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Adams Officials Looking to Senior Planner to Help Local Business

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The imminent departure of three businesses — on top of several planned closures — has town officials concerned. 
So concerned, they're considering hiring a senior planner to help local businesses establish themselves.
At last week's Selectmen's meeting, Chairman John Duval noted with the coming departure of these businesses, it is critical to bring on this new employee.
"The senior planner is very important. We are losing three small business in town in the next few weeks, so we have to get our act together," Duval said as the board reviewed job descriptions.
Bella Sky Gifts and Adams Therapeutic Massage are moving into the former Computer Bug space on Main Street in North Adams. Bohemian Road, which opened on Park Street just a year ago, is also planning to move north to Eagle Street in North Adams by February. 
It is rumored that at least three more businesses are slated to close or move for various reasons.
Selectman Joseph Nowak said he had talked to some of these business owners and was told they were not leaving because of the town.
"It certainly isn't a reflection on our town and I spoke to two of them personally and it had nothing to do with the town of Adams," he said. "It was just a business decision." 
He added that with the advent of the big-box stores, it is harder for these smaller retailers to survive and he wished those continuing their businesses elsewhere the best of luck.
"We are going to continue to try and get business back in town," he said. "I think we have had some success and a few steps forward and a few back but I just want to wish them the best of luck." 
Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan said the senior planner position is in the budget and whoever is hired would work with the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals to help guide new businesses through the town's permitting process.
"I think we want to be much more business friendly as a community and this position would provide staff support and help shepherd new business throughout our development review process and have it be productive and positive," she said. "This needs to be a high priority."
The Selectmen also looked at job descriptions for a parking enforcement officer and a Department of Public Works operations supervisor.
Cesan said the parking enforcement officer will be a part-time position while the DPW operations supervisor will be the highest ranked union position in the department and work essentially as a crew boss.
"It is basically the person who would work with the DPW director, but they would be the immediate supervisor to all of the DPW laborers and operation workers," she said.
Currently, the town does not have a DPW director.
The Selectmen tabled the acceptance of the of the job descriptions because they wanted to see the salary ranges as well as make sure, with the legalization or recreational marijuana, that it was clearly spelled out that these new employees could not work under the influence.
Cesan said she thought this was clear in the town's personnel regulations, but the town could take a look at it.
"I think it is a good point we need to review the personnel rules and regulations and perhaps tighten them in light of recreational marijuana," she said. "But I think it is generally understood that employees are to come to work without impairment of any kind."
In other business, Cesan said the town's new website has launched.
"It is now up and running ... in my opinion the town website is much more attractive and professional looking," she said. "The site is much easier to navigate."
She said they will continue to work with town dept heads to make improvements. 
The selectmen voted to close town buildings Christmas Eve and parking is free downtown until Jan. 6. 


Tags: business closing,   business development,   Park Street,   

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Suffrage Centennial Committee Kicks Off Yearlong Celebration

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent

Cassandra Peltier as Alva Belmont Vanderbilt, a prominent figure in the suffrage movement.
ADAMS, Mass. — About 75 people filled The Manor on Saturday afternoon for the kickoff event of a yearlong celebration of Susan B. Anthony and the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.
The event at St. John Paul II Parish's Italianate mansion was organized by the Adams Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee. The committee serves as an advisory committee to the Board of Selectmen. 
Anthony was born in Adams and was a social reformer best known for spearheading the women's suffrage movement. She was also involved in the anti-slavery movement, collecting signatures for petitions as a teen, the temperance (prohibition of alcohol) movement, and women's financial rights.
Retired school teacher Mary Whitney, committee member and host for the day, shared why Anthony's work was so important. 
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