Pittsfield Mayoral Candidates Discuss Controversies, Take Jabs

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Wednesday night's mayoral debate at Berkshire Community College started off with a bang as candidates spoke to controversies that have come out during their campaigns.

At the start of the event hosted by Pittsfield Community Television and iBerkshires, Peter Marchetti and John Krol wasted no time in addressing them.

Krol was accused of using nearly $7,000 from a nonprofit cat rescue and Marchetti was named in a civil complaint filed in September by former co-worker Victoria May at Pittsfield Cooperative Bank that included allegations of sex discrimination and creating a hostile work environment.

Marchetti in his opening statement said the civil suit is an ongoing matter of litigation and that while he cannot address details, he disputes many of the allegations.

He shared a part of the bank's response stating it was concluded that he did not violate the anti-harassment and discrimination policy, nor did he violate any laws, including sexual harassment.

"Personally, I strongly support that harassment of any time has no place in the workforce. None whatsoever. That is why I supported the creation of the [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] office at City Hall. It is important to have protection for women and all marginalized people," he said.

"As a gay man myself, I understand the importance of a fair, respectful, and harassment-free culture. I have and will continue to support a safe and non-hostile work environment, a culture that is accepting of race gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, and disability. I will stand up for fairness to women and anti-harassment discrimination policies in the workplace."

Earlier this week, blogger Dan Valenti first reported on the suit that was filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

Marchetti is included in the counts for sex discrimination, creating a hostile work environment, aiding and abetting discriminatory acts, unlawful interference with plaintiff's rights, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. This includes "flying off the handle" and being "irrationally upset" at May during a meeting last year.

The bank said it conducted an investigation into May's claims and concluded that they were "unsubstantiated" but that they "evolved over time to become more and more salacious."

Moderator Tammy Daniels said she had intended on asking both candidates about the controversies in the campaign and asked Krol, who had already given his opening statement, if wanted to address the allegations against him. 

In his opening statement, Krol said "a mayor needs to show respect for the people he or she works with, colleagues, staff, every person no matter their gender or no matter their role" and that "a mayor needs to show equitable actions, needs to be fair, and a mayor needs to empower those who surround him."

He after accused Marchetti of "losing his cool" during previous debates and said temperament is critical for a mayor.

"Temperament is something that is an issue when a mayor is in a position of power, and he has staff members working for him, department heads," Krol said.

"If you can't keep your cool in front of the cameras in front of people in public. What is it like behind closed doors? Now we have heard over the last few days what it is like behind closed doors when it comes to Peter Marchetti and how he treats coworkers so when it comes down to it, that is very, very important."

Marchetti said his campaign has not once talked about Krol's issues and problems yet Krol supporters have been "all over" the lawsuit "hammering away, hammering away."

"I think that the statements have been pretty loud and clear that an investigation was done and there was no wrongdoing found," he said. "And there's a difference between losing your cool and standing up for yourself."

In the wake of the allegations of misuse of funds the day after the preliminary election, Krol said he had gone before the Berkshire Eagle's editorial board with all of the evidence and has been open and honest and not "hid behind an attorney," sitting down with the newspaper for more than two hours. He had initially threatened legal action against The Eagle for defamation.

"I have been open and honest in regard to that and as we know, we discussed, I have evidence from the banks, including documents that have shown that my intent was true and we can certainly show more of that but let me be very clear, a mayor needs to not hide behind the attorneys," he said.

"They have to be able to come out and be able to be open and honest with the evidence and that's exactly what I've done."

Marchetti said it has nothing to do with attorneys and pointed out that Krol was a city councilor when he had accepted money from Allen Harris to pay back the funds and that that was a violation of state ethics law because it was a donation of more than $50.

"I want to sit here and talk about how we're going to move the city of Pittsfield forward and stand strong," he said.

Tags: debate,   election 2023,   

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Pittsfield Starbucks Closed Temporarily

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff

A sign outside the coffee shop assures customers the closure is only temporary. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Your alarm goes off, you get ready, and you leave for school, work, or whatever your appointment a little bit early to get a cup of coffee to start your day, only to find that the Pittsfield Starbucks, located at  555 Hubbard Ave., is closed. 
The sign has been removed, and the drive-through is blocked, but Starbucks coffee addicts need not worry — this closure is only temporary. 
The coffee shop closed its doors temporarily on July 7 to undergo a standard renovation with the chain's new Siren System, a Starbucks spokesperson said. 
According to the signage, the reopening date is projected to be Aug. 21. 
According to its website, the Siren System is part of the chain's Starbucks Reinvention plan, which aims to improve the experience for partners and staff by responding to changing needs and increasing demands. 
"As a standard course of business, we continually evaluate our store portfolio using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers," the spokesperson said. 
The chain's article on unveiling its innovations said, "Over the past few years, the number of cold beverages ordered has surpassed the number of hot drinks year-round. And, two in three drinks ordered have requested customizations such as extra espresso shots and flavorings."
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