In a Facebook post, Harpin said, "This morning I submitted my resignation as a North Adams City Councilor. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve the citizens' best interests, and I thank you for putting your trust in me. This term has been difficult, and with an increasingly toxic Council environment, I feel at this time it's best for me to resign."
Harpin's frustration with the council has been evident over the past term. She's often found herself on the losing end votes along with LaForest.
Last Tuesday, she argued forcefully for the council to seat a replacement for LaForest but the majority voted to wait until the November election, citing past precedent and the proximity of the election. Only Councilor Bryan Sapienza, himself recently appointed to replace Paul Hopkins, sided with her.
Following the meeting, after also being the lone vote to delay the passage of a Smart Growth zoning overlay, Harpin expressed her disappointment in saying she felt the council would always vote against her.
Harpin was first elected in 2017 as one of the top vote-getters. She is currently on the November election ballot for a try at a third term.
In a statement, Council President Lisa Blackmer said she is not a "confidant" of Harpin so did not know the reasons for her resignation.
"The council still has work to do, which we will continue to do. We don't have time for the drama and speculation. I am disappointed that folks couldn't meet their two-year commitment," she wrote. "But the rest of us will stay focused on the work to be done on behalf of the residents of the City of North Adams."
Of the nine councilors elected in 2019, there have been four resignations: Robert Moulton Jr. left in the first year of the term after making comments about COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter on his public television show; Hopkins, then president of the council, left because he was moving out of the area; and LaForest departed Aug. 16, for "personal and professional obligations" but also cited "back-door politics."
Moulton was replaced by Peter Oleskiewiecz and Hopkins by Sapienza. It is not clear if the council will continue through November with only seven members, two of whom do not plan to run for re-election.
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Once you're retired and your children are grown, they are likely "off the books," as far as your financial responsibility for them is concerned. Yet, you're probably still prepared to do anything to help them – but are they ready to take care of you if the need arises?
Consider this: Almost half of retirees say that the ideal role in retirement is providing support to family and other loved ones, according to the Edward Jones/Age Wave study titled Four Pillars of the New Retirement: What a Difference a Year Makes – and a slightly earlier version of the same study found that 72 percent of retirees say one of their biggest fears is becoming a burden on their family members.
So, if you are recently retired or plan to retire in the next few years, you may need to reconcile your desire to help your adult children or other close relatives with your concern that you could become dependent on them. You'll need to consider whether your loved ones can handle caregiving responsibilities, which frequently include financial assistance. If they did have to provide some caregiving services for you, could they afford it? About 80 percent of caregivers now pay for some caregiving costs out of their own pockets – and one in five caregivers experience significant financial strain because of caregiving, according to a recent AARP report.
One way to help your family members is to protect yourself from the enormous expense of long-term care. The average cost for a private room in a nursing home is now over $100,000 a year, according to the insurance company Genworth. Medicare won't pay much, if any, of these costs, so you may want to consult with a financial advisor, who can suggest possible ways of addressing long-term care expenses.
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