PITTSFIELD, Mass. —- The chairman of the School Committee won't be running for office this year. Instead, Alfred E. Barbalunga is encouraging others to take out papers.
Barbalunga, elected to his first two-year term in 2009 and again in 2011, stated his decision not to run for a third term in a letter to the public on Monday. He said he will complete his term, which ends in January 2014, and that the running of two committee officers, Vice Chairman Daniel Elias and Secretary Kathy Yon, should offer a "smooth transition."
He did not rule out the possibility of running for elected office in the future.
His full statement follows:
After careful consideration, I have decided not to run for re-election for the City of Pittsfield School Committee.
It has been my honor to serve as Chair and a privilege to work hand-in-hand with all of the valued Pittsfield school district employees. I feel confident there will be a smooth transition with the leadership team of Vice Chair Dan Elias and Secretary Kathy Yon, both who are running for re-election.
During the past year, I have had the unique experience of co-managing the Pittsfield school district with three different superintendents. Among many accomplishments, we were able to sign 100 percent of the union bargaining contracts, and present annual budgets which will allow this school system to move forward.
I am personally encouraging others to take out papers. I feel it is vital to have people from various walks of life who can bring different perspectives and fresh ideas to the School Committee. There are still more than two weeks until the first submission deadline.
I enjoyed working with the Charter Review Study Committee and the Chair, Judge Lapointe, and am hopeful there will be future compensation for School Committee members. I believe if these are paid positions, we will see a much larger candidate pool.
My final meeting as the School Committee Chair will be on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013. However, I have already assured Dr. McCandless I fully intend to complete my term, and I will be available to assist until January 8th, 2014.
I have contributed 18 years of combined service to the City of Pittsfield, and I feel very grateful to be a member of this vibrant community. There are many ways to make a contribution in my community and I intend on remaining active in public service, and would consider seeking public office again in the future.
I would be remiss if I did not thank my wife, Jonalee, my father Alfred, and my great friend Kevin J. Sherman, for all of the support and feedback they have given me along the way.