Letter: Former Superintendent Backs Macksey for Mayor

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To the Editor:

I write this letter in support of Jennifer Macksey for the position of mayor of North Adams. During my tenure as superintendent of schools, I had the opportunity to work with Jen in a number of critical areas. Going through my archived notes I came across several examples of her skills in dealing with a variety of complex and major issues. The key issues she dealt with included establishing student activity accounts, pay dates for employees, and cherry sheet issues. Jen was there to help us set up procedures for the safety of students and staff.

Her expertise in finance was invaluable when issues arose concerning funding related to the Greylock, Sullivan and Conte building repairs. She worked with state Rep. Daniel Bosley’s office regarding these projects. During the $21 million Drury High renovation, she was at my side in a number of ways such as dealing with bus transportation issues, financial reports, and dealing with the architects at Tessier Associates during all phases of the project. She sat in on many of our weekly construction meetings, and she knew the various subcontractors on a first name basis. Her excellent communication and financial skills were demonstrated in our conversations with the general contractor.

She did her research on costs and never backed away from a dispute over numbers and details. She knew representatives from the SBAB (former School Building Assistance Bureau) in Boston, and she made sure the city got its 87 percent reimbursement. She excelled in designing RFPs for various projects and in the creation of bid specs for purchases. This included bids on trucks and vans, telecommunication networks, computers, $100,000 HVAC maintenance, and half-million dollar bus transportation .

Jen participated in crafting critical documents regarding school lunch programs. These documents saved the School Department a considerable amount of money and provided a template for future protocols. She was cognizant of School Department spending and reviewed invoices and payments with great detail. She saved the city many dollars through the careful use of borrowing in anticipation of revenue. She monitored bond trends while working closely with the city's financial advisers. Her communication skills were evident in meetings with state officials, our legal department, staff, vendors, parents, and the press.

I often referred to her as "Director of Everything." I confidently support her in becoming the next mayor of North Adams.

Joe Rogge
Adams, Mass.

Joseph Rogge is a retired superintendent of the North Adams Public Schools.




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BFAIR Helps Place Flags on Veterans' Graves in Southview

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Members of Berkshire Family & Individual Resources (BFAIR) spent Saturday morning placing flags on veterans' graves in Southview Cemetery
"This is absolutely wonderful that we were able to get some of our people out to help with the flags," Community Based Day Services (CBDS) Assistant Director Kristin Neep said. "... A lot of people give to us and a lot of people support us in many different ways…so this means a lot."
Neep said they take on most volunteering efforts the community throws at them. They have sold poppies for the VFW as well as participated in Wreaths Across America, Meals on Wheels and Adopt a Highway.
Neep said the volunteer program helps build employment skills for BFAIR clients.
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