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Pittsfield moves annual inauguration event to BCC as omicron concerns increase

Pride Flag at Pittsfield City Hall (copy) (copy)

The inauguration of new Pittsfield city councilors and School Committee members, as well as Mayor Linda Tyer's State of the City address, have been moved from City Hall to Berkshire Community College's Boland Theater, as part of coronavirus precautions.

Editor's note: This article was updated Dec. 28 to include that at large councilor-elect Karen Kalinowsky will take the oath of office during the event.

PITTSFIELD — City officials have decided to break with tradition this year and host the inauguration ceremony for a new batch of city councilors and School Committee members at Boland Theater at Berkshire Community College. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Jan. 3.

The location change from City Hall to the college theater was made in an effort to make the in-person event more COVID-safe as the omicron variant continues to move through the community and country. 

As of Dec. 23, the state's coronavirus data showed that Pittsfield's 14-day average daily case count was 62.6 cases per 100,000 residents, down from a rate of 65.9 cases per 100,000 residents on Dec. 21

Pittsfield has been listed as a "red zone" community — a community with a high rate of coronavirus transmission — since Nov. 23.

"Typically, this ceremony is held at City Hall," Roberta McCulloch-Dews, Pittsfield's director of administrative services, said in an email Monday. "As this is a public meeting, we wanted to ensure that those who did attend were able to be in a setting that allowed for sufficient social distancing."

Audience members will be required to wear a mask, in following with BCC's policies, according to McCulloch-Dews, but otherwise the schedule of events will follow a familiar sequence.

City Clerk Michele Benjamin will be sworn in for a third term. 

Former Pittsfield Mayor Sara Hathaway and educator Vicky Smith will join returning School Committee members Mark Brazeau, Bill Cameron, Dan Elias and Alison McGee in taking the oath of office for the committee.

Councilors-elect Karen Kalinowsky, Ken Warren, Charles Kronick, Kevin Sherman and James Conant will join returning at large city councilors Earl Persip III, Peter Marchetti and Pete White, and Ward 5 Councilor Patrick Kavey, Ward 6 Councilor Dina Lampiasi and Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Maffuccio for the oath of office. 

After the oaths, councilors will elect a new president and vice president of the city council.

Mayor Linda Tyer will present the State of the City address at the close of the event and lay out her plan for the third year of her four-year term. 

Meg Britton-Mehlisch can be reached at mbritton@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6149.

Pittsfield Reporter

Meg Britton-Mehlisch is the Pittsfield reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, she previously worked at the Prior Lake American and its sister publications under the Southwest News Media umbrella in Savage, Minnesota.

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