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The Adams Fire District burned through the annual district meeting warrant in 15 minutes.

Adams Fire District Say No to Full-Time Fire Chief

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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About 60 Fire District members attend the annual meeting; nearly 1,000 cast votes in the election. 
ADAMS, Mass. — The Fire District voted to keep the status quo and shot down the proposition to increase the fire chief position to full time.
 
Voters were decisive in rejecting the ballot item in Tuesday's election with only 159 in favor of increasing the position while 804 voted no.
 
"It is what it is," said current Chief John Pansecchi, who had strongly advocated for the change. "Still have to do the job and still will do the job. I just hope that we have the manpower during the day because it is just going to get harder and harder."
 
The concept of a full-time fire chief arose late last year when Pansecchi went public with his desire to increase his position to full time.
 
Pansecchi, who also has a full-time job, felt with increased calls, duties, reporting, and inspections a full-time chief was needed. He also thought it would put the town in line with other smaller communities who have a full-time chief.
 
Pansecchi said he was not happy with the entire process and thought there was a campaign of misinformation working against him. In some cases, he alleged it was from the Prudential Committee members themselves.
 
"There were so many lies ... this is not the way to do this," he said. "It was put together to fail."
 
Pansecchi also advocated for a single full-time firefighter who would add consistent and faster response times during the day. This employee could also help with maintenance and share some of the administrative duties with the chief.  
 
This, too, failed to pass with only 133 votes in the positive and 830 in the negative.
 
Pansecchi said this is not the end and he will continue to push for the permanent positions he thinks is critical to the volunteer department.
 
"We have to do it ... just because it was voted down doesn't mean we can't look at it again," he said. "I have done ton of research on this."
 
Voter turnout was comparably high with 975 votes cast out of the 5,045 eligible voters. Treasure Kathleen Fletcher said typically they just break 100 votes.
 
As for the Fire District annual meeting, members voted on 18 articles much of which were procedural items voted on annually.
 
The warrant included an array of articles that built out the $2,177,361 budget, which is down 21 percent from this year's budget of $2,777,800.
 
Articles 10 through 15 represented state mandates from the Departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Recreation that if not approved would come with a greater cost.
 
District members accepted these articles with little pause and flew through the warrant in 15 minutes.
 
Members also accepted Article 10 that allocates $100,000 to continue the process of replacing aging water meters and Article 11 that allocates $35,000 to develop an asset management plan.
 
Article 12, which allocates $66,500, for the Master Plan passed as well as Article 13 that puts $24,000 aside for an Emergency Action Plan.
 
The majority of district members accepted Article 14, which appropriates $15,500 for an emergency response plan, and Article 15, which allocates $21,500 to update the operations and maintenance manual.
 
Article 16, the last budgetary vote of the night, asked the district to place $25,000 in the stabilization fund.
 
Almost 60 district members were present at the meeting that adjourned at 7:15 once the warrant was voted on and again a little after 7:30 once the ballot votes were completely tallied.

Tags: annual meeting,   fire chief,   fire district,   

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Three Berkshires Women Named 'Unsung Heroines'


Liz Mitchell and state Rep. John Barrett III at Tuesday's 2019 Unsung Heroine ceremony at the State House. 

BOSTON — Three Berkshires women were named Unsung Heroines for 2019 during a State House ceremony on Tuesday.

State Sen. Adam G. Hinds nominated Donna Cesan for this recognition because of her dedication to community, having served as Community Development Director and interim Town Administrator for the town of Adams for 19 years.

Elizabeth "Liz" Mitchell, a North Adams resident and advocate for domestic violance victims with the Elizabeth Freeman Center, was nominated by state Rep. John Barrett III and Marie Richardson of Pittsfield, a caseworker in the Pittsfield Public Schools, was nominated by state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

"Donna has selflessly given countless hours of her time to ensure Adams is moving in the right direction," said Hinds. "She is well-respected in her hometown of Lanesborough, and the town of Adams is well-served by her. She is absolutely an Unsung Heroine for her dedication to our region and her professionalism, which is effortlessly showcased in all of her projects."

Massachusetts Commission of the Status of Women annually celebrates "unsung heroines" who don't always make the news, but who make a difference. They are the women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities and towns. They are mentors, volunteers and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community is better because of their contribution.   

Hinds said Cesan has dedicated her career to public service. As the director of community development, she has spearheaded economic development projects with big impact, like the construction of a platform for the Adams terminus of the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum's Hoosac Valley Service, the renovation of the Adams Visitor Center parking lot and implementing the community's vision for the Greylock Glen. Since 2014, she has been asked twice by the Board of Selectmen to also serve as interim town administrator, managing every aspect of municipal government for months, while also promoting community development initiatives in town.
 
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