John Barrett III was the mayor of North Adams for 26 years before being hired by Pittsfield. He will now serve as executive director for Berkshire Works.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — John Barrett III was appointed this week as the interim executive director of Berkshire Works.
Mayor James Ruberto appointed the former North Adams mayor to the position just a week after Barrett's contract as a public works consultant ended.
According to Pittsfield Director of Administration Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Barrett fills the shoes of Michael Herrick, who retired last Monday.
"Mayor Ruberto appointed him on an interim basis so that services can continue while they do an executive search," Farley-Bouvier said on Thursday. "It was nice that he was available."
Barrett began working this week and it is not certain how long he will be in the position. Farley-Bouvier said Barrett has not indicated a desire to remain in the position permanently and Berkshire Works staff will lead the search for a new director.
The employment agency is a collaboration of the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board and the state Division of Career Services.
Berkshire Works is one of 37 career centers throughout the state that is funded through the federal Workforce Investment Act and administered by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The Berkshire Training and Employment Program serves as the fiscal agent on behalf of the city.
Heather Boulger, executive director of BCREB, said in an e-mail that the city is the "Lead Elected Official for the workforce system and is responsible for Berkshire Works employees." BCREB oversees the program's operations.
The city appoints an executive director and the rest of the hiring is done through Berkshire Works employees, Farley-Bouvier said. After a new director is found, Ruberto would need to officially appoint the new hire.
The state's dean of mayors was hired by the city as a public works consultant after losing his record 14th bid for mayor.
"I think they were looking for somebody with executive experience," Farley-Bouvier said.
Barrett was "out of the office" Thursday and unable to comment when a call was placed to the Berkshire Works office.
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North Adams' loss has proved to be the Pittsfield area's gain.
Here at home, we lost a champion for the North Adams taxpayer and we're left with a mayor who thinks a Proposition 2 and 1/2 property tax override is no big deal.
That's ironic...the person least capable of the job lands it (temporarily of course) because of who he knows. At least Berkshire Works worked for someone! If it weren't for his buddy Ruberto, Barrett would be panhandling on the streets of Boston! Good riddance!
If you want a reason why North Adams is facing a prop 2.5 Override, look no further to the new crowned prince of pittsfield! Barrett did not manage the budget in North Adams, he was reelected multiple times because he mismanaged money, and NEVER raised taxes. NEVER. A city cannot survive on the tax rate in North Adams....his reliance on state aid left the city in a sinkhole. Great job, Barrett! Don't be delusional to think that Barrett was anything, or IS anything, but a self-centered and incapable money manager.
Good Luck John in your new job and THANK YOU for 26 years of hard deticated service to the city of North Adams! How quickly some have turned on you that dont even understaind the process of how fed programs and rules work .I know that these overrides are unnessasary and your offer to help Dick has gone unexcepted! Now there is no light at the end of the tunnel .
Barrett was great finding unqualified people jobs in North Adams. He'd call up a restaurant and say hire this person or else. He would hire a construction company for the city work and make them hire a couple buddies kids. He know how to manage city emploees too. If they didn't support him at election time their jobs were threatened and replaced with those who did support him. Just the kind of guy I want in that position.
I am just glad to see Mike Herrick gone! Maybe now Berkshire Works can really start to do the job that so many in that office had been trying and wanting to do with out being bullied into going his way or the highway!
Seriously. They Barrett Boosters are revving up for something. Either that, or we have two or three old-timers with nothing to do but but click on "agree" or "disagree" all day.
And yes, John would call people and "suggest" they employ certain individuals or use certain companies. And if you ever wanted to fire one of those individuals, you would best served to call John first and explain.
Good luck, John. You are a very good public works consultant and I think you could make a small fortune doing that for mid-sized cities all over the country (especially in Mass given your knowledge of funding mechanisms.) Why you chose this....?
N A employes dont miss Mr. Barret, hell the christmas lights are just getting taken off the trees on Main St ripping all the buds off, the ropping and lights are all still on the polls on Holden St and Ashland St.