For the first time in 23 years, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has elected a new Executive Director.
“Since I nominated Thom when a motion was called for, I’m very pleased that Thom Matuszko at this moment is the person we’re sending forward to the executive committee to undergo negotiations with. I think Thom will make a wonderful executive director,” said Rene Woods at Thursday night’s meeting
The Sheffield resident is a member of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s Finance Committee. Assistant Director Thomas Matuszko, 65, of Hadley, will take over leadership of the commission from departing Executive Director Nathaniel Karns. It was a rare moment of transition for the commission, which has only had two executive directors since it was founded in 1966.
“We were blessed with many good candidates, the three finalists were exceptional, all three of them, and I’m really happy with the decision we came to," said Kyle Hanlon of North Adams, who serves as the Executive Committee chair. "Thom knows the area, he knows the organization, I think he’s going to thrive in this position.”
The discussion before the vote revealed differing visions of the commission from its members: notions of innovation and novelty were weighed against continuity and familiarity. But once Matuszko’s name was put forward, it was clear his experience had resonated with the commission. With only one vote opposed, he secured the election.
“I don’t have to educate Thom about the nuances of the region," said Karns. "He’s worked here for 20 years, 21 years. He knows the local officials as well or in some cases better than I do. He knows Massachusetts, so there’s an easy transition from that point.”
Commission member Sarah Hudson of Tyringham didn’t hide her satisfaction with Matuszko’s election.
“I would have cried if Thom hadn’t had it,” said Hudson.
Matuszko accepted the nomination Friday morning.
“I was very pleased and honored to be able to represent the people of Berskhire county in that capacity,” said Matuszko.
The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, located in downtown Pittsfield, works to identify the critical needs of communities in Berkshire County, and organizes to meet them with budget strategies and grant money.