Governor appoints John Barrett III to MCLA board of trustees


NORTH ADAMS — Former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III will assume a new role in local leadership.

Barrett has been appointed by the governor to serve on the board of trustees at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, according to a release issued Wednesday by the office of Gov. Charlie Baker.

"I'm honored by it; it's my alma mater, and it's where I started my political career as student president," Barrett said. "I'm anxious to help the school in any way possible."

The former mayor was one of several appointees to public college boards announced by Baker. Current MCLA Trustee Susan Gold was reappointed to her post.

"We are fortunate to benefit from the dedication and expertise of Susan Gold, who served as co-chairwoman of two presidential search committees. Her willingness to commit to this critical position speaks to her deep dedication to MCLA, and I am grateful for her service," MCLA President James Birge said in a statement. "In addition, as one of the first political leaders in the nation to recognize the importance of the arts as an economic development tool, John Barrett will be a valuable addition to the board."

Barrett, a Democrat who served 13 terms as mayor from 1984 to 2009, publicly endorsed and campaigned for Baker, a Republican, in his 2015 gubernatorial bid against Attorney General and North Adams native Martha Coakley.

"Lieutenant Gov. [Karyn] Polito and I congratulate the trustees on their new roles and thank them for their willingness to step forward and serve the commonwealth," Baker said. "Board oversight is critically important, and we rely on their expertise and leadership to be strong stewards of our institutions of higher education."

Baker and Barrett's relationship dates back some 20 years, when the now-governor served as secretary of administration and finance Gov. William Weld in the 1990s. Barrett described Baker as a "key player" in the establishment of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

In addition to the being the city's former mayor, Barrett also noted he's been a resident of the neighborhood for 40 years and been a long proponent of the college.

Barrett said he did not seek the appointment, but was asked by Polito to serve.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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