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Bernard calls for ethics investigation against Barrett after alleged threatening comments

Mayor Tom Bernard and State Representative John Barrett.
City of North Adams / Massachusetts Legislature
Mayor Tom Bernard (L) and State Representative John Barrett (R).

The Mayor of North Adams, Massachusetts has called for an ethics investigation into State Representative and former long-time city mayor John Barrett after alleged threats on a phone call last week.

Tom Bernard says he and Barrett had a heated phone call on November 9th about his administration’s strategy for redeveloping the historic Mohawk Theater in the city’s downtown. The mayor claims that after Barrett said he intended to bring the state’s inspector general into the situation – a move Bernard since took himself – things got personal.

“Following the indication that the state representative intended to address this matter with the Inspector General, he indicated that my pursuing the course of action I was on regarding the disposition of the Mohawk Theater would be bad," Bernard told WAMC. "And I will leave it to others to define the word bad, but bad for my job, my career and my family. And I will tell you what, Josh, I don't know or care what was intended by that comment, but invoking a person's family is out of line.”

Barrett – who was mayor of North Adams from 1984 to 2009 and has been in the state House since 2017 – did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bernard is interviewing to become the interim town manager of Williamstown after his term ends in January.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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