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Adams Advertising Community Development Director Post Again

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The town will restart its search for a new community development director after the individual selected backed out of the position.
 
Town Administrator Jay Green said last week that the finalist candidate, to be ratified by the Selectmen, had informed the town that he was withdrawing his name for "personal reasons."  
 
"At this point, we are going to re-advertise the position and assess our options from there," Green said. "This is about finding the right person – the right fit – for our community, so we are not going to arbitrarily rush the process or settle."
 
Green announced at a Selectmen's meeting on Jan. 6 that after finalist interviews, he had hired a new head for the Community Development Department. He planned to bring the name forth at the board's next regularly scheduled meeting to ratify the hiring.
 
But as of last week, the candidate had pulled his name from consideration.
 
Longtime Director of Community Development Donna Cesan has retired from the position she had held for more than 19 years.
 
Green said the town had 17 applicants from all over the country. The six strongest candidates with the most relevant experience were interviewed. This was narrowed down to four and then to a final two.
 
Green said he was disappointed that the candidate withdrew but not disappointed with the quality of candidates or the hiring process. 
 
The town was undergoing a police chief search at the same time, and he noted it was a difficult time of year to hire.   
 
"We performed interviews during the most stressful time of year – just before the holidays – and as COVID-19 infections began to rise nationwide simultaneously with a nationwide police chief search," Green said. "This prohibited any in-person interviews, so it has been a challenge to hire two critical department heads in the middle of a health pandemic that prohibits travel and meeting in person."
 
He added that people are interested in working in Adams, but it is still difficult to hire in the Berkshires, especially during the current health crisis.
 
"Adams is attracting candidates from around the country; people want to move here, but there is always a risk in hiring someone from outside of the region and taking on that kind of a move in the middle of a health pandemic and with some economic instability in certain job sectors for spouses makes it even more challenging," Green said. "It's just the reality of the job market right now."
 
The Community Development Department will not be left totally vacated, and the town budgeted funds to retain Cesan in some capacity to utilize her institutional knowledge and help close out projects.  
 
"Donna Cesan remains on staff as a consultant and we are able to keep things moving forward based on priority," Green said. 
 
Green said the town will try again and advertise the position in the very near future.

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Cumberland Farms Presents Plans for New Adams Location

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The new proposal has a slightly small building.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Conservation Commission applauded the plans done by Cumberland Farms so far and voted to reconvene on April 8 once its engineer has had a chance to review them. 
 
The Westborough-based convenience store chain had proposed to place a new store on Commercial Street between Elm and Prospect streets several years ago. The company ran into opposition in its first attempts to get through the permitting stage and withdrew its application in 2018. 
 
It has returned with a slightly smaller profile for the store and presented its plans on Thursday to the Conservation Commission, which has jurisdiction because of the proximity of the Hoosic River to the proposed site. 
 
The convenience chain is still proposing to demolish Al's Service Center at 95 Commercial St. and two other structures, all owned by Carol Ostrowski, and build a gas station/convenience store just south of its older location that will be closed. There also have been changes in zoning since its initial proposal, when it had to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance. This is considered a new application.
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