Pittsfield City Councilor quits schools job; can vote on district issues
PITTSFIELD -- Ward 3 City Councilor Nicholas Caccamo has made a career choice that could further his career as a councilor.
The first-term incumbent has resigned from his job as a data coach at Pittsfield High School, thereby eliminating an ethics conflict that prevented him from debating or voting on issues involving the city school system.
"It became official on Friday," Caccamo said of his employment decision. "I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders."
Caccamo was elected as the Ward 3 representative in the November election, when voters also approved a new city government charter. Language in the old charter allowed school employees to serve on the council, but that language was eliminated in the new version -- a point that was brought up after the election by a local attorney.
Since he was elected under the old charter, Caccamo could serve his term, but he would not have been able to run for re-election. He also apparently could not debate or vote on school-related issues and had declined until now the $8,000 annual salary for a councilor.
The situation came to a head in April, when the council voted 7-3 to seek a bond to pay for new school buses, effectively killing the proposal because it required at least eight votes to meet the threshold for bonding. Caccamo did not cast a ballot, citing a likely ethics conflict.
After Ward 1 Councilor Lisa Tully subsequently changed her negative vote to a positive one in favor of the bus proposal, the bond authorization passed in the council in late April.
But that experience and the aftermath left him with "a lot of anxiety," Caccamo said.
He added that his decision to leave the school system was not entirely motivated by the conflict with his council post. "I had been thinking about a career change," he said.
At the moment, Caccamo said he has no firm job prospect or field in mind. "Right now," he said, "I've been working on my drive -- trying to get it straightened out. Out on the golf course."
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