of the city's office of tourism for the last decade resigned Thursday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Rod Bunt quit abruptly Thursday as the city's director of tourism and cultural development.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said he and Bunt had spoken Wednesday and the parting was amicable. Bunt submitted his resignation effective today.
"I wasn't shocked, he wasn't shocked," said the mayor, who added that Bunt was planning to pursue opportunities in the private sector. "I'll miss him, he's a great guy."
Bunt told the North Adams Transcript, which broke the story earlier this afternoon, that his annual salary of $34,160 hasn't moved much since he was hired in 2001 and he "had some irons in the fire."
The former WNAW morning show host was named director for the newly created office in 2001 by former Mayor John Barrett III. He oversaw events and promotions in the city including the annual farmers' market, Winterfest and the Fall Foliage Festival.
He told the Transcript it wouldn't be fair to the city to hold the post while looking elsewhere. Bunt said he would be available to help the new director transition into the job.
"Rod's been the events guy for the city for 10-plus years," said Alcombright. "He's done a lot of things and grown a lot of events. He's been kind of the feet on the street for us."
Bunt reportedly also resigned as director of the annual Fall Foliage Parade, according to an e-mail sent from parade sponsor Berkshire Chamber of Commerce to the Parade Committee.
His name was removed from the city's website by Thursday afternoon. The mayor's administrative assistant Lisa Loomis is listed as the contact and will be the liasion to the chamber.
A call to Bunt on Thursday has not yet been returned.
With a summer season filled with the Food Festival, the return of Wilco and a giant Zumba dance fundraiser on Main Street for the annual Relay for Life, the position won't go vacant long. Bunt's departure, however, will give the city an opportunity to re-envision the job's responsibilities and write a "carefully crafted" job description, said the mayor.
That will mean searching for someone with a marketing and branding background, and possibly experience in business and the arts, to coordinate with the city's cultural and business groups. The mayor expected to post the position within the next week or so.
"I fully intend to fill the position," said Alcombright. "There are a lot of events that are in a sense city events that you can't bump off onto the private sectors."
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Cant wait to see the mayors revamp of this position. Now he can raise the salary to benefit someone with his so called competetive outlook while existing employees pay remain stagnant. Just wonderful !!!
Maybe the Position and the Office Of should not be filled. Recently the new Non-Profit Partnership for North Adams was formed and the function that the Office of Tourism and Cultural Development was tasked to do sounds like a replication of services. Maybe this new endevor could fill the void and at the same time provide a much needed financial relief to the City of North Adams.
Editor: I asked about the new groups, specifically DNA. The mayor felt the city needed someone who could liasion with volunteer groups and do more in terms of marketing. Events would be out of the Partnership's field since its purpose is economic development and investment. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
I think we need to first see results from the group DNA - more significant results. Groups like this start off strong, give the members something to gloat about and then tend to die out. I agree that North Adams needs someone in place to keep on top of these events and unfortunatly monetary compensation is the driving force. Also- if their website is any indication of how their group is run - it is only a matter of time before we no longer hear from them.
I'm fine with volunteers to coordinate festivals but I do think someone is needed to find real solutions to coaxing tourists from MoCA to walk over Marshall St to Main and help the Main St merchants understand that it's all for naught if they're not open on weekends, especially holidays, since there aren't that many tourists there during the week.
Editor: The BVB is primarily a marketing and information bureau for the entire county. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Rod Bunt made a tremendous contribution to N.A. It is difficult for anyone not directly experienced with promotional style community work (street fairs, parades, etc.) to understand how important it is to have a single individual to coordinate and execute the nuts n' bolts work. Bunt's work will be quickly and sorely missed.
N.A. (or any other community) has never benefited from organizations such as DNA, which has been around in one permutation or another for fifty years. They aren't effective because as well meaning as the folks involved usually are, ideas are the easy part. A seventh-grader can conceptualize a reasonable economic development plan. Turning those ideas into reality are where the real work is, and it's almost impossible to sustain anything like that by volunteer committee. Even a wonderful community event like the La Festa street fair, which was probably the best community event ever in N.A., eventually collapsed under the weight of expectations on volunteers.
It's too bad Mayor Alcombright couldn't see his way clear to paying Bunt as much as he pays his rookie secretary, eh? Maybe he would have stuck around. Oh well, politics is politics, and to the victor go the spoils. It's just too bad that the mayor couldn't see the big picture for the good of N.A.
This was a thankless job for Rod Bunt, especially since the Miksic Gang was constantly calling on the Mayor to fire him so Brian could take over the job. Just wait. This reconfiguration of the job will be a combination "tourism and business development" job, and Miksic will get the position, and at a higher pay than Bunt.
