PITTSFIELD — City Councilor Helen Moon in a radio interview with WAMC out Friday claimed that District Attorney Andrea Harrington fired her last summer after her stance about police spending during council budget debates drove a wedge between the two, and the relationship cleaved after Moon ultimately refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement for “the equivalent of like $4,200 or $4,300.”
Moon’s departure from her role as director of special projects for the Berkshire County District Attorney’s office was one of the more high-profile exits from an office that has seen other officials leave since Harrington was sworn in as District Attorney early 2019.
But the terms of Moon’s exit were unclear last July. In an interview with WAMC’s Josh Landes, Moon described Harrington as failing to follow through with the progressive criminal justice reform she campaigned on. Moon said after she made known her intention to call for transparency in police budgeting in her role as Ward 1 councilor in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, Harrington said only she alone could be the “law enforcement voice in the office,” and ultimately told Moon it was time for her to find another job.
Moon said Harrington offered her “the equivalent of” $4,200 or $4,300 in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement, according to WAMC. After Moon refused, Harrington fired her on the spot.
For her part, Harrington’s office issued a scathing statement included in WAMC’s Friday broadcast that slammed Moon’s work approach and questioned her trustworthiness and integrity. Moon, the statement said, wasn’t a team player and “alienated herself from her colleagues, publicly undermined our work, and we came to question her honesty, including her trustworthiness with confidential information.”
It marks a stark reversal in relations between the two officials. The city councilor told Landes that she had grown to consider Harrington not only a mentor and candidate whose apparent criminal justice reform platform she had believed in, but also her family. Moon described her role on Harrington’s campaign as a “behind the scenes campaign manager.”
Moon said she became disillusioned with Harrington, whom she criticized for running the District Attorney’s office “like a campaign” and, WAMC reported, was “more interested in perpetuating a story about fulfilled campaign promises than actual institutional change.”
Her criticism had echoed that of whistleblower Jeanne Kempthorne, who resigned from the District Attorney’s office months before Moon over Harrington’s refusal to release public documents in a politically charged case. Kempthorne, a former federal prosecutor and state ethics commissioner, slammed Harrington for running a “campaign culture” in her office.
That plays out, Moon told WAMC, in part through the role of the office’s Public Information Officer, a taxpayer-funded employee, whose role she said is “to create a narrative that supports the progressive reforms of the district attorney so that she gets reelected in 2022.”
She said Harrington’s highly publicized move to eliminate cash bail has resulted in an increase of defendants who locked up before trial.
Moon told WAMC she has not spoken to Harrington since the incident, and that she is one of the people the DA has blocked on social media channels.
“It’s important for it to be out there,” Moon said in the interview. “I think it’s important for people to know who their district attorney is.”