Pittsfield mayor's appointments approved; Guyer nomination questioned
PITTSFIELD — Only one of the department heads proposed to the City Council Tuesday by Mayor Linda M. Tyer prompted questions, but all were approved unanimously.
Councilors Kevin Morandi, Christopher Connell and Melissa Mazzeo raised concerns about the choice of former state Rep. Denis Guyer for city director of maintenance.
Connell said he believes the job "should require a general contractor's license," adding that he had been told by Tyer prior to the meeting that the license could be a professional development matter.
"I think this should become a qualification for this position," Connell said. The license course, he said, requires only six weeks and is not a difficult requirement to meet.
Mazzeo said she would support the mayor's vision for her administration, but would like to have the qualification added for the future. In addition, she recommended a review of definitions and qualifications for all department heads.
The city has 14 school buildings and numerous other buildings, Morandi said, adding, "I do hope that a contractor's license is something that will be pursued."
"I don't want anyone to get the impression that Mr. Guyer is not qualified," said Councilor John Krol.
He noted Guyer's "experience on Beacon Hill" as a plus for the city, saying that taken together with his work at Crane & Co., the new director of maintenance could "take it to the next level."
Councilors voted 11-0 to approve Tyer's three proposed department heads, including Guyer as director of maintenance; former city councilor and current Richmond Town Administrator Matthew Kerwood as finance director, and Personnel Technician Michael Taylor as the new personnel department director.
The new mayor named those officials to replace Finance Director Susan Carmel, Personnel Director John DeAngelo and Director of Maintenance Peter Sondrini, all of whom served under former Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi.
Termination of department heads is at the discretion of the mayor under the city charter, but new appointments must be approved by the council.
Tyer previously replaced former City Solicitor Kathleen Degnan by hiring the Donovan & O'Connor law firm, with Richard Dohoney as lead attorney working with the city, on an interim basis through the end of fiscal 2016 on June 30.
The mayor plans to review how the solicitor's office should be structured going forward and submit a proposal to the council in the spring.
Guyer, of Dalton, worked for 12 years with Crane & Co., negotiating purchase and service contracts for the Crane stationery division, monitoring supplier performance and contracts relative to quality specifications and delivery expectations, and performing other duties.
He was state representative in the 2nd Berkshire House district from 2004-11, representing 21 towns in three counties and Precinct 1B in Pittsfield. Guyer also served on the Dalton Selectboard from 2001-04.
Kerwood, who served as a city councilor at large from 2000 to 2010, has been town administrator in Richmond since January 2009. He served as Blandford town administrator during 2007-08, and operated a business consulting firm in Pittsfield from 2003-07.
He was regional director with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development from 1998-2003, and he served as a legislative aide to former state Sen. Jane M. Swift from 1992-96.
Taylor has been in the technician's post since 2013, working on a number of aspects of the department, including employee recruitment and hiring, contract negotiations and investigating employee complaints.
Laura Catalano was reappointed Tuesday to the Board of Assessors.
Also approved were Jonathan Lothrop and Nicholas Caccamo to the Conservation Commission; Joseph Durwin to the Park Commission, Maurice Peoples to the Human Rights Commission; Chris Flynn, Albert Ingegni, Jeff Doscher and Melissa Bowler to the Council on Aging.
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