PITTSFIELD -- Its executive director remains on paid leave and there's no official interim replacement. But BerkshireWorks Career Center's services remain unchanged at the North Street office, according to officials there.

When a reporter visited BerkshireWorks' North Street office on Thursday afternoon, no one was in the waiting area but people were heading in and out of the office. A whiteboard listed a pair of daily workshops for those seeking jobs and training. Three employees were seated at the front desk.

"There is no interruption in services whatsoever," said Melanie Gelaznik, BerkshireWorks' manager of program operations. "We're still working very closely with the North Adams Regional Hospital people, and still carrying on as we normally would."

"Services are still being supplied to job seekers and employers," said Heather Boulger, the executive director of the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, which monitors the programming at BerkshireWorks.

Executive Director William Monterosso, who has served in the state-funded position since Jan. 21, has been placed on paid leave. The locks on the doors at BerkshireWorks have been changed so that Monterosso cannot enter the office. The decision to change the locks was made at the state level, officials said. Monterosso has not responded to various requests for comment.

Gelaznik is serving as BerkshireWorks' contact person in Monterosso's absence.

"There is no official interim position," she said.

Gelaznik told officials at the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, which monitors programming at the career center, that she would be willing to serve as the agency's contact person so "we're not missing any communications that we need to receive."

According to Gelaznik, BerkshireWorks has 17 employees, including seven employed by the state. The others are employed by Berkshire Training and Employment, according to Regional Employment Board Executive Director Heather Boulger.

Rumors circulated Thursday that all but one BerkshireWorks' employee had called in sick on Wednesday, but both Boulger and Gelaznik said that wasn't the case.

"It was not brought to my attention that there was not a full staff there," Boulger said.

"We're all here," Gelaznik said. "We probably had three people out with colds."

BerkshireWorks is a quasi-public agency chartered by the Berkshire Regional Employment Board to provide job training, planning and assistance to county residents.

Monterosso's salary is paid by the state, but the mayor of Pittsfield is charged with hiring BerkshireWorks' executive director.

"The [Regional Employment Board] has nothing to do with personnel issues" at BerkshireWorks, Boulger said. "We monitor their programs and make sure customers are satisfied with the programming that's happening.

"The director of the Berkshire training and employment programs is hired and fired by the mayor of Pittsfield," she said. "That person works for the mayor."

Pittsfield Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi declined to comment on Monterosso's employment status on Thursday.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6224.