Julia B. Sabourin
Julia B. Sabourin (Jim Therrien/Berkshire Eagle Staff)

PITTSFIELD - Julia B. Sabourin has won unanimous City Council approval to become Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi's top administrative aide.

The council on Tuesday also unanimously approved Bianchi's seven nominees to the revived Human Rights Commission and two other commission appointments.

Sabourin will become director of administrative services next month, succeeding Mary McGinnis, who is leaving in May after a one-year leave of absence from her longtime nursing-related employment at Berkshire Health Systems.

"I am pretty excited to take this position," Sabourin said after the council vote. "There are a lot of exciting things going on in the city right now."

Currently an English Language Arts teacher at Reid Middle School and a grant writer and administrator, Sabourin will begin in her new job next month. The Holmes Road resident has worked at the school since 2009.

Sabourin said her interest in applying for the city post also stems from undergraduate work she did at Boston College and from community outreach work she's done while administering a three-year 21st Century grant that funds programs for at-risk middle school students on a year-round basis.

"When it came up, it was something I was really interested in," she said of the city post.

"I think she'll do a terrific job," Bianchi said after the meeting. "She has been very involved in a lot of programs in the school system and has done a great job.


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He also noted her interest in government from her college years and "her enthusiasm for local issues."

The position will pay $50,000 annually. Duties include community outreach and committee organizational tasks, and responding to inquiries from the public or other employees on behalf of the mayor's office.

The director also plans and implements programs as put forth by the mayor.

Sabourin, a native of the Amherst area, received a bachelor's degree in political science in 2008 from Boston College and later a master's degree in elementary curriculum and instruction from the college.

Nominated by the mayor for the nine-member Human Rights Commission, which has been inactive since the late 1990s, are Cecelia Rock, Louis Perez, the Rev. Alfred Johnson, Susan T. O'Leary, Dr. Len Kates, Robert Sykes and Pam Malumphy.

In addition, council President Melissa Mazzeo nominated Councilor at large Churchill Cotton to the commission, and School Committee member Josh Cutler was selected by Harry Hayes, the human resources director for the school system.

The ordinance creating the commission, which dates to the early 1990s, specifies that format of nominating commissioners.

Under the ordinance, the commission has authority to investigate claims of discrimination, mediate disputes or refer parties to state or federal agencies. It also can issue reports and recommendations to the mayor following an investigation.

When considering any unresolved dispute, the commission may "hold hearings, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath" and require the production of evidence to any matter under investigation by the commission.

To reach Jim Therrien:

jtherrien@berkshireeagle.com,

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On Twitter: @BE_therrien