Adams Fire District Gets Second Open Meeting Law Complaint

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Fire District has received its second Open Meeting Law complaint in the last month, despite the insistence of the Prudential Committee and legal counsel that it has complied with the law.


The committee reviewed the new complaint, filed by resident Catherine Foster, on Monday.
The complaint, 
similar to one made by Foster earlier this month, alleges the board did not properly advertise the June 16 special meeting and did not post it in Cheshire.


District Counsel Stephen Pagnotta said he thinks the district has followed the law with its meeting postings in both cases. He said the special meeting and others did not have to be posted in Cheshire because it is not within the district boundary. 


"One of the outcomes of this is there will be an answer from the Attorney General's Office, which I trust will say we've complied with what we are required to do and that should put an end to these types of complaints," he said. "The fire district has complied with the law, has complied with its bylaws in posting this and all other meetings." 


Prudential Committee member Richard Kleiner said he is concerned by the complaints. He said he wishes Foster would have come to the district office to discuss the issue before filing them. 


"I personally, not as a board member, I personally, as a resident of the Adams Fire District, find it to be a form of harassment," he said.


In other business, the district discussed a draft of the memorandum of understanding for providing water to the Greylock Glen. The district members last year voted to assume responsibility as the "parent system" for the water system that will service the Glen. This is contingent on the town's reimbursing the Fire District for all expenses.


"When [the Prudential Committee] approve this, I still need the town to say, 'yep, this is good,'" said Superintendent John Barrett, who wrote the draft. "And then this stuff has to go to legal representation to be drawn up and have it all legally written up."  


After reviewing it, the committee decided to wait until the next meeting to take further action on the memorandum so they and the town could discuss fees and other potential issues. 


"I think you and the treasurer should sit down and think about this and come to us with your opinion before we vote on anything," Kleiner said. 


The board also approved the job description and posting for a laborer/operator position.


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Adams' Valley Street Shed Still Needs Funding

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — Construction of the new shed at Valley Street Field may be delayed due to a lack of funding. 


Mike Benson of the Adams/Cheshire Little League attended Monday's Parks Commission meeting and said the league is still working on obtaining funds for the shed. The town appropriated $3,000 for the shed as part of the fiscal 2023 budget and asked the league to match. 


"I've done a ton of fundraising this year to try to keep the costs low for the kids," Benson said, noting he could probably contribute about half of the $3,000 needed right now.


The league, Benson said, is in the process of ordering a new scoreboard for the field, one similar to the one recently installed at Russell Field. He said financing the scoreboard came first, as it was in the works before planning for the new shed began. 


"We had started the scoreboard thing before we heard anything about the shed," he said. "... We haven't asked the town for anything to do to help with the scoreboard. We're doing it all on our own, it's $3,500." 


Mark Pizani, an equipment operator at DPW, said they would likely be able to get more time out of the old shed if the league needs more time for funding. Benson said he would happily work with the town to clean the shed. 


"We can work it out with what we have. If we need another year out of it, it's really not a big deal," Pizani said. "That's my personal feeling. It would have been nice to have." 


Commission Chair James Fassell agreed the current shed can keep being used and said the group will revisit the issue in the future. 


"I just want to make sure it's for the good of the league and for the good of Adams," he said. 


In other business, Pizani updated the board on a berm near Russell Field, which the group was concerned could overflow onto the field. He said a significant amount of brush and debris was removed from the water since the last meeting, making an overflow less likely. 


"We cleaned that whole river out," he said. "We cleaned it out; it's in good shape. We took truckloads of debris and stuff out of the river." 

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