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Council Will Review Mayoral Term, Public Safety Post
Tammy Daniels,
12:37AM / Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council will research the possibility of making the mayor a four-year term.

The mayoral assignment was one of several handed down, including investigating the public safety office structure to determine if commissioner is needed, by just re-elected President Ronald Boucher as the council set out its own goals for the year.

"I've always felt this way, even before Mayor [Richard] Alcombright took office," said Boucher afterward. "I think that a mayor's position, two years, it's tough to get adjusted to the position and then the second year, you're running for your job again."

Alcombright said a four-year term would give a mayor the breathing space to deal with issues without having worrying about campaigning. "I think what it does is it takes the leader out of government for a pretty good period of time."

He was surprised to learn that only 11 of the state's 46 mayors have four-year terms. "I think a four-year term would be great right now because you wouldn't have to be dealing with what you're dealing with ... and thinking about the possibility if someone is going to run against you."

Alcombright assumed that was just the case for his predecessor, John Barrett III, who was fending off a challenge will maintaining his office. Barrett, however, had plenty of experience as the state's longest-serving mayor and few challengers during his tenure.

Boucher said that was a reason to extend the term. "It's tough, really tough, especially being a new mayor," he said. "Replacing someone with a lot of years of experience, you're going in learning and then the second year out [campaigning].

State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, was presented with gifts from colleagues after resigning Tuesday from the City Council.

Voters would decide if the change should be made by ballot; it wouldn't go into effect until the next election.

The annual organization of the council took place on Tuesday night and ended with the mayor giving his "state of the city" address.

Lisa Blackmer was re-elected vice president and the seat positions were drawn by Councilors Gailanne Cariddi and Alan Marden.

Boucher charged the General Government Committee, headed by Councilor Keith Bona, with looking into mayoral question and the Public Safety Committee, led by Councilor Alan Marden, to make recommendations regarding the position of public safety commissioner.

Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco, who was due to retire, had his tenure extended two years by home-rule petition to give the city time to decide if it needs the position.

"I think we need to look at that," said Boucher. "A city this size, is there a need? It's nothing against Commissioner Morocco and what he's done ... It's, I think, moving forward if we can support that kind of position."
 
The Community Development Committee, chaired by Blackmer, will develop a marketing and event plan in conjunction with Develop North Adams, and the Public Services Committee, chaired Councilor David Bond, will investigate ways to wring revenue from the transfer station and the benefits of joining the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste District.

As for the Finance Committee: "You've got enough on your plate," said Boucher.

Boucher also reinstituted liaisons to various boards and organizations and asked councilors to attend their meetings.

"It's not only for us it's the people who watch these meetings, the people that put you in these seats, to show them we are involved we can make a difference."

  Who's on What
Community Development
Lisa Blackmer, Michael, Gailanne Cariddi
Finance
Michael Bloom, Alan Marden, David Bond
General Government
Kieth Bona, Blackmer, Boland
Public Safety
Marden, Marie Harpin, Boland
Public Services
Bond, Bona, Cariddi

The council accepted effective immediately the resignation of Gailanne Cariddi, who was sworn in last week at the State House as the representative for the 1st Berkshire District. The 22-year council veteran was presented with flowers and a gift and warm parting words on her service to the city. 

"You not only served the council well you served it with particular distinction as a member of several committees and as president on six occasions," said longtime colleague Marden. "You are uniquely our unofficial codifier, laboring tirelessly and continuously to put our wishes and actions in proper form."

Bloom, who was elected to the council in the same year as Cariddi, said "I think we were very lucky to have you. I was proud to serve with you and I wish you the best of luck."

A replacement for Cariddi will be appointed by the council.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved bonding for the city's finance officers
  • Adopted and passed to second reading an amended vendor ordinance.
  • Referred to the city solicitor a request from Charles Fox and Gordon Leete, partners in Curran Highway Development LLC, to eliminate the I-1 zoning that covers the rear portion of their 2.91 acres (the former K-K Home Mart) on Curran Highway. The partners said the property has two zones, I-1 and CC-1, with CC-1 being the dominant zone and covering its frontage. "It would eliminate a zoning designation no longer appropriate," they stated in a letter to the council.
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