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Pittsfield: Veterans Agent Fired

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
08:15PM / Monday, August 25, 2014
Updated 01:20PM
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Updated on Aug. 25 at 8:15 p.m.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Veteran Services Agent Rosanne Frieri has been terminated, according to the mayor's office.
Mayor Daniel Bianchi said on Monday she was fired for "work-related" reasons.
"She received a letter of termination," Bianchi said. "Now we'll take the next steps."
Frieri has an attorney and has suggested the possibility of a lawsuit.

Updated on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 at 1:14 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The mayor's office released on Friday the reasons behind Veteran Services Agent Rosanne Frieri's suspension.
According to the statement from the mayor's office, Frieri was suspended without pay until further notice for not preparing a budget for fiscal 2015, did not present the budget to the City Council when asked to appear, was uncooperative with a co-worker and arrived late for work without proper notification.
The mayor's office says Frieri did not prepare a budget despite the directive to do so. The city Treasurer Sue Carmel ultimately prepared the budget. Frieri also did not appear at the July 15 meeting to present the budget to the City Council.
Director of Administrative Services Julia Sabourin said the city will not issue any further comment and released the reason for the suspension "to set the record straight" following Frieri's comments to local media.

Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Veterans Services Agent Rosanne Frieri was placed on administrative leave on Tuesday but city officials are not commenting on the reasons for the suspension.

The city's Director of Administrative Services Julia Sabourin said she could not comment on the matter because it is a "personnel issue." 

"She has been put on administrative leave without pay effective as of 4 p.m. on Aug. 5," Sabourin said.
Frieri, contacted Wednesday night, said the suspension took her by surprise.

"I never, never expected that to happen," she said. "I was a little shocked."

She planned on meeting with a lawyer on Thursday to weigh her options.

Frieri said she had informed Personnel Director John M. DeAngelo that she would no longer meet alone with Mayor Daniel Bianchi after the way he had spoken to her about an issue.

She said she felt uncomfortable without a witness or representative, and had considered asking for a mediator. When she did declined to meet with Bianchi on Tuesday alone, DeAngelo told her she would be suspended, she said.

While she didn't want to speak badly about the mayor, she said she also "can't get mixed up in his politics."

Frieri felt her appearance on John Krol's "Good Morning, Pittsfield," radio show to speak about an equine program in Richmond for veterans after being asked by the mayor not to was a factor in her suspension.

Frieri pointed out that she is also a veterans agent for six other towns, including Richmond.
When asked for reasons for the suspension, Sabourin replied, "it's personnel matters and we cannot discuss that." She added that there is no specific timetable for Frieri's return.
Frieri has more than 20 years of service with the military, including as a staff sergeant with Massachusetts Air National Guard. In 2010, she ran in the Republican primary for state representative in the 2nd Berkshire District. She was appointed veterans agent in 2007 by then Mayor James Ruberto.
This is the second highly-placed public figure in Pittsfield to be suspended this year. William Monterosso, who earlier this year replaced John Barrett III as the head of BerkshireWorks, was suspended with pay and later resigned. Monterosso was appointed by Bianchi to run the agency, a collaboration of the state Division of Career Services and the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board.
The city issued very limited information on that situation as well.
Frieri noted that Monterosso, a man, was suspended with pay, while she was not, and wondered whether her position or her gender made her a target.
Meanwhile, there's no one with the authority to keep things flowing through the veterans office, she said.
"My concern is what's going to happen to the veterans," Frieri said. "It puts everything in a holding pattern."

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