Pittsfield City Councilor Caccamo Accepts Williamsburg Town Administrator Job
Pittsfield, Massachusetts Ward 3 City Councilor Nick Caccamo, 35, has accepted a job as town administrator of Williamsburg, Massachusetts. The Hampshire County community about 30 miles east of Pittsfield sits on the Mill River and abuts Northampton. The four-term veteran of Pittsfield politics told WAMC in February he wouldn’t seek another term this fall. Caccamo, who starts the job on Monday, spoke with WAMC about the job.
CACCAMO: It’s not an enormous city government. You know, it does have 24 Hour Emergency Services. And it appears that, you know, boards and commissions wield a lot of sort of power, so to speak. And it'll be beholden to me to sort of help them logistically, and, you know, be part of that sort of visioning process for the community in trying to come up with policy decisions that reflect the desire of the town. It’s about 2,500 people. So it feels like people have ample opportunity to make their opinion known. And you know, then it becomes beholden on the select board, and subsequently the town administrator to make those things a reality.
WAMC: Now, what from your time as a Pittsfield city councilor will you take over to your new role in Williamsburg?
One thing that I've tried to develop over the last eight years was a strong understanding of departmental operations. You know, and that starts with like, something like the Office of Community Development, and seeing that impact, right? So managing parks and open spaces, thinking about how the city views zoning, and land use decisions through, you know, the city planner and the permitting director, ostensibly sort of the role that like the Community Development Board and the ZBA play in that decision making, including, you know, spending time with, you know, emergency services. I've done 24 hour shifts with the fire department. They have those 24 hours on, 24 hour off schedules. So you know, there was a few times where I showed up at 7 a.m., and left at 7 a.m. the next day and got a sense of sort of what it means and what it is to be a firefighter, including going on those calls, reporting in turnout gear and doing the training. So I hope to bring some of that baseline municipal government operation knowledge to Williamsburg and not supplant anything, but you know, use it as a comparison.
How does your academic experience dovetail with this new role as a town administrator in Williamsburg?
I'm leaving UMass in a couple days with a dual graduate degree in both Public Policy and Regional Planning. And I think it's going to be sort of the bedrock to the way I fill that role as town administrator. So sort of that academic understanding and the history of sort of land use policy and, you know, the legal precedents that follow that, as well as learning, you know, an additional sort of suite of soft skills, you know, through classes like negotiations or statistics and even sort of economics for, you know, public decision making. So applying a lot of those concepts to the actual like, decision making and policy, sort of visioning and presenting alternatives and really being able to, like, think through the depth of those things, in addition to sort of the methods to terms of like how we gather data, how data is analyzed. Through UMass, I've really taken the opportunity to build my sort of like spatial analysis skills through software known as ArcMap, or like ArcGIS, geographic information systems. So that's something that I'm really, like, some work I'm really proud of over the last few years. And, you know, I know it's sort of changed the way I think about public policy decisions and using sort of spatial data to inform those decision making as well and sort of present people with outcomes as well.