Mark my words. You will no doubt see a salary increase when the mayor revamps the position. If he does that will be a hugh slap in the face to Bunt but the mayor will blow smoke to justify his actions.
Thanks to IBerkshires.com for again reporting an important local impact story, UNLIKE The N.A. Transcript that made the story its big bold newspaper headline story today, then pulled it off web access a couple hours later????? The N.A. Transcript has already "archived" TODAY�s headline story so you can't read it online. Never seen that before. What's up with the censorship Glenn Drohan??... "Thank you for visiting North Adams Transcript. We are sorry the article that you requested is no longer available. Please search for this article in our archive search." Huh?
Wow. Instead of simply wishing Rod well (which he greatly deserves) this becomes a sour grapes thread for people who are still mad about the election in 2009. The Alcombright bashing on this thread is rather revealing.
The position obviously needs to be revamped. It's basically just an events coordinator these days, rather than the marketing position it originally was billed as in 2001
Just a little food for thought, if people think that Rod was underpaid, remember who he reported to for 9 of the 10 years he had the job.
Maybe the city should just make it a consultant position and hire you-know-who away from Pittsfield for $5000/mo. Be sure to throw in a car. Then the other side could complain, too.
Iberkshires.com is becoming one step closer to the crap the Transcript Topix use to spout out. The Transcript grew up and removed it. When will Iberkshires.com become respectful again? What's sad is the insults and rumors here are approved before they are posted which means iberkshires.com supports it. I started saving them to send to iberkshires.com respected advertisers. They should know what they are endorsing. I plead to Iberkshires.com to stop these blogs if all they are doing is hurting people on all sides.
Editor: We do not allow libel, slander or name-calling. Speculation and opinion are allowed - but we agree it's a fine line and highly subjective. We encourage respectful conversation but respect often seems in short supply. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
As a local businessman for the last 10+years I can attest to the ineffectiveness of the role Rod played, however that has been due entirely to two factors...1) our former mayor did not allow Rod or anyone else on his staff to be proactive and/or to take the initiative and 2) Rod is an incredibly nice guy, but he doesn't have the skills for this position.
This position requires someone who will be aggressive in getting people to North Adams and getting those already here into downtown businesses. It also requires someone who has a lot of ideas and is able to truly think outside the box. The salary for this position is money well spent as long as the person in the role has the right skills and ambition.
A much higher salary for this position could be justified as long as the results are there. I'm confident that Mayor Alcombright will find someone who is the perfect match for this job!
mayor cut $5000 a year plus two vehicles from his personal budget that Barrett received. His secretary gets paid less than Barrett's secretary and has more responsibilities. A new position title was created in public works that includes what the city engineer once did plus other responsibilities, and eliminates hiring outside engineers and contractors for certain jobs. The Veterans office is now split with Adams, and Williamstown to share costs. Jobs have been trimmed from departments and schools. Doubtful taxes will go down. Rise in utilities, state cuts, salt and sand, and continued work on neglected century old infrastructure continues. Please list the other new jobs you are talking about that Barrett didn't have.
Good Luck to Mr. Bunt, you did a good job....its hard to organize, plan and raise funds to sponsor events in such a small town. There are limited resources and not alot of businesses who can support events. As a small city, going forward we need to maybe refocus the position to be a liason and try to draw more manufacturing businesses to the area. Maybe it should be sold as a marketing position for the city but someone who could bring in companies like startup biotech or adding a company that actually manufactures something to get people jobs.
Thank you for the defense, Tammy. The missing story on Rod Bunt was indeed a glitch, and the article has been restored. Note: We at the Transcript are not in the business of censorship and are among those who are appreciative there is more than one source of news in Berkshire County. And please, if you see missing articles, let us know directly. Thanks.
It is sad to see how wasteful this administration is and those defending the Mayor have a vested interest. The Mayor paid his secretary $8000 above the starting step period. The Mayor has been filling empty positions including the new plumber he hired at $45,000. How about the jobs filled at city yard? How about the new car he got for his new Commisioner which is unmarked. It goes on and on and the press ignores it.
I look forward to someone who gets back to me in a timely manner. I called the mayors office to participate in events after Mr. Bunt never got back to me. He did this to us more than once. A friend of mine had the same problem. I feel bad being critical but we charge our customers a meals tax to help pay for his job.
What happened for the previous 20 years before Dick was elected was not good. Unless you liked the mayor and kissed his behind...you got nothing. Not even services guaranteed you under the law. There was no one to complain to.
Rod is a very nice guy and did some solid things in his position. If you will read, it says he departed. Maybe it was just his time. He also hadn't received a raise in a while. Would you want to stay at a job where you are unappreciated? Mr. Bunt, I wish you the best in the future.
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.