PITTSFIELD -- Peter E. Bell has resigned after nearly 15 years of directing the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield, the club's board of directors announced in a press release Monday. The reasons for his departure were not specified.

Bell made his decision before Thanksgiving during talks with the 22-member board, according to board president John C. Donna.

"We discussed it back and forth," Donna said Tuesday. "It was an amicable thing."

Bell left his post on a paid leave of absence on Oct. 23. Both then and now Donna and the board have declined comment on the circumstances surrounding the move. Bell could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

"I know there's online blogs and rumors (addressing the topic)," Donna said. "But all I can say is Peter is welcome at the (16 Melville St.) club anytime."

Next up for the organization is finding Bell's replacement.

Marilyn Sperling, president and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union and a member of the Boys & Girls Club board of directors, is prepared to lead a search committee tasked with finding and hiring the next executive director. Sperling will choose its members.

"We will ensure that the search is conducted in a way that invites input from stakeholders, club members and the community," Sperling said in the release. She was out of town Tuesday and couldn't be reached for comment.

The club's alumni board of directors may take part in the process as well, Donna said, but Sperling will ultimately decide its level of participation.

The alumni board, consisting of a core group of around 15 and a sizable mailing list, continues to meet but "not on the scale that they did" prior to the president vice president and treasurer resigning, according to Donna.

"They're a valuable asset to us," he said. "And they're still recognized as an independent group. One of the things we have to address going forward is how best to attach them to us -- within us or next to us."

The salary for the top job at one of Pittsfield's most popular nonprofits -- it has approximately 5,000 members -- will be between $70,000 and $100,000, Donna said. Club functions include sports programs; after school homework and student support; dances; middle school nights; a cafe; art and woodworking programs; summer camps; mentoring and youth leadership programs; and licensed nursery school and day care services.

In 2010, the last year on record, the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield netted total revenue of $2,617,933, had total expenses of $2,701,569 and total assets of $20,769,330. Donna said the club's portfolio now stands at roughly $15 million and donations remain healthy. Attendance is up over last year, he added.

The organization may downsize its hockey program over the next few years because it is attracting fewer players than in the past, and add a new lacrosse program, a sport which is growing in popularity.

Donna said such decisions will fall within the new director's purview, and could help the organization grow in the future.

To reach Phil Demers: pdemers@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 281-2859. On Twitter: @BE_PhilD