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Berkshire Voters to Choose Middle Register of Deeds in Democratic Primary

Tomorrow, Massachusetts voters will head to the polls to vote in the September 6th Democratic Primary. And in Berkshire County, primary voters will also choose a new Middle Berkshire Register of Deeds. WAMC's Berkshire bureau Chief Lucas Willard has an eye on the closely watched race....

The Register of Deeds position itself manages and records all deeds, land titles, and land records for a district within the Commonwealth. It is an elected and not appointed position. 

As Massachusetts 1st Congressional District candidate Andrea Nuciforo, Jr. is leaving his post as the Berkshire Middle District Register of Deeds, three contenders are in the race for the position. They are; Scott Pignatelli, Patsy Harris, and Jody Phillips.

Scott Pignatelli is the brother of current 4thBerkshire District State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli. Scott Pignatelli runs an electrical contracting business in Lenox, Massachusetts. While speaking to WAMC, Pignatelli spoke of his management experience as strength he would carry over to the Registry of Deeds position.

Pignatelli has received a number of high-profile endorsements for his campaign, including those of State Senator Ben Downing, former Pittsfield Mayor Jim Ruberto, and Berkshire County sheriff Tom Bowler.

Challenger Patsy Harris, who is the current full-time Assistant to the Register of Deeds, says she has worked with records at the Middle Berkshire District Registry, as well as Northern and Southern for a combined  28 years. She said that voters should choose the candidate with the most direct experience.

Pignatelli said that he doesn’t doubt the abilities of his opponents.

Harris said that her knowledge of the job and records stand as her advantage.

Harris has received endorsements from 63 local attorneys, former Registers of Deeds Andrea Nuciforo and Mary K. O’Brien, as well as the Berkshire Eagle, and others.

Jody Phillips who is also in the race previously served as City Clerk for the City of Pittsfield for ten years.

On her campaign website she says that she, “had oversight of a staff of six, managed a departmental budget, and streamlined all kinds of services to make it easier on the public, worked effectively with City Hall departments and external regional and state offices.

Phillips now works for General Dynamics in Pittsfield. She did not respond to emails or phone calls in time for broadcast.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.