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Kim Grady chats with members of the public during a break in Tuesday's meetings in the Mount Greylock library.

Grady Named Interim Superintendent of Lanesborough-Williamstown Schools

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Tri-District school committees Tuesday appointed the assistant superintendent to serve as the interim superintendent through June 30.
 
Kim Grady was tapped earlier this fall to serve as acting superintendent after the abrupt departure of former Superintendent Douglas Dias.
 
On Tuesday, the Mount Greylock School Committee and the Superintendency Union 71 Committee voted unanimously to sign Grady to a contract to serve as interim superintendent.
 
Earlier this month, Mount Greylock and SU-71 (a collaboration of Lanesborough’s and Williamstown’s Elementary School Committees) agreed to conduct an outside search for an interim superintendent for a period of 18 months.
 
But the Administrative Review Subcommittee, which includes the chairs of all three district school committees, Tuesday recommended that the Tri-District instead continue with Grady on an interim basis and conduct a search this winter and spring to find a one-year interim appointee.
 
"Some committee members asked that we slow down," ARS member Carolyn Greene said. "By recommending that [Grady] serve for six months, the ARS committee is doing just that."
 
In addition to giving more time for the outside search, there were two main reasons cited for the six-month appointment.
 
"Eighteen months was problematic for people considering an interim position," ARS Chairwoman Regina DiLego said. "Most of the people who would do it are retired superintendents. Eighteen months gives them a whole year of salary that would bump them over what they can earn in a year. Whereas, if you appoint them for a year where they earn six months in one [calendar] year and six months in another year, it is doable."
 
The other reason for a shorter, immediate appointment is that it allows the Tri-District to move forward more quickly.
 
"The idea of coming in in January in the midst of budget season and trying to learn what the districts are all about, [an interim superintendent] would need until April to learn what the districts are about," Greene said. "Bringing someone in for one year, they’d have a couple of months over the summer to get caught up."
 
Greene told her colleagues that the idea of installing Grady as interim superintendent now was supported by the principals of all three schools and the town managers in Williamstown and Lanesborough, who work closely with the Tri-District’s CEO on the budgets that go to town meeting in May for Williamstown and June for Lanesborough.
 
"Kim Grady has expressed an interest in continuing to do this work — the work of the superintendent, the work she is doing now," Greene said.
 
Greene and other school committee members noted that some community members had reached out to individual committee members asking them to provide an opportunity for public input before naming Dias; interim replacement.
 
Unlike the appointment of an interim superintendent as the Tri-District made in December 2014, the internal appointment does not require the public bodies to hold a formal interview in public session, Greene said.
 
And Tri-District counsel Adam Dupere explained that in any hiring scenario, there is no legal requirement that members of the public be allowed to weigh in on the decision.
 
"The public body in an open session has to allow the public to come and observe, but public participation is at the discretion of the body," Dupere said.
 
Mount Greylock School Committee member Wendy Penner said she was among those who received requests from members of the public to hear public comments during the appointment process.
 
"I did receive requests from members of the community for public input and slowing down the process, and I took those requests seriously," Penner said. "I talked to members of the administration. I took into account what I see as the most pressing need for the district. I feel this is the right move for us to be taking right now.
 
"I’m grateful we have someone willing to serve at this time of pressing need."

Tags: interim appointment,   superintendent,   tridistrict,   

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Williamstown Fire District Voters to Select New Board Members

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — None of the candidates in Tuesday's special election for the Prudential Committee has direct experience with the town's fire department, but each brings his own unique skill set to the table.
 
Last month, the four candidates sat at the same table to make their case to voters in a forum organized by the town's chapter of the League of Women Voters and televised on community access television station Willinet.
 
On Tuesday, voters will choose either David Moresi or Gerard Smith for an 18-month term on the Prudential Committee, which governs the town's fire district. Richard Reynolds and Bruce MacDonald are the two candidates for a 30-month seat on the committee.
 
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