NORTH ADAMS — For the second time in as many weeks, a city councilor has stepped down citing a toxic climate on the council.
Councilor Marie Harpin sent in a one-sentence letter of resignation to the city clerk early Tuesday.
“Please accept my resignation from the North Adams City Council effective today,” it reads. No explanation was given for her decision.
She did not immediately reply to a phone call or email Tuesday requesting comment on her decision. But in a Facebook post, she hinted at the ongoing turmoil on the board.
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve the citizens’ best interests, and I thank you for putting your trust in me,” she wrote. “This term has been difficult, and with an increasingly toxic Council environment, I feel at this time it’s best for me to resign.”
Harpin took out, and returned, papers earlier this summer to run for another term on the council. She was first elected to the council in 2017.
A number of people have left the council this term. Paul Hopkins stepped down in May, and last summer, Robert Moulton quit after coming under fire for comments about Black Lives Matter and the pandemic.
Council President Jason LaForest abruptly resigned in mid-August. He posted on Facebook that “the shameful dirty back-door politics that has marked this council” and “the absurd grand-standing and conspiracy theories of other councilors and candidates” were some reasons for his departure, along with personal and professional reasons.
He has not responded to multiple requests to comment.
At the time, Harpin told The Eagle that “there’s some backdoor, backroom politics going on that are not friendly. I’ll just leave it at that.” When asked for a specific example, she said, “I don’t want to make things worse than they already are. Politically, the City Council, I would say, is not in a great place. I think me digging into the details isn’t going to make it any better.”
After LaForest’s resignation, the council voted to fill his seat after the upcoming November election with the nonincumbent candidate who gets the most votes.