North Adams Council Declines to Make Airport Commission Retroactive

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday declined to appoint "retroactive" members to the Airport Commission. 
Two months ago, Mayor Thomas Bernard had appointed Daniel Caplinger and Bonnie Howland to a commission that had been down to two members during the summer. 
Bernard's reading of the appointments in ordinance had pointed to his ability to name commissioners without council confirmation but in speaking with the city solicitor, KP Law, found this was incorrect. 
Caplinger had been appointed Aug. 24 and Bonnie Howland on Oct. 13, both with terms to end March 1, 2023. Based on an opinion by KP Law, the mayor asked that both appointments be made retroactive to those dates so that any votes be made legal.
Councilor Benjamin Lamb said he was wary that too many precedents were being set and questioned the need to make them retroactive.
"We would basically repeat all of the votes that we did in the past," said Caplinger, who attended the meeting. "But it would take time and it would take some extra effort."
Lamb thought that would be challenging for the commission "but from our end, it would be more in line with what we've done in standard practice."
Councilor Wayne Wilkinson asked if any monetary issues had been voted on. Caplinger noted that the commission had authorized the interim manager to enter into a lease agreement but that had not been completed. 
Lamb motioned to amend the appointments to begin as of that night, Nov. 23. This was approved and the appointments confirmed. 
The council did confirm the appointments to the Human Services Commission of Heidi Shartrand-Newell to complete the unexpired term of Ashley Shade, who was elected to council, and which ends Feb. 1, 2024.
It also confirmed the first appointments to the Youth Commission, which was amended in later summer to encourage more involvement. The commission will now consist of nine voting members of which six should be aged 13 to 20.
The council confirmed Alexa Macdonald, with a term expiring Dec. 1, 2023, and Piper Jacobs, Hope Motta, and Jessica Sweeney, with terms expiring Dec. 1, 2024.
Bernard said he will bring five more appointments forward at the next meeting.
In other business, the council:
Approved the appropriation of $40,000 from the land sale account for the Safe Routes to School project at Brayton School. The project requires three permanent and seven temporary easements. A total five properties, three of which are under municipal ownership.
• Gave final approval of a new commission to be known as the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Commission.
• Referred an ordinance change on clearing sidewalks of snow to General Government to address the opinion received from legal counsel and postponed a proposed ordinance on short-term rentals.
The mayor also read a proclamation on Transgender Day of Remembrance that was issued for Nov. 20 into the record.

Tags: airport commission,   appointments,   

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North Adams Planning Board Found in Violation of Open Meeting

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The attorney general's office has found that the Planning Board failed to comply with Open Meeting Law during its March meeting when it approved an outdoor cannabis grow facility by voice vote. 
The review stems from a complaint filed by City Councilors Jennifer Barbeau and Marie T. Harpin and residents Diane Gallese-Parsons, Alice Cande and Thomas Cary.
While Assistant Attorney General KerryAnne Kilcoyne confirmed the OML violation she did not address the complainants' request to void the vote and special permit in her decision.
At issue was the board's failure to follow the roll-call vote procedure for remote meetings. All nine of the board members were participating remotely on March 14 when the vote to approve New England Alchemy LLC's plans for an Ashland Street property was taken. 
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