Speranzo Appointed Central Berkshire Clerk-Magistrate

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Rep. Christopher Speranzo
BOSTON — State Rep. Christopher Speranzo, D-Pittsfield, was appointed Wednesday as the new clerk-magistrate at Central Berkshire District Court.

Speranzo landed the lifetime position by a split vote on the Governor's Council, 5 -4, with Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray casting the tie-breaking vote. He was the only Western Massachusetts candidate being considered for the position.

His recent nomination by Gov. Deval Patrick upset many city residents after he refused to discuss applying for the position last year. He was highly criticized for running for re-election at the same time as applying for the position that has been vacant for the last two years — reminding city residents of his predecessor, former Rep. Peter Larkin, who also applied for jobs during an election year and left the seat days after being sworn in.

Critics, including members of the Governor's Council, cited a lack of experience as reasons he should not be appointed to the clerk-magistrate position. He was an assistant attorney general in Springfield as well as a city solicitor for Pittsfield. He earned his bachelor's degree from Boston College and his master's degree from the University of Cambridge in 1998. He earned his law degree from Boston College Law School in 2001.

"Christopher Speranzo is an experienced attorney who will serve the region well as clerk-magistrate of the Pittsfield District Court. Throughout the process, Mr. Speranzo received a broad range of support from a judge and other members of the legal community in support of his strong character and qualifications," said the governor's Deputy Press Secretary Alec Loftus on Wednesday afternoon. "We are confident that his abilities and experience in the legal system will serve him and the Pittsfield District Court well."

The appointment leaves holes in a few important State House committees. This year, Speranzo held spots on the Ways and Means Committee, the Health Care Financing Committee and the special Joint Committee on Redistricting.

Speranzo won the 3rd Berkshire District seat in the state House of Representatives in a special election in 2005 - filling the spot vacated by Larkin, who quit to take a private-sector job just six days after being sworn in.

His departure is expected to force a special election for his successor, although the city will reportedly seek permission to delay the vote until the November municipal election.

Already, Ward 2 City Councilor Peter White, a Democrat, and Green-Rainbow Party's Mark Miller, who reeled in 45 percent of the vote last year running against Speranzo, have thrown their hats into the ring.

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Tails Wag for New Pittsfield Dog Park

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

The park has separate areas for large and small dogs. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city unveiled its first dog park at Burbank Park this past week after nearly two decades of planning. Officials say there has been a positive community response from both four-legged and two-legged residents.   
 
"It's so nice to see all the happy dogs just running off-leash and playing with each other, their tongues hanging out, they're smiling, and their tails are wagging," Recreation and Special Events Coordinator Becky Manship said.
 
"It's just really a positive thing for Pittsfield and beyond because we know that there are some users from outside the community, so it's not just for Pittsfield."
 
The fenced area for off-leash dogs features a grassy layout for pooches to roam, a walking path, benches, complimentary waste bags, and even a dog-sized water fountain.
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