PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Former Director of Veterans Services Larry Caprari is being asked to again run the office until a new veteran's agent is hired.
Mayor Daniel Bianchi said on Tuesday that he is working out a service agreement with Caprari in the wake of the firing of Rosanne Frieri. Since Frieri's suspension and subsequent firing the department's administrative assistant Catherine Huska has been filling in.
Bianchi has said Frieri, appointed by former Mayor James Ruberto, was fired for "work-related reasons"; Frieri believes she was targeted because of disagreements over programs and policies, including her appearance on a local radio show that angered the mayor.
"In the interim, we are working out a service contract with Larry Caprari. Larry used to be the director of veterans services for 15 years," Bianchi said. "Catherine Huska has been doing the job for the last several weeks and has been doing a tremendous job. I'm very appreciative of her efforts."
Bianchi, however, said Caprari will be working a limited number of hours because he is retired.
"Larry reminds me 'I'm retired.' He only wants to work a certain number of hours a week," the mayor said.
Bianchi said he has asked veterans groups in the county to spread the word about an upcoming search committee for Frieri's replacement.
"I would like two or three veterans to serve on a search committee and work with our personnel director. I've done that in a couple of cases when there has been jobs open and it has worked out very well," Bianchi said.
The veteran's agent is one of two jobs the city is looking looking to hire. The city has also posted again for a commissioner of public services position. This position has been vacant and there is currently a proposal working its way through the City Council process for a reorganization of the department.
Bianchi said he posted the position again to see if there is the "stellar candidate" that could take the job as listed. The mayor said there hadn't been much interest in it.
"The reason we are proposing an organizational change is because we have had few applicants and interest in the way it's been structure. I thought, let's at least see what kind of response we get," Bianchi said.
He later added, "if we are able to get that stellar candidate, the guy we didn't get last time. Maybe we'd go with that and forget the reorganization. That's where we are at with that."