Emails point to concerns over 'inappropriate behavior' by former BerkshireWorks executive director William Monterosso
Collins' email followed his
investigation of the allegations against Monterosso
made by the staff he
supervised at BerkshireWorks
In that email to DeAngelo, Collins' investigation revealed a picture of Monterosso
that disturbed him to the point he
threatened to contact "the State and Feds to file formal sexual harassment charges" if "immediate action is not taken."
As a result, Monterosso
was placed on paid leave April 9 and he
resigned on May 19.
An agreement between the city of Pittsfield and Monterosso
let him receive financial payment and remain on the position's health insurance plan through July 31.
Meanwhile, a representative of the Massachusetts Commission
Against Discrimination last week confirmed "two active cases against William Monterosso
and the BerkshireWorks Career Center" filed in September by BerkshireWorks employees.
In early April, the emails reveal, BerkshireWorks employees told Collins that Monterosso
had slapped their bottoms, gave unwanted back rubs, used copious profanity "in front of persons [Monterosso] did not know," and publicly made sexist comments in a period spanning "the past few weeks."
, 49 at the time, had occupied the position for less than three months before allegations surfaced, causing the city to place him on paid leave starting April 9.
A Pittsfield native, 1982 Taconic High School graduate and ex-Marine with prior workforce development experience as executive director with the Office of Employment and Training in Kentucky and earlier in West Virginia, Monterosso ended his brief stint at the head of BerkshireWorks when he resigned on May 19.
In the meantime, rumors flew and Pittsfield officials kept mum.
Throughout the ordeal, Pittsfield Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, who appointed Monterosso to the job in late January, declined comment on the situation, deeming it "a personnel matter."
Monterosso succeeded John Barrett III, the former North Adams mayor, who was appointed to the job in 2011 by then-mayor James M. Ruberto.
The emails reveal that multiple investigations took place in April, mostly comprised of interviews with staff of BerkshireWorks'
office on 160 North St. in Pittsfield
and others who had interacted with Monterosso
in the course of his
Collins said Monterosso
had "called a female employee 'honey' on the phone, so she hung up.
In a later meeting between the two, Monterosso
allegedly "touched the hand of the same employee and pulled his
chair close to hers, which was observed by several employees."
An ex-employee of the former North Adams Regional Hospital
- the alleged incident occurred shortly after the hospital closed in late March - told Collins that Monterosso
said to her
would never hold up her
unemployment but might have to slap her
bottom five times."
At a public meeting at the North Adams American Legion concerning the hospital's closing - one primarily attended by women, Monterosso
allegedly commented publicly that "the place smelled like tuna" and he
"might have a hot flash" because "there was a lot of estrogen in the room."
Dooling agreed to escalate actions against Monterosso in an April 11 email to Suzanne Quersher, director of labor relations for the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, and Alice Sweeney, director of state Department of Career Services.
Earlier, sources say, Monterosso
had stormed into BerkshireWorks
and confronted employees after he
was first notified of his
suspension and told to stay away from the office.
suspension apparently did little to alleviate employees' fears of the unraveling situation.
In an April 11 email to Dooling and two days after Monterosso
was placed on paid leave, Nash said staff feared Monterosso might again burst into BerkshireWorks' weekly meeting on Friday morning.
"The concern was that [Monterosso] still has a key to the building and access to weapons.
Whoever that person was, sources within the agency said it was not Monterosso
Shortly thereafter, locksmiths changed the locks on the building and BerkshireWorks
invalidated Monterosso's security access.
resigned May 19 after Nuciforo, his attorney, and the city's Personnel Department hammered out an agreement whereby Monterosso would continue to receive pay and health insurance until July 31, nearly 2 ½ months after his resignation.
On Oct. 14, DeAngelo, the city's personnel director, rejected an Eagle public records request asking for "copies of all public records resulting in all investigations into the employment of William Monterosso" on grounds that the "records you are requesting are comprised of witness statements ... that were taken out of the public view and the witnesses told me that they wanted their statements to be confidential."
Monterosso had 15 years of previous experience in the workforce development field.
He most recently had served as the executive director of the West Virginia Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.
Sources say he
has left the area.