Pittsfield City Council leader divvies up committee appointments

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PITTSFIELD — The new City Council formally fell into new committee assignments on Tuesday, but not everyone was pleased with where they landed.

While several councilors voted against Council President Peter Marchetti's communication containing the appointments, Marchetti said the roster doesn't require the group's approval.

Still, he promised to reconsider the power breakdown.

The assignments provide a framework for the 11-member group's decision making processes. Most of the council's decisions get vetted first in subcommittee — sometimes for months at a time —- before they land on the full council floor for a vote.

The Finance Committee and the Committee on Ordinances and Rules tend to handle most of the legwork, though important topics can land in any committee. Other committees include the Public Works Committee, the Committee on Public Health and Safety, the Community and Economic Development Committee, and the Public Buildings and Maintenance Committee.

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Councilors Helen Moon, Chris Connell and Kevin Morandi voted against the appointments. Morandi and Connell, who were both ousted from chairman posts, said they were not asked about their committee preferences like they had been in previous years.

Moon declined to elaborate on the nature of her displeasure.

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Connell also told The Eagle last week that he suspected Marchetti, an ally to Mayor Linda Tyer, removed him from his role at the helm of the Public Works Committee out of political retaliation for his support of Melissa Mazzeo for mayor.

Marchetti said after the meeting on Tuesday that while seniority plays somewhat of a role in committee assignments, it's also important to make sure less-tenured councilors get experience running committees.

He also had civility in mind as he drafted this term's committee roster, he said.

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"I think it's vital for the City Council to be respectful and act in a professional manner," he said.

The City Council's first full meeting of the year also brought its first executive session. Councilors met with members of Mayor Linda Tyer's administration for about an hour behind closed doors, with the officials saying only that the meeting's purpose was "litigation."

Typically a public body must be specific about the legal matter it plans to discuss in executive session, according to the state's Open Meeting Law, unless public knowledge of the case at hand would hurt the city's litigation strategy.

In other business, councilors also voted to refer a new contract with the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility to the council's Public Works Committee, which will meet 7 p.m. Thursday to review the contract.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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