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Letter: Don't Repeat the Past in North Adams Mayoral Race
Letter to the Editor,
06:00PM / Thursday, September 30, 2021
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To the Editor:

Look to the future by learning from the past in North Adams mayor race

I was very excited when Lynette Bond announced her candidacy for mayor in June. However, when Jennifer Macksey announced her candidacy my concerns mounted. As I watched the first of what I hope will be several debates, I listened to Ms. Macksey speak of checks and balances and accountability when she was the treasurer of North Adams. She further stated that there was "no theft" in City Hall when she worked there. I had a sinking feeling remembering the city's Health Insurance Trust Fund failure. Ms. Macksey was the city treasurer during that time.

As treasurer, Ms. Macksey should have been aware that the Health Insurance Trust Fund was not being funded as required by Mass General Law (MGL) chapter 32B, section 3A Municipal Group Insurance Trust Fund statute and as was budgeted by the North Adams City Council. The treasurer is responsible for cash management procedures, forecasting, maximizing cash flow, monitoring receipts, maintaining internal financial controls, reconciliation of all city funds, receivables, trust funds and government grants. The treasurer is responsible to assure compliance with state law and regulation governing municipal finance and to develop and maintain appropriate levels of internal controls to safeguard the financial assets of the community, (MA Municipal Association). The mismanagement of the city's Health Insurance Trust Fund spanned years and cost the city dearly to resolve it. The independent report conducted at that time stated that the city had failed to pay its fair share of city and school employee insurance premiums at $1.1 million over the previous two years. What is sometimes overlooked when we talk about the "city" are those employed, many of them residents. It cost them as taxpayers and cheated them as employees.

This kind of carelessness cannot be repeated. Ms. Macksey had the misfortune of being mentored by and working for a flawed administration during which funds were mismanaged, while denying employees access to review their accounts when being questioned. If there were checks and balances, and accountability during Ms. Macksey's years in City Hall as she stated in the debate, how could the city's Health Insurance Trust Fund have failed so miserably? 

Let's learn from the past and ensure that we do not repeat that which can be and is necessary to change. Voting for Lynette Bond must be the choice.

Susan W. Chilson
North Adams, Mass. 

Chilson is the former president of the North Adams Teachers Association

 

 

 

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