Affirmative Action revived in Pittsfield; minority members sought for panel


PITTSFIELD -- The city is seeking members of the minority community to serve on an Affirmative Action Advisory Committee as part of an ongoing revision of a 1993 affirmative action plan and policy.

Will Singleton, president of the Berkshire chapter of the NAACP, and Mary McGinnis, the city's director of administrative services, said the revival of the advisory group is part of a updating process for the largely dormant city policy.

Singleton said that during recent discussions with city officials about an NAACP goal of increasing African-American employment in Pittsfield government and the schools, he asked if there was a policy in place.

Officials were unsure if a policy existed, he said, and the document on file turned out to be in need of updating and possible revision. A steering committee, consisting of NAACP members and city officials, including McGinnis, Personnel Director John DeAngelo and others, currently is considering revisions to a 37-page policy and plan.

The steering committee next meets on Aug. 20.

"I think that from everything I've seen this is being done in good faith," Singleton said, adding that he is encouraged by the process.

As for the goal of increasing African-American employment in city and school positions, Singleton said, "I have said I expect to be judged by results."

He added that an NAACP Education Committee has begun meeting with new school Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless and other officials. "The response has been very positive," Singleton said. "I look forward to working with him."

McGinnis said the affirmative action policy and plan has numerous sections, referring to hiring, promotions, grievances, posting of open positions, contract wording, harassment complaints, affirmative action goals, and other subjects.

Part of the revision is to create or re-establish the advisory board. The city has begun the search for minority volunteers to serve on the committee, which will meet on a quarterly basis concerning the policy and affirmative action progress and procedures.

Interested persons should submit a brief statement explaining their interest to Michael Taylor, Personnel Technician, City Hall, Room 107, Pittsfield, MA 01201 or at

To reach Jim Therrien:,
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