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Adams Seeking Temporary Visitors Center Manager

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The Board of Selectmen approved a new contract for Town Administrator Jonathan Butler.
ADAMS, Mass. — The town is looking for somebody to head a volunteer program at the Discover the Berkshires Visitors Center for the summer.

The Board of Selectmen approved Wednesday night sending out a request for interest for the temporary job. The position would oversee the center's operations for the summer to keep the building open for visitors.

"Because it is temporary, we thought it might be best to contract out the services," Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said. "For the short term, Donna [Cesan] and I thought this was the most flexible model."

The Berkshire Visitors Bureau moved out of the building to Pittsfield, and town has been plotting the reuse of the building. The board previously approved eventually moving the Council on Aging there.

Butler said he would request about $2,000 from the Finance Committee from this year's budget to pay for the program and the town has already budgeted money for next the next year, which begins July 1.

"It's not a massive amount of money. We're thinking $500 to $1,000 a month [for a stipend]," Butler said. "There are volunteers that want to continue to volunteer so we might be able to find the candidate right from the current pool of volunteers."

The center is expected to be open on Memorial Day weekend and then five to six days a week in the summer during the busiest hours on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail — in the afternoons until about 7.

The board requested that new volunteers be trained to know the community well even though it the position is temporary.

Jason Hnatonko gave a farewell speech thanking his fellow board members and residents for his term on the board. He is not seeking re-election.
The board also approved new three-year contracts for Butler and Police Chief Donald Poirot.

Selectwoman Paula Melville, who has had numerous verbal spats with Butler, argued that the board should not be voting on Butler's contract until after the election of a new board.

The rest of the members, however, rejected that notion and raved about Butler's work.

"I believe Jonathan Butler is the best town administrator we've had in this town," Selectman Scott Nichols said. "He deserves to be here another three years."

Nichols said that because this board had worked directly with Butler for the last three years, it should be making the decision. Selectman Michael Ouellette added that the previous board hired Butler.

Poirot has not been under contract in about two years but the new contract does not include any retroactive pay for those years.

In other news, Butler said the town has received no proposals for the soon-to-be vacant Adams Memorial Middle School. The town sent out a request for expressions of interest, seeking ideas for the building's reuse, but none came forward.

Nichols said he would like to see the town search out a private developer to take it over to get the building on the tax role.

Wednesday's meeting was the last for Selectman Jason Hnatonko, who was first elected three years ago. He is not running for re-election after completing his one term.

Tags: town administrator,   visitors center,   

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