BHS Appoints Three Community Leaders to Board of Trustees

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Shaun V. Cusson, Deborah Renzi, and Jeannette Smith were elected.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) announced the election of Shaun V. Cusson, Deborah Renzi, RN, and Dr. Jeannette Smith, PhD, to the BHS Board of Trustees.
 
"We are excited to welcome Shaun, Deb and Jeannette to the BHS Board of Trustees," said President and CEO Darlene Rodowicz. "All are recognized leaders in our community, and BHS will be lucky to benefit from their perspectives as we continue working to advance health and wellness for everyone in the region."
 
Shaun Cusson
Cusson serves as President and CEO of Hillcrest Educational Foundation, Inc. (HEF), which offers a wide range of therapeutic services for children, families and the community. The HEF umbrella includes Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. (HEC), Hillcrest Dental Care, Inc. (HDC), and Berkshire County Kids' Place & Violence Prevention Center, Inc. Cusson is also President and CEO of HEC, which is a non-profit providing residential treatment and special education for some of the region's most disabled children, and HDC, a large dental practice specializing in MassHealth patients and patients with special needs.
 
Cusson began his career at Hillcrest nearly 30 years ago as a Direct Care Worker, and has held multiple management positions during his ascent including Director of Admissions, Program Director, Executive Vice President, and Executive Director. He was appointed President and CEO following the planned retirement of Jerry Burke in June of 2022. In addition to his work with Hillcrest, he serves on numerous other non-profit boards including the Massachusetts Association for Approved Chapter 766 Private Schools, the Association for Children's Residential Centers, the Coolidge Hill Foundation, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Berkshire Business Roundtable, 1Berkshire and others.
 
Cusson has a master's in education from Cambridge College and a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration from Westfield State University.
 
Deborah Renzi, RN
Renzi is a Berkshire County native with an extensive background in patient care at Berkshire Health Systems. Starting at a young age with in-home patient care, she went on to dedicate 32 years in the field.
 
Her journey at BHS began in 1989 as a nursing assistant, staff nurse, community health nurse, quality and improvement specialist, Clinical Manager, and Pain & Spine Service Line Manager. Throughout her 29 years at BHS, she collaborated with healthcare providers, professionals, and community sources to coordinate care, developed, and implemented disease management programs, led interdisciplinary teams, and worked with management across departments to meet quality and regulatory goals.
 
Renzi earned her Registered Nurse degree from Berkshire Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from U-Mass Amherst, and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a major in Health Care Administration from Elms College. She was honored with the BMC Physicians' Award for proficiency in nursing skills and the MSN Capstone Award.  She currently holds a RN license in both Massachusetts and Florida.
 
Renzi has continued her late husband's business, Michael Renzi Painting Co., LLC. Aside from her professional endeavors, she serves on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires.
 
Dr. Jeannette Smith, PhD
Dr. Smith is Vice President for Student Affairs at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. 
 
Her research areas of interest include higher education administration, and retention and persistence of students from traditionally underrepresented communities. Her doctoral journey was informed by a curiosity about decision-makers and led to a hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative study on policy. That work has infused every position she has held with a belief that approaching policy from an equitable lens can contribute to dismantling oppressive structures in post-secondary attainment. 
 
A first-generation college graduate, Dr. Smith is intentional in collaboratively working across the college to holistically support students through the curricular and co-curricular experience. Dr. Smith has worked in academic advising, residence life, financial aid, student unions and facilities, grant management, student engagement, and foundation stewardship. She resides in Western Massachusetts with her spouse, children and her dog, Porkchop.
 
Departing the BHS Board of Trustees are Carole Siegel, Bronly Boyd and Erwin Stuebner, all providing exceptional lengthy service to Berkshire Health Systems. "On behalf of BHS, I offer my deepest appreciation to Carole, Bronly and Win for their commitment to furthering our mission and their invaluable contributions in support of our community." 
 
 

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Dalton Planning Board Works to Update Special Permit Fees

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
DALTON, Mass. — The Planning Board is navigating how to update its special permit fees to bring them up to date with the current costs of services. 
 
During the board meeting last week, Town Planner Janko Tomasic said the cost of completing the services is higher than what it costs to take action on the application.
 
The current application fee charged by the Board of Appeals and the Planning Board is $375. 
 
This fee is intended to cover the cost of labor, time, materials, postage for the certified abutters list for abutter notification, postage for the certified mail for the notice of the decision, and two Berkshire Eagle legal advertisements for the public hearing.
 
"According to the data, the base cost for a permit application is barely enough to cover the cost of the application process," according to Tomasic's special-permit costs breakdown. 
 
Based on the last six permits, the least expensive permit is $414 to complete because of the increase in cost for the steps in the permit process.   
 
The flat certified mail fee for eight letters is $69.52, which covers the cost of certified mail to abutting towns, the applicant, and notice of the decision to the applicant
 
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