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North Adams Search For New Commissioner 'Challenging'

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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McCann Technical School Superintendent James Brosnan explained the changes in the regional vocational school district that will allow it to expand to the City Council. He spoke last week to the Williamstown Selectmen.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The search for a new public safety commissioner is going slow, the mayor reported on Tuesday night.

Mayor Richard Alcombright told the City Council that 16 to 18 applications and resumes have been received for the post and that he expected to close the search in the next week.

"We did not have a lot of responses," he said, in response to a question by Councilor Alan Marden. The mayor said that after speaking to a retired chief from the eastern end of the state, he believed there were two issues at play.

"No. 1, it's an unusual position because it's kind of a hybrid and, No. 2, is the salary," he said. "We're looking for a commissioner to run a public safety department at a salary that many lieutenants in communities across the commonwealth get. ... It's going to be challenging."

The city is seeking to replace retired Commissioner E. John Morocco who had been working part time while it was determined if his position should be maintained.

The mayor also said the city had submitted its response to the Department of Justice's audit of compliance with American With Disabilities Act.

"When we get that draft back, we'll know where we're at in respect to what we have to do over the next several years  to comply," he said, adding that he would present the information to the council before negotiating any settlement.

In other business, the City Council approved a new agreement with the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District that will allow Lanesborough and Cheshire to join. Those two towns already tuition students to McCann Technical School at a cost of $16,450 per student.

Superintendent James Brosnan said the school district received a Community Innovation Grant to review and amend the original 1958 document and bring it up to 2012 standards.

"The state is looking at this to be a model program, a model district agreement for other regional schools to use - not just the vocational schools but all regional schools," he said.

All seven municipalities covered by the agreement and Lanesborough and Cheshire have to approve the document. The original six towns of Adams, Clarksburg, Florida, Monroe, Savoy and Williamstown will vote at their town meetings.

Should the agreement pass, the city will see a savings in its share of capital costs of $28,000 for fiscal 2014 as well as reductions in transportation costs with the addition of two more towns. The School Committee will no longer appoint one member but instead all five city representatives will be elected.

"This will make the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District in the true sense of the world," said Councilor John Barrett III.

The council also:

• Approved the appointment of Marilyn DeRosa to the Board of Registrars and the reappointment of Kyle Hanlon to the Redevelopment Authority.

• Approved an application for David Bushey of Williamstown to drive a taxi for Lori Smith and an application for the renewal of a secondhand license to James Montepare for Empire Antiques.
• Agreed to file a discussion tightening limits for public speakers at the request of Marden, who originally brought the issue forward.

• Postponed a inquiry into adding handicapped parking at certain areas downtown to May 29 to allow the Traffic Commission to do more research.

• Approved and passed to a second reading an ordinance banning parking for about 57 feet on the west side of West Main Street, mostly in front of the flatiron apartment building.

• Referred to the General Government Committee a communication submitted by Councilor Jennifer Breen Kirsch to move council meetings to 6 or 6:30 p.m.

Editor's note: We inadvertently posted an older image of the City Council when this story was published last night. The current image is the correct one.

Tags: ADA,   McCann,   public safety commissioner,   

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