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Pittsfield city council subcommittee assignments distributed for 2022-2023 term

A stone building with a colonnade.
Josh Landes

At the first Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council meeting of 2022, subcommittee assignments were distributed to the 11-member body.

In his fourth term as council president, the assignments and leadership positions are eight term At-Large Councilor Peter Marchetti’s to distribute.

He presented his appointments to the council’s six subcommittees at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“On the motion to accept and approve the committee assignments: Is there any debate or discussion?" asked Marchetti, to silence. "Hearing none, all those in favor signify in the usual manner.”

“Aye,” responded the council.

“Anyone opposed?" asked Marchetti, again to silence. "It’s unanimous.”

WAMC spoke with Marchetti Wednesday to learn more about what informed his appointments.

“I took the time to kind of look at two different things: I tried to figure out what your background was, and tried to make sure that if you were an attorney and you practice law, that you were part of [ordinance and rules]," explained Marchetti. "If you had a finance background, I attempted to make sure that you were there. And I also really attempted to honor the wishes of the counselors. As you may or may not know, on inauguration day I kind of passed out a little sheet towards the end of the ceremony saying councilors, please put your name on the sheet and list them in order of priority that you want, one to six, one being the most important, and really tried to make sure that each counselor got as much of what they wanted to serve on. In some cases, people got their first choice. In most cases, they were able to get two out of the three of their top three choices.”

For the public buildings subcommittee – for which he will act as vice chair – the council president chose Ward 6 Councilor Dina Lampiasi as chair. Marchetti hopes the group will tackle a long unfinished project began by former At-Large Councilor Kathleen Amuso in 2017.

“Early on in that term, Councilor Amuso had put in a petition looking for a status of all the city buildings- What they're being used for, what were the conditions of the building, did we need the building, and there was a report that was generated that never really got completed," Marchetti told WAMC. "And when I look at issues like the Tyler Street firehouse, where we know it was a building that has been on the city's rolls for quite some time and we knew it was going into deterioration- Are there buildings that we have that we don't use, or that we can consolidate? And I know that we're all having the conversations about consolidations and how can we cut the budget- Well, if we have 22 buildings, but we only need 19 of them, what can we do with the three buildings that we don't need? Can they get turned into some form of housing, could they be turned into a new business that could generate revenues for the city? And I think that the council should at least take a look at that and make recommendations. And then at the end of the day, if there are some solid cost savings or revenue generating ideas, we can bring them to the forefront.”

Marchetti gave Ward 5 Councilor Patrick Kavey – now in his second term – the duty of heading up the public works subcommittee.

“Public works is more a reactionary committee where counselors submit petitions, and we refer them to public works," explained Marchetti. "So I think that will depend upon the issues that we're having. I clearly can see bike lane conversations, North Street, as we hit the spring, what roads are going to be reconstructed, repaved, worked on.”

Ward 3 councilor Kevin Sherman – who served as council president in his first stint in office between 2007 and 2013 – will lead the public health and safety subcommittee.

“With public safety, I think it's become clear that this community wants to have a conversation about what policing should look like, and maybe we could be taking the opportunity to do a little bit of a deeper dive into what that may or may not look like," said Marchetti. "And I also know, you know, over the last term that school resource officers were a biggie. And again, I'm not sure that that's fully a city council issue. But it is a budget issue, and we should at least explore the conversation.”

Newcomer Karen Kalinowsky – a former cop with a tough on crime message who lost a bid for mayor in 2019 – will serve as a member of the subcommittee.

For the finance, ordinance and rules, and community and economic development subcommittees, Marchetti gave himself and fellow at-large councilors Peter White and Earl Persip chair assignments, respectively.

Here's the full breakdown of subcommittee assignments, with chair and vice chair listed first and second respectively in each list:

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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