Saturday May 5, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi has removed Albert "Butch" Pisani from the city's Licensing Board, citing Pisani's apparent membership on the board of the GEAA on Crane Avenue, which holds a liquor license.

Pisani, who has served on the five-member Licensing Board for nearly 30 years, has a conflict of interest as defined by state law, Bianchi said.

"Once it came to our attention he was on the GEAA board, we had no choice in the matter," the mayor said. "State law on this is clear."

Bianchi added, "I feel bad as I've known Butch a long time. I think the world of him."

The Licensing Board makes decisions regarding liquor licensing in Pittsfield, subject to final approval from the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

Pisani, who could not be reached for comment, has denied that he is still on the board. His status could not immediately be confirmed.

Bianchi said he first heard about a month ago Pisani might be a GEAA board member. The two met at City Hall to discuss the matter and Pisani indicated he wasn't part of the private organization, according to the mayor.

However, city officials later learned that the Secretary of State's office lists Pisani with the GEAA board -- nonprofits must register with the state their officers and board members.

Bianchi, who said he was unable to reach Pisani by phone, sent him a letter informing him about his removal.


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The mayor will ask the City Council on Tuesday night to confirm his appointment of a former Licensing Board member, attorney Miriam Maduro, to succeed Pisani. The council's regular meeting is 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Maduro served from 1993 to January 2006, when Mayor James M. Ruberto decided not to re-appoint her to another six-year term. Ruberto chose current chairman Carmen C. Massimiano Jr. as Maduro's replacement.

Council President Kevin J. Sher man said Maduro's appointment is far from a given as he has questions and concerns about how Pisani was removed from the Licensing Board.

"It seems to me there's more to it than Pisani can no longer be on the board," he said.

Sherman added that Pisani has told him he hasn't been on the GEAA board for about 18 months.

The Pittsfield Licensing Board is responsible for issuing and monitoring 25 types of licenses that include live entertainment, the selling of new and used cars, food service, operating a taxi, as well as the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Late last summer, the board finally expanded to five members when Ruberto named attorneys Dana S. Doyle and Thomas L. Campoli to join Pisani, Massimiano and Robert K. Quattrochi. The two new seats were filled almost 12 months after the city sought and received, through a special act of the state Legislature, approval to enlarge the board.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